Posts tagged Travel
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

Italy + Week Three | Quad Cities Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

Italy. ooooooh Italy. From the moment we stopped for our first espressos and pastries to the moment we flew out of Rome, we were in love and never disappointed.

We arrived in Venice by way of a sleeper train. The idea behind a 'sleeper train' is, I'm sure, to let passengers sleep through the night and arrive rested at your destination. I mean, it sounds good in theory, right? Well this is pretty much how our 12 hour sleeper train ride from Paris to Venice went: chhhuuuuuga-chhhuuuuga, chuuugga-chuuugga, chugga-chugga, BLOOD CURDLING SCREECHING BREAKS GRINDING US TO A COMPLETE STOP, on repeat every 20-60 minutes all.night.long. 

BUT. As soon as we stepped of the train we knew it had been worth it. Venice is truly a site that you must see. Between the sediments that the city is built on eroding and the rising sea levels, the city is in jeopardy. The tide is getting higher and higher and starting to damage more and more of the city. There are some pretty fascinating structures being built to try to lessen the impact of the tide, I just hope they are completed in time because this city has so much history and culture- it'd be a shame to loose it to the sea.

The coolest thing about Venice is that it operates like any other city in the world. There is shopping to be done, construction, school, museums, cathedrals, and transportation- it's just that everything is on water. Riding the water taxis was pretty awesome. Watching them dock and undock over and over again was pretty sweet to see! We didn't ride a gondola. Mostly because it was ridiculously expensive and frankly, the water taxis were cooler. We went to museums, cathedrals, shops, the island of Murano, the Jewish quarter and generally tried to hit up every historical thing we could. Because if you haven't learned by now, we're nerds and LOVE that sorta thang. 

We ate one of our favorite meals of the whole trip in Venice. A little restaurant called Osteria da Alberto. Where you ordered the house wine straight from the barrel by the liter and ate seafood that had been caught that morning.  Absolutely amazing meal that made me an unashamed glutton. 

On our way back from Alberto's, we got kinda lost. Well, as lost as you can get on a series of floating islands. We had had a liter or two (Or three? Maybe four? But who's counting?) of wine and on our way back, Daniel kept saying "mhm, yeah, I'm pretty sure we go left here." or things like "Yeah, we should be home if we go right over that bridge." And after about 40 minutes of walking we ended up right back on the same plaza where we started. Yeah. We basically walked a giant circle all around Venice. We walked onto the plaza, looked at each other and burst out laughing. That was also the night we sat on a dock and let our legs dangle into the Adriatic. One of the best nights we had. And I will have you know, when we went back to Alberto's the next night, we made it home without getting even a little lost :)

We slept with the windows open and had one of the best night's sleep we'd had the whole trip. I was also eaten ALIVE by mosquitoes. Not kidding. The next morning I woke up with 20+ welts all over my body INCLUDING MY EYELID. How did Daniel fair? Not. One. Single. Bite. 

The last few pictures here are from Padua, Verona and Bologna. Smaller cities we decided to hit up on the way west towards the Cinque Terre. Padua was a bit of a college town and had a really great market. But it was rainy so we spent most of our time under a tent drinking wine. No complaints here. Verona had a great city center where we are some great food (duh) and we spent most of the time generally walked around exploring. We also saw our first colosseum in Verona. I didn't realize there were other colosseums besides THE colosseum. It was cool to get a feel for what a colosseum was like before we went and saw THE colosseum. It was that much more impressive.

And Bologna had the earthquake. In the middle of the night I woke up to some pretty decent quaking. I woke Daniel and said, "I think we're having an earthquake, should we go outside?" His response? "No. It's probably just the people upstairs &#^*)&%". Needless to say, it was an earthquake. The epicenter was about 20 miles north of us and measured 6.1. There was widespread damage and 15 people died. Northern Italy is highly earthquake prone and having a large earthquake causes a lot of damage to the old buildings. There were piles of rubble on the news for days. It was a tragedy that had all of Italy talking for days. We are truly thankful we weren't closer.

We loved this stint of the trip and found that it was really easy to get around. Also, after our first week in Italy, I pretty much considered myself fluent in Italian.