June 30th finally came, which meant school had finally ended! For the first weekend, summer started off with some super Saturday adventures! A day with live dinosaurs, discovering new cuisine, filling up at a “gas station” winery, following tips from a local on places to see, and scenic drives. Unplanned days are some of the best days!
The day began with a trip to Caserta to see an outdoor exhibition called, “Living Dinosaurs.” It wasn’t anything extraordinary but it was a cool little area to check out. Mechanical dinosaurs that moved and made sound were placed throughout a grassy, woodsy area and you just walk around. They had one dinosaur that you could sit on, but at 10:00am, the sun was already so hot, we couldn’t sit on it without burning ourselves. There was even a small tent with animals from the Ice Age period. There was a small “digging site” where you can use brushes to uncover fossils, and there were tents set up with coloring pages and dinosaur activities. The tents were vacant but we took some time to color some pages anyway.
Afterward, we were about 30 minutes from a winery that I had heard about and I just wanted to swing by to get some wine since we were closer (it would’ve been a 1.5 hour trip from our home). But before that, we had to grab some lunch because we were starving and hot. The next half of the day was unplanned so we had no restaurant in mind. I typed in “trattorias” in my search bar and we headed to one close. However, we ended up passing another restaurant that was empty but had a cool ocean vibe to it. They were open.
Cantina di Solopaca, also known as “gas station winery” was the winery I was hoping to visit while we were out. Not only do they have great wine at great prices and beautiful vineyard views, but they sell wine out of a pump! Just like gas for your car! You can buy, or bring, plastic containers and they will fill them up at the pump with their wines (Aglianico, Greco di Tufo, Falaghina, etc.). And it’s so cheap! It was such a unique concept that I knew I had to see it at least once while here. I know now that I will definitely be back to refill our jugs!
When we were eating lunch at our randomly chosen restaurant, a man came out and started talking to me in Italian. He asked how everything was, what brought us to the Caserta area, and what we had planned for the rest of the day. I told him that we had just finished visiting the dinosaur exhibit when we came across the restaurant, then we planned on heading to the Cantina. When he heard about the winery he started to tell me about a beautiful lake that was 4 minutes away and if we had time, we should look at it. He mentioned we could walk around it and there was a small cafe where we could grab a drink or gelato. He showed me on my maps and I wrote down the name. I had never heard of this lake before so I had no idea what to expect. And boy, was it worth a 4 minute drive to check out!! We ended up spending an hour here just walking around, grabbing gelato, and being hypnotized by the colors of this small lake. Lago di Telese is a gorgeous hidden gem!!
Driving through the Caserta and Benevento area is never a disappointment. Even if you aren’t going anywhere specific, a drive around will give you a plethora of different views. The views on this day were an experience in itself! Among other things, we passed hay fields, vineyards, and an ancient aqueduct.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!