For many Americans, the summer months mean taking a break from regular routines, urging us to go on our next adventure. This year – Nous Model, Katya Vladykina, had the opportunity to travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and explore various hotspots in Italy. From bathing along the southern coastline of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, to exploring the famous landmarks of Rome – Katya’s trip was one for the books! To get some serious wanderlust, take a glimpse at her adventure below:
2. Where are you from?:
I’m originally from Minneapolis, MN.
3. Where did you travel to?:
4. What brought you there?:
This was basically just a long awaited trip that finally happened with my fam bam, since we have wanted to go to Italy for sooooo long.
5. Before arriving, what made Italy stand out to you?:
Ugh, the question should be what DIDN’T make Italy stand out to me – everything about it has always fascinated me. The gorgeous photographs I’ve seen, the culture, the history, and don’t even get me started on the Italian FOOD!!!!!
6. How did you travel from place to place (walking, car, bus, train, etc) in the city you visited?:
Within Rome and Florence – we walked EVERYWHERE. That’s one of my favorite things about traveling to European cities, the ability to walk everywhere and experience GORGEOUS things and not be stuck on your butt in a car for hours.
However, while exploring the Amalfi Coast – We drove from there to Florence, renting a car. The car ride from the coast to Florence was through Tuscany, which held some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen!!!
7. What’s something you packed that’s not absolutely essential, but you liked having it?:
For me this is always, always, always a camera. On this trip, I also brought a polaroid camera, which was so so fun to play with and now these polaroids will be memories which I can look back upon forever.
8. If I visit Italy, what’s the one meal I shouldn’t miss?:
Oh man, don’t do this to me!!!!
Every meal, to me, was freaking incredible. The pizza, the pasta, the desserts, the coffee… UGH! The pasta there is cooked al dente, which makes it a little undercooked. Growing up, I was a total weirdo and would beg for my mom to undercook my pasta since I loved the crunch – so I was in al dente HEAVEN!
However, if I had to choose one meal, it would be the gelato. And yes, it can be a meal….for every meal of the day. It was the freshest, most mouthwatering amazingness I have ever tried!
9. Are there any social norms or practices you’ve encountered on your travels that you wish were more common in the USA?:
I loved how emotional the Italian people seemed to be. Any fight, any laugh, any conversation, was heard with so much emotion. I wish more Americans weren’t afraid to be emotional, openly show their feelings.
I also loved how people allocated time every day to relax, socialize, eat amazing food, and have amazing conversations. It’s important to find pleasures and experience them for yourself every day!!!
10. What is one food you could now never eat in your home country again because you’ve tasted the original version in its country of origin and you’ve been forever spoiled?:
The gelato would have to be my answer for this one. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still eat the fudgey, artificial Ben & Jerry’s pints every once in a while!!! But, anything labeled as “Gelato” here is just a fraud to me now.
11. What was your favorite thing about your trip?:
I was absolutely blown away by the history. It was my most favorite subject in high school, so all of the art museums, ancient Roman landmarks, and incredible stories literally brought tears to my eyes. Seeing and validating everything I learned about was fascinating like no other.
12. What time of the year do you believe would be the best time to visit your city?:
I LOVED going during the summer. Even though I’m sure it’s peak tourist season – there’s something about the idea of an Italian summer that just totally pulls me in.
Cooling yourself off with granita or gelato, or taking a dip in the Mediterranean in the Italian heat is just how I picture Italy!!! Although, I could eat that ish all year long….
13. Did you snag a cool item while abroad that you are excited about?:
While in Florence, I visited one of the biggest street markets, which was a giant leather market as well. Italian leather is known to be the best of the best so I snagged the CUTEST little black leather backpack that I carried everywhere with me. The smell of the leather still reminds me of the trip.
14. What do you do to stay healthy while you travel?:
One of the BEST things about traveling, in my opinion, is the ability to be active, fascinated, and healthy while completely not thinking about it. Just the amounts of walking, skipping, and dancing through the streets as I explore them is usually more than any workout I do. I’ll get home after longdays of adventures and realize that I’ve walked 30,000 steps or more, which boggles my mind because it doesn’t even feel like a workout.
15. Do you have any additional advice for others that wish to travel to there?:
ALWAYS keep an open mind while travelling!!! Take some time to really immerse yourself in the culture and learn as much as you can about it. Get an Airbnb instead of a well-known hotel. We booked only Airbnbs and the hosts were so passionate about their city, giving us secret spots and hidden gems that are now my favorite places there!