AL: Finals have just finished which means that our time here is sadly about to end. It has been an amazing five weeks getting to learn and grow in this new environment. I am so thankful that I have had this opportunity to explore and experience new things. I think one of my favorite adventures we had during our trip was hiking through Cinque Terre. It is an area made up of five little towns and there is a gorgeous hike you can take along the coast. On my hike I started noticing some of the plants we have been learning about in our Horticulture class. One plant that stuck out was the artichoke. I had never seen one in person before and so I was shocked at how pretty the flower was. It the United States artichokes are mainly grown for commercial use so they are hard to find. Usually when you think about an artichoke you do not associate it with the word beautiful but it really was. It has a very vivid purple color that I love. Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean and are used in various food dishes. At home I am used to using artichokes to make dip but in Italy we have seen it in pizza and pasta a lot. Italy is actually one of the largest producers of artichokes. There are many different varieties of artichokes grown around the world. One fun fact is that frost is supposed to enhance the “nutty “ flavor of artichokes. So next time you are in the kitchen try experimenting with artichokes, they make a great addition to many meals!