Posts tagged Lifestyle Photography
Florence + Rome / Week Five | Quad Cities Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Well, here it is. The last leg of our journey and the last couple of stops before we headed home. I have to say, it has been absolutely awesome to do these blog posts. I don't know if anyone is even reading them, but I don't really care. It has been more therapeutic for me to write them than I realized going in. Life is different these days and we don't get to adventure as much as we used to, but as the quote says "We'll always have Paris (or Dublin, London, Florence- really insert ANY other place here)"

So. Here goes.

Our second favorite place (next to Ireland) was hands down, Florence. The art, the people, the vibe; we felt at home. Totally relaxed and stress free the way a big city rarely makes me feel. We explored a few museums but really spent most of our time there just walking the city. We happened upon the gelato festival and I instantly fell to my knees in utter despair since I had recently found out that I was lactose intolerant and was unable to partake in my fav dessert. We also happened to find our favorite bar in the world. I couldn't tell you what it was called, but they had some of the best beer I've ever had. There was a little barrel and a couple of stools outside that we kind of set up shop on for the next two days. In the picture below, it looks like I'm holding a peace sign but really I'm saying 'yeah this is the second day in a row of us coming here and I'm not even ashamed to admit it'. 

We also did the most touristy thing in Florence- we had out caricature done. And I'm so.glad.we.did. It still hangs on our wall today and I love to look at it! The artist who did the caricature was super cool and while we were having our day-two-at-the-bar, he happened to walk by and we got to chat a bit more! We were really bummed to leave Florence and considered staying an extra day, but decided we needed to keep exploring since our time in Europe was nearly up.

So on to Sienna we went. If you've ever heard of the colors Sienna or burnt Sienna (a darker variation)- this city is where they get their name. We hung out at the city center plaza and truly, the city is the color of Sienna. We had a fantastic meal in Sienna but were ready to move on to our last stop- Rome. It took us way longer than it should have to get there because there was a strike and the railroads were shut down for a while. Lots of waiting around in train stations. 

Rome, Rome, Rome. What a city. It's where I got my first 'Ciao bella'! Oh, and other things like the colosseum, Roman steps, Julius Caesar's burial site (where people still lay flowers for him on a daily basis), doors that were thousands of years old, countless other historical markers that I can't even list and Vatican City (which ended up being a lot of long lines were we weren't allowed to take pictures of the sistine chapel). There is so much history in Rome and we only brushed the very surface of the outer layer of all there is to learn. I have to admit, we were kind of over learning anything else. All we had been doing for the past 4 1/2 weeks was going to museums and historical sites and we were kind of ready to just chill. For that reason alone we need to go back to Rome. After touring the colosseum we decided Rome had been good but we were ready for a night in. So, we bough a couple beers and some kebab and watched Gladiator in our room. 

All in all, it truly was the trip of a lifetime. We constantly say things to each other like 'remember that time in Venice when ______' or 'how 'bout that time we _______' or, our favorite, 'It's a Dublin kind of day'- a day when there is a sky of rain clouds and a chill to the air and all we want to do is be together so we can explore.  We learned, laughed, loved and adventured and I can't.wait to do it again- soon.

Thanks for reading this series and sharing in the love <3

The Chinque Terre + Week Four | Quad Cities Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

The Chinque Terre. It literally means, five lands, and is a stretch along the Italian Riveria made up of 5 small towns that have been there for centuries. Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso, Riomaggiore and Vernazza are the names of the 5 towns that actually took our breath away. We walked up and down every street of each town and kept finding new and interesting sites, houses, shops and historical markers. The towns are all connected by a hiking trail that takes you up into the mountain side so you're walking by the vineyards and lemon trees. 

The first bit of our Chinque Terre stay was in Corniglia where we stayed in an adorable, fully furnished little apartment. I got to cook while we stayed there! I made squid ink pasta and used the local specialty- pesto to make a wonderfully delightful little Italian dinner. Just call me Ina Garten. It was a beautiful place where we did lots of reading and relaxing. From here, we hiked to the two northern most towns of Vernazza and Monterosso. We enjoyed a bottle of wine on the Mediterranean and doing some general people watching. 

But the towns themselves weren't the adventure- It was during our hike to Monterosso that we were reminded how little Italian we knew. The hiking trail was pretty full of people pretty much all the time. So we thought it was a little odd when while walking part of the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso we hadn't seen anyone in about 60 minutes. We kept going until we got to a part of the trail that had been completely washed out. See, in 2012 there was a series of really bad mudslides along the Riviera and large parts of the trail had been washed out and were in the process of being repaired. So THAT'S what that sign meant. So, we're standing at the edge of the trail where the only place to go was up a 6' cliff that if you fell meant falling down the rest of the cliff and probably landing, hard, somewhere in the Mediterranean, or to go back from where we had come. Lo and behold, there was a crew of 4 guys standing on top of the cliff doing repair work. One of the Italians reached down his hand obviously meaning for me to take it and with a giddy school girl smile, I grabbed hold. With a cigarette in the side of his mouth, he lifted me straight up onto the cliff. I mean, I felt weightless. And then, he did the exact same thing to Daniel. Just swooped us right up the 6' ledge like it was nothing. Gee, thanks you tan, rugged, perfect Italian specimen, you. I'm still blushing.

The next spot we stayed was Riomaggiore. The places there each had their own courtyard that sat right on the cliff over looking the Mediterranean. So. Gorgeous. 

Aaaaand here we come to the infamous wine night. Or as we like to call it, the night we almost died. We had a delicious dinner and had finished our bottle of wine early in the evening. We were staying right outside of Riomaggiore and there were no more shuttles going into town, much less any shops still open. So, we went to the little what can only be described as a-bodega-with-an-umbrella(?) and asked the girl if she knew where we could get a bottle of wine. Her answer? "You want wine? I can get you wine". She grabs an empty 1.5 liter water bottle, sets a funnel on top and pours wine- from a 5 gallon bucket. I know what you're thinking. Any normal person would have said, uhm, nah, I think we'll pass.

But not us. Not during our once in a lifetime European walkabout. Not when we had such a beautiful view of the Mediterranean. Not when we were aa bottle of wine in. So I gave her something like 5euros and we proceeded to drink our incredibly shady, more-than-likely bootlegged wine. Or maybe it was just straight up hooch. We still aren't sure what we were drinking. It tasted like apple juice, but had the effect of tequila. We only drank *maybe* 1/3 of the bottle, but neither of us remember much from the rest of the night. Like, we remember being very inebriated and running up and down the cliff, but the rest is kind of...a mystery. Oh. And the next morning? We found a fly in the bottle. We can only hope it got in there AFTER we stopped drinking. And that was the last time we drank wine. For like a year a half.

The next day was spent dozing on a hammock while the clouds came rolling up the cliff and left us damp. Being in the clouds was among the coolest experiences of the whole trip. 

So, if you're planning a trip to Italy, you MUST go to the Chinque Terre. Do some hiking, exploring and steer clear of the wine from the umbrella girl in Riomaggiore.