Sorry for the delay!

It has been such a busy two months. I’m been moving around so frequently that I haven’t had much time at all to follow up on my blog. I’ll get back to writing updates on the cities and experiences soon. Until then, I thought that I’d share some of my travel statistics.

Flights taken: 13

Distance Traveled by Plane: 19,410 miles / 31,239 kilometers

Longest flight: Chicago direct to Dehli (7,471 miles / 12,023 kilometers)

Shortest flight: Chicago to Akron, Ohio (322 miles / 518 kilometers)

Cities visited: 15

Countries visited: 6

I have been keeping my Instagram up to date! Feel free to follow along as I travel the world: @cassandrautt. 



Ljubljana: The City of Dragons

I can’t believe that I am going to try to fit a month’s worth of experiences into one blog post. Ljubljana deserves several blog posts though because it is that amazing!

I had honestly never heard of Ljubljana before seeing the Remote Year itinerary when it was released early this year. I definitely had no idea how to pronounce it! A lot of my friends and family referred to it as “the city with the L’s and J’s”. For those of you who are unsure like I was here is the phonetic pronunciation [lyoo-BLYAH-nah] and you can watch a video on how to pronounce it here.

Slovenia has some really interesting history. It was part of Yugoslavia until its independence in 1991. The country is extremely beautiful even though it is rather small in size and population with just over 2 million people. The diversity of scenery in Slovenia is incredible. You can be in the forest, up in the mountains, or relaxing by the sea all in the same day!

I really didn’t know what to expect from Ljubljana, but I was oddly excited to find out. Ljubljana has a population of almost 300,000. This makes it about the size of Toledo, Ohio. However, I think that is one of the only similarities it has to that mid-sized city in the U.S. Midwest.

We took a long double-decker bus ride from Prague to Ljubljana. It was a great time to bond with some of the others on Remote Year. A group of us sat on the top level and got to know each other by asking the 36 Questions that Lead to Love. These were recently posted in the New York Times. This was a really intense way to understand the groups background, happiest times, and interesting thoughts. We arrived at our hostel late at night. I must admit that we were not impressed with the Ljubljana that we saw that night. It didn’t help that the place we were staying was sub-par high school dorm. Our accommodations for the month were a big frustration for many. It wasn’t the most comfortable situation for me, but I just tried to spend as much time as possible outside exploring the city. I was really only there to sleep. It was definitely unfortunate that there was a heat wave during this time since we didn’t have air conditioning in the dorm. The temperatures got as high as 99 F (~38 C).

The city is extremely bikable! I was beyond excited to get a bike and ride around the city. Ljubljana was recently ranked #13 most bike-friendly city in the world and recently won the 2016 European Green Capital award. (I was excited to see that Minneapolis was ranked #18 and is the only United States city represented!). I loved biking around the city with my new bike. Ljubljana did have a nice bike share system called Bicikelj that only cost 1 Euro for the month and 3 Euro for the year!

We had a fantastic workspace this month! Poligon was a co-working space that was utlized by many startups and freelancers in the city. The space was creative and collaborative! The people we met there were also absolutely fantastic. It really felt like the perfect place for us to be working and creating. Remote Year was able to collaborate with them on many events which I appreciated. This gave us a chance to interact and connect with the locals. Some of those that we met at Poligon really did become great friends. I do hope that our paths will cross again someday.

The city was just constantly filled with great events and fantastic art. Here are some things I was able to see and experience while I was there:

  • Two Cellos – Amazing cello duo that played a variety of covers. I loved the performance!

  • Film Under the Stars– This was held at the palace courtyard that looked out over the city. They even had free gelato. 🙂 It was one of my favorite events in Ljubljana. I went twice!

  • Metalkova – We spent numerous evenings hanging out with the locals at this spot. This location used to be the Slovenian headquarters of the Yugoslav Army. It is now home to very interesting art and sculpture, bars and nightclubs. It attracts a really diverse group of people as well. We enjoyed meeting locals and hanging out in the tree house.

  • 4th of July in Ljubljana – It was great to celebrate this American holiday with the Slovenians.

I had some great food while in Ljubljana as well. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the quality of the coffee, but there were some lovely cafes and restaurants!

  • Open Kitchen (food market) – Every weekend we would attend the open kitchen food market. There were a variety of vendors from Egyptian food to Traditional Slovenian to Argentinian. It was all excellent and was very well attended!

  • Cacao – We were all obsessed with Cacao! They had excellent gelato, but beyond that they had this excellent dessert called the Venezuela which was just cut fruit with cream. The cream did not include sugar and was just absolutely delicious!

  • Fresh Bar/Cafe– I just loved that this cafe was in a small, quiet neighborhood. There was also a deal to get a toast (which is a ham and cheese sandwich), orange juice, and a cappuccino for just 3 Euro!

  • Lolita – I loved the waffles with fruit here and the chocolate croissants. I was once in Vienna and had the best chocolate croissant ever, but I think Lolita has recently taken the lead!

Outside of Ljubljana, I was able to visit some other areas of Slovenia. We took a day trip to Lake Bled. The lake was beautiful and the water was so clear! We had such a lovely day relaxing near the lake and visiting the booths of local vendors. I was told that Lake Bohinj is an even better location to visit as it is significantly less touristy. I didn’t make it there on this trip, but maybe in the future.

The Skocjan Caves were absolutely incredible! Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the most beautiful sections, but it was worth the trip! The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the largest known underground canyons in the world!

I also spent a day by myself biking around the countryside of Slovenia. I was riding through farms and stopping at rivers. It was fun to go off on my own and explore. It was extremely hot on this day though and I drank both of my bottles of water pretty quickly. Luckily, a nice family welcomed me to fill them up so that I could make the return trip to Ljubljana.

Finally- here are some additional pictures to convince you to vacation in Ljubljana, Slovenia:

Finding Family at Lake Como

My great grandfather, Vincent Domencetti, was originally from Dongo, Italy on Lake Como.

I had debated whether this was the right trip to visit Lake Como and the surrounding cities due to the amount of things that we were trying to see around Italy. In the end, I was too excited to visit where my family was from that I couldn’t pass it up.

We ended up staying one night in a hotel in Como- Borgo Antico Hotel. The hotel was nice but nothing particularly special. There was a nice free breakfast, but because we had to leave for the train very early in the morning, we couldn’t take advantage of it. The Airbnb options weren’t the best either so we decided against that.

When we arrived, we got our boat passes and took the ferry around Lake Como. There are two ferry options the faster only goes to the major towns, while the slower stops at each small town along the way. Lake Como was absolutely gorgeous though as it is in the Italian Alps.

On a trip my great Uncle Bob took to Italy, he found out that our family had a palace in the city of Dongo which is a smaller city on Lake Como. This was a palace belonging to the Manzi family which is the family of my great, great grandmother – Theresa Manzi.

The city was mostly residential with a few restaurants and a city hall. The city hall used to be the Manzi Palace. The family gifted it to the city to use as a city hall. It is currently still used as a city hall, a tourist office, and a World War 2 museum. Dongo was one of the cities that Mussolini stopped at during his attempted escape from Italy.

Unfortunately, we got there at lunch time so weren’t able to enter the museum and the next tour wasn’t for a few hours. We decided to just try to explore the building on our own and to head back to the ferry.

We then stopped at Bellagio, which is a bit touristy for my taste but also a lovely small Italian town.

Finally, we were back in Como for dinner and a ride up the mountain in a funicular which is similar to the inclines in Pittsburgh. The views from the top were gorgeous!

Here are some additional pictures from around Como:

Our one day at Lake Como was so relaxing. I could definitely come back for a week or two for a nice Italian lake vacation.

Upcoming Posts:
  • That one day in Verona
  • Ljubljana – City of Dragons
  • Roadtrip to Budapest
  • Living on the Beach in Croatia
  • Spontaneous trip around the Balkans

A very quick stop in Milan for the 2015 Expo

The first World’s fair was held at Hyde Park in London in 1851. There is some debate as to if this was really the first exhibition but it is certainly the most famous ‘first’. Over the years, we have begun to refer to the fair as an expo. When I found out that the Expo was going on in Milan, I knew that we had to stop and experience it. I mean how often do you just happen to be passing through Italy and get a chance to attend one of the world fairs?!

The event was massive! It was really quite overwhelming. There were two options on tickets for the events – a day pass for about $40 and a night pass for about $5. Since we were planning to spend the entire day there, we opted for the more expensive option. If we would have had more time in Milan, maybe we would have gone with the evening pass and attended multiple times.

The Expo was featured around the city as well. I was particularly impressed with the light show featured at the Duomo in the City Center. Even though, we were being surrounded by mosquitoes, it was a great way to end the evening.

Again, we had an excellent stay at an Airbnb. This one also had a piano!! 🙂

The theme for the year was “Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life”. My mom and I were able to try some excellent food from various countries.

I was very impressed with the beautiful pavilions designed for each country represented at the event. Each had it’s own personality and tried to provide some meaningful insight into the values of that country. Here are some pictures of my favorites:

If you plan to visit one of the World’s fair in the future, start planning your trip to Kazakhstan in 2017 or Dubai in 2020.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a ton of time to explore Milan this time. I absolutely plan to be back! 🙂

Working, Eating, and Exploring in Torino, Italy

As a first note about the city, it is Torino in Italian and Turin in English. We found this a bit confusing as we were scheduling trains and reviewing maps.


I feel so lucky that Eaton has such a global presence. I’ve already been able to visit five Eaton facilities across Europe and have plans to visit many more as I continue to travel around the world.

It’s great that at each Eaton location, the Eaton culture is present. This is one of the reasons I was drawn to the company when I chose where to start my career after college. The Eaton recruitment team did a great job of highlighting their leadership development programs at our career fair at BGSU. This type of program and training was exactly what I was hoping to find in my first job and what eventually led to my decision to accept an offer with the company.

Eaton takes a lot of pride in the culture that surrounds the brand, employees, and facilities and has invested considerably in this effort. So far, my opinion is that it is definitely worth it!

At each location I visited, I was given a warm welcome, tour, safety training, and meetings to understand what our mission is at each facility. I posted previously about the Eaton Innovation Center that I visited in Prague but wanted to update everyone on 3 of the locations I visited while I was in Italy.

Torino Office:

The office in Torino was a little bit hidden, but right in the city. Since I didn’t have a car in Italy, I had to literally run and catch the bus and walk around the city a bit to find it. Finally, locating the office was worth it though. I was honestly surprised that it was actually right in the city as most of our offices are in the suburbs. It wasn’t a new building but the office complex that we are a part of was very “warehouse cool”. (Yes, I’m going to use that as a term.)  After filling out some information about myself, I was asked to watch a safety and security video. One of the IT employees at the office was kind enough to give me a tour and discuss our vehicle business and the applications we use.

Loved our #Eaton office in #Torino! So glad that I was able to visit and tour two of our plants as well! #Italy #remoteyear #travel #business

Rivarolo and Bosconero Plants:

After a quick overview of the business, I was driven out to two of our neighboring plant locations. It was great to see a new part of the business and get an overview from those who work there everyday.

Italy update for Team

Italy update for Team


I really wasn’t expecting to find my favorite Italian meal in Torino! My mom and I had been walking around all day and came across a local place near our Airbnb called Da Cianci Piola Caffè.  Unfortunately, everything in Torino is closed until about 6:30 – 7, so we did have to wait hungry for the restaurant to allow us to sit. It was well worth it!

Tried a random restaurant in #Torino and it was fabulous!! Best meal yet in #Italy!! #food #travel #remoteyear

We were also able to stop at Caffe Al Bicerin to try the traditional hot drink native to Torino – Bicerin.  The drink is said to have been invented at this cafe. It is basically like breakfast in a cup and is certainly not the healthiest option. The ingredients include espresso, drinking chocolate or Nutella, and whole milk. It was yummy!

#WorkingRemotely from #Torino! This drink is called Bicerin and it is an amazing combination of #coffee, #chocolate, and milk! #remoteyear #travel #Italy


Airbnb was the perfect option yet again! We had a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment right in the center of the city. I highly recommend a stay here! It even had a piano. 🙂

I just had to share another picture of my future Italian apartment. #remoteyear #Italy #travel #Torino

There just happens to be a #piano at my #Airbnb stay!!! #winning #remoteyear #travel #Italy #Torino

I'm in love with our #Torino apartment! When can I move in?? #Italy #Airbnb #travel #remoteyear

Torino was Italy’s first capital in 1861 and you can definitely tell by the grandeur! Here are some pictures of the city:

Wow, #Torino is beautiful at night! It looks like a completely different place! #travel #Italy #remoteyear

First Impression of #Torino - #Amazing! #travel #remoteyear #Italy


Last minute, we decided to go see La Boheme at the Teatro Regio. After just looking up the page to link to more information about the opera, I found out that it was premiered in Torino in 1896!! I can’t believe this wasn’t highlighted at the performance somewhere, although there wasn’t any English translation and most only spoke Italian. This was my mom’s first time seeing La Boheme and she really enjoyed it even though they didn’t provide any English translation. The performance was well done. 🙂

Enjoying #LaBoheme in #Torino! #Italy #travel #remoteyear #opera #Puccini

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back to posting more regularly soon. 🙂

Florence in Two Days

Before going to Florence, I had heard numerous people praise it’s beauty and culture. Many stated that it was their favorite city in Italy! After two days there, I can certainly see it’s appeal, but I wasn’t as blown away as I was expecting. I guess I had just set my expectations too high.

I did make a rookie mistake and tried to get into the cathedrals with a tank top and shorts. This is NOT allowed. I had to buy a scarf from a nearby vendor and purchase a paper dress from the visitor store at the cathedral. It ended up making a rather nice outfit, but I could have avoided this inconvenience.

My last minute outfit to enter the #cathedrals in #Florence! #lessonlearned #remoteyear #travel #Italy

We also found a piece of Ohio in Florence. It appears that there is a branch of Kent State University right in the center of the city!

Randomly walking down an alley in #Florence and found this sign for #KentState! #Ohio #travel #remoteyear #Italy

Things we enjoyed:
  • Climbing to the top of the Duomo  – There were a lot of stairs to climb, but we made it to the top of this beautiful cathedral. If you are able to, I definitely recommend climbing to the top. It was a little unorganized unfortunately. When we were near the top, the up and down stairs are the same and there is not really enough room for two people to pass each other. After climbing to the top on a 90 degree day, this was a little bit annoying.

  • Opera di Firenze – The opera house was quite a ways outside of the city center, but I really enjoyed getting to see a different neighborhood. The opera house was very new and modern. It was a rather impressive facility in a lovely park. We saw a modern adaptation of The Barber of Seville by Rossini. It was an odd mixture of classical and modern elements in the staging, costumes, and sets.

  • Michelangelo’s David  – We waited in line for about 4 hours in the 90 degree heat and sun. I would definitely recommend buying your ticket in advance! It was worth the time to see. I hadn’t realized how large the statue was! I was surprised that the museum itself wasn’t larger, but there was plenty of great art to see.

Where we stayed:
  • Airbnb Florentia Santa Croce house  – My mom and I loved this two bedroom apartment. It wasn’t incredibly fancy, but had a fantastic location. It was about a five minute walk to the Duomo and to many of the other main attractions in the city. The host communicated quickly with us and provided great recommendations while we were in the city. It was very reasonably priced as well. Definitely check it out if you are in Florence.

What we ate:
  • Le Vespa Cafe – There are Vespa’s everywhere throughout the city. It seems only appropriate that there is a cafe with that name. We had a very filling breakfast here. Also, to our delight, they had frappuccinos for the summer. It had been so hot that we were dying to have very cold drinks.

  • Ditta Artiginale – I was so excited to find this coffee shop. We got this recommendation and many others from the Girl in Florence blog which I highly suggest reviewing before visiting the city. They really knew their coffee here. We had a fantastic iced latte and cold brew citrus coffee.

Loved the cold brew latte from @dittartigianale in this heat! Knowledgable, fun staff and an excellent vibe! #coffeeshop #Florence #Italy #coffee  #remoteyear

  • New’s Cafe – Even though this is right in the middle of a very touristy area, it is completely hidden and not crowded. The staff was very excited to share their cappuccino art with us.

Thanks to a recommendation from @girlinflorence!! Lovely spot and people without the crazy tourists. :) #Florence #Italy #travel #remoteyear

  • Gelato Perché no! – Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, we tried this gelato spot. It was fantastic! Definitely recommended.

Florence was a great stop on our quick trip around Italy. I definitely hope to go back and visit some day, perhaps out of peak tourist season though.

Upcoming Posts:

Visiting Eaton’s Locations in Italy

Milan and the 2015 Expo

Venice in Two Days

I decided to do a quick series of posts about the cities we visited in Italy. We visited a total of six locations in Italy and they are so vastly different that they really required their own post. Hopefully you enjoy the recommendations. 🙂 We had a fabulous time in Italy!

First, I created a quick video overview of Venice and some of the beautiful sights we saw.

I used GoOpti to go from Ljubljana to Venice. This was an excellent service and would definitely recommend this to others traveling in the area.

Things we enjoyed:
  • Free Walking Tour : We had a great tour guide that showed us more of the unknown and hidden sights in Venice. This was great and we would recommend taking the tour if you have time and don’t mind walking around the city for 2 – 4 hours.

  • Gondola Ride : Many people had recommended this experience to us and we decided to check it out. We went with two other mother and daughter groups – one of the Remote Year girls! The Gondola ride was a little pricey, but the prices are regulated around the city and you can’t get a better deal. We paid $20 for both of us for a 45 minute ride. I certainly would not suggest a shorter trip, there is so much to look at while you explore the city by canal.

Where we stayed:
  • Hotel Hesperia: Through my Capital One VentureOne card, I was able to use my reward points to book two nights. We loved the location! It was right near a canal very much out of the way of any major tourist spot. We were very close to the train station and some hidden treasures. They also provided a lovely breakfast!

What we ate:
  • Grom Gelato : This was recommended to us by a few of my friends. It was certainly refreshing to eat gelato during the 90 degree weather! It wasn’t our favorite in Italy, but it was still fantastic.

  • Ai tre archi : The hotel gave us this recommendation as a great place in our neighborhood. It was a great spot, tucked away from the crowded tourist areas. There were still a lot of people here and the staff worked hard. We enjoyed the location so much that we came here twice!

Although Venice was rather touristy, my mom and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this beautiful city. The only complaint we had was the crazy heat!

Up Next:

  • Florence in Two Days
  • One Day in Torino, Italy

Last minute trip around Italy

I’ve been living in Ljubljana, Slovenia for the last month. The city, country, and people are fantastic! It’s also in such a convenient location for visiting other countries and cities as well. In a discussion with my family, I was telling them how close Venice, Italy is to Ljubljana – roughly around 2.5 hours by car- and my mom mentioned that she wished she could go to Italy. Well, why not? There is not going to be a much better time than when I’m living so close! We booked her flights later that night a week before she would be coming to visit. Surprisingly the flight was about $900 from Baltimore to Venice and from Ljubljana back to Baltimore. My sister has been interning at Hershey and this gave them the opportunity to visit her on her way to the Baltimore Airport.

Here was our ambitious itinerary:

Venice – 2 Days
Florence – 2 Days
Torino – 1 Day
Milan – 2 Days
Lake Como – 1 Day
Verona – 1 Day
Ljubljana, Slovenia – 2 Days

Over the next few days I will be posting some of our recommendations and pictures from the trip to Italy. It was extremely hot during this trip. It didn’t rain and was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny every day.

Until then, enjoy some of our pictures below. 🙂
So long #Florence! It was a fun few Dayan #Italy #travel #remoteyear
Florence 🙂

First Impression of #Torino - #Amazing! #travel #remoteyear #Italy
Torino, Italy

Sunset over #LakeComo! Beautiful! #Italy #remoteyear #travel
Lake Como

Prague Culture: Final Review

Prague has such a rich and long history and culture. I definitely recommend looking at this quick overview of the history of the Czech Republic to learn a little bit more.

Being a major city in Eastern Europe, there is a lot going on in Prague from art to music to theatre, etc. I was able to experience quite a bit while I was there for a month.


The art throughout Prague varies greatly from medieval to contemporary art. I was able to make it to the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art and enjoyed it, however, I don’t feel that it provided the diversity and organization of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (or maybe I was just missing my neighboring museum).

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update

Here are a few additional pictures of my favorite art from the city:

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update


There are concerts all of the time ranging from Electronic Dance Music to Jazz. I was surprised by the Jazz scene in Prague actually, I wasn’t expecting it to be so abundant throughout the city. We were able to attend the alt-J concert at Zlute lazne by the river. If you get the opportunity to go see a concert there, I definitely recommend it.

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update


When I was there, I was lucky enough to get in contact with an awesome couple who work at Prague Opera. I took a couple of lessons with them and had such a fun time improving my technique and musicality. I was their first English speaking student which was an interesting challenge. I really enjoyed working with them and was very sad to leave after only two lessons.

Prague Culture Update

They were kind enough to set me up with a very nice studio to practice. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place to review their suggestions and continue to work through difficult pieces.

Prague Culture Update

I was also able to see one of my Prague voice teachers at the National Theatre in La traviata. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never seen the opera before, just bits and pieces in classes at BG. I loved the show, and certainly hope to be a part of it someday.

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update

I can only hope that I make similar connections in future cities and countries!


The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ) was all over the city in June. PQ is the “largest scenography event in the world”. The amount of interesting events was a little overwhelming and I wish that I was able to see more of the festival. I loved that this was going on in the city while I was there!

Prague Culture Update

Additionally, I was able to attend a show at the Black Light Theatre company. It was certainly entertaining, but felt a little touristy and maybe a bit overpriced at about $25. However, if you want a short, funny evening in the style of Charlie Chaplin you’ll enjoy it!

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update


The architecture of Prague is beautiful. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the overwhelming amount of old world architecture had me more interested in the more contemporary and out of the ordinary options.

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update

Prague Culture Update

Prague was fantastic and so far Ljubljana, Slovenia has far exceeded my expectations. Although, having never heard of Ljubljana before I was accepted into Remote Year, I can’t say that my expectations were particularly high. 🙂

One of the participants on the trip put together a really great video summing up our time in Prague. Check it out here: Remote Year Month 1 


Up Next:

– Planning a last minute tour of Italy

– First look at Ljubljana

Observations from an Outsider

The following are some observations I had about life in Prague. I didn’t want to forget these observations and thought that they would also be interesting to share.

1. Women wear tan tights/stockings with anything including under jeans, with open toed shoes, etc.

2. Dogs are often not on leashes. They just walk obediently next to their owners. Most of the time they don’t even recognize that you are walking by! They are also allowed into most coffee shops and restaurants.


3. At almost all restaurants/cafes/coffee shops you are expected to find a seat and sit down, and they will come to you to take your order. Even when it seems like you might order at the counter. This doesn’t apply for fast food chains (KFC, Starbucks, etc).


4. Cars are parked strategically up onto the sidewalk on narrow streets.


5. You can recognize an American by how loud they are in public. Most of the locals speak much quieter even in larger groups. Americans are just loud.

6. Often when you want a park bench to sit down on, you will find an abundance of benches!


7. Just about everyone speaks English.

8. People wear comfortable flat shoes all of the time. Even at bars and clubs it is very rare to see anyone in stilettos or heels. This would be completely impractical due to the walking on cobblestone streets.

9. Beer is acceptable to drink at just about any time of the day and drinking is a huge part of the culture.


10. The food is not the healthiest. Traditional Czech food consists of meat and bread. I found myself craving fresh vegetables and fruit. It takes some investigating to find great and healthy local spots.

11. Smoking is very common and is acceptable in bars, clubs, and even some restaurants. Just be careful or you and your clothes will smell like smoke for the entire day.

12. The architecture is beautiful everywhere. I found myself being more attracted to the modern/contemporary buildings and restaurants because it was unique.


Today is my last day in Prague and I absolutely adored the city. I’m certainly sad to leave, but excited to see what Ljubljana is all about. 🙂