Why I want to be invisible woman…

You know how after every Batman or Superman or X-men movie your friends ask you which superhero you want to be? I wondered. Do I want to be able to fly anywhere I want and have awesome strength? That’s actually cool to have when you think about it. You can travel the world whenever you want and be back in time for dinner and save lots of money on flights. But no. Do I want to be able to run extremely fast? Nah. Do I want to fight crimes in a tight suit? No way! I want to be invisible woman!

Hmmm why you ask?

People have always fascinated me. I am people too but watching other people have always been one of my favourite past times. Be it in a busy public square or while at work, be it young or old, the face give away lot of entertainment. Specially the deeply wrinkled. Now that, is art. That is also why portrait photography is one of my favourites. (not that I am any good at it) But… I am too shy for my own good. I worry too much about people around me and I don’t like much attention. So whenever I see an interesting face or a shot, I have to hide in the bushes. (Not literally) So pretty much all my portraits of strangers are of the side of their faces or back or too far. Anyhow now that I have realised the problem here comes the awesome solution. Being invisible woman. 🙂
Just imagine, JUUURRRST imagine the amazing variety of photos I can take. And the fun I can have? 😉 Options are unlimited! (For this theory we are going to assume everything I touch will be invisible too hence I will have an invisible camera) 🙂

So tell me, am I the only crazy person or are there others out there? Which superhero would you want to be and why? 🙂

Swiss Guard woman in rome old but gold grumpy kid gorgeous hungry man in rome florence police florence art not a happy traveller the wisdom lady in florence  stunning eyes and one of my all time favourites.. deeply wrinkled are art

Advertisements

Venice: my ‘WALK’ through the city of water…

This is a sad day. After so many posts I have come to the end of my amazing Italian journey and Venice is the last stop.

From Florence we took a train to Venice. Venice! I am finally going to see Venice. Excitement was building up, hopes high, eager to explore; we finally got to the ethereal ‘city of water’. I was instantly disappointed! Why? How? I actually don’t know. It just didn’t feel welcoming enough. So I took a deep breath and watched hundreds of people move around me, busier and faster than anywhere else in Italy, water buses taking in as many tourists as they can, people getting lost with their luggage and decided it’s time to move on.

The best way to travel in Venice is by water taxies, which make sense since the whole city is on water and you would think it’s cheap. No, it was expensive! We are just a couple of graduates on a budget, so what did we do? We decided to ‘hike’! I say hike because we literally walked from one end of the island to the other and crossed so many bridges, climbed so many steps up and so many steps down with our back packs, at the end of it we felt like we have climbed a decent size mountain.

venice (8) venice (6) venice (20) venice (12) venice (4) venice (3) venice (10) Yes we were tired but we saw Venice in a total different way. The tiny alley ways that takes the whole of Italy to another level is still prominent in Venice maybe more so than anywhere else. It’s pretty much like walking through a maze. You don’t know where you are going but every corner, every turn there is something wonderful.

It was more ‘touristy’ and expensive than anywhere else I have been to and that put me off a bit but the more you go inside the island away from those crowded areas, Venice had a nice charm, nice homely feeling about it that one can’t but feel good about.

venice (27) venice (29) venice (30) venice (31) venice (33) venice (34)venice (42) venice (41) venice (40)

venice (45) venice (46) venice (51) venice (78) venice (52) venice (79) venice (86)So this was my ‘walk’ through the city of water. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and from now on I have to start going around Melbourne to come up with some decent photographs. 🙂

Pisa: words not needed….

This is another one of my favourite places and i still can’t believe I was there. The architecture mind-blowing, the weather wonderful, the place mesmerizing and the experience unforgettable. I don’t think any more words are necessary to describe how amazing Pisa was/is. So here are some photos, hope you will enjoy them as much as I did. 🙂

pisa (3) - Copy pisa (41) - Copy pisa (26) - Copy pisa (22) - Copy pisa (2) - Copy pisa (14) - Copy pisa (18) - Copy  pisa (5) - Copy pisa (30)

Florence: If there is a heaven, this is it…..

I found my favourite city in the WORLD! Ok so I haven’t seen most of the cities in the world so let me be fair to all other cities that are frowning at me, Florence is my favourite city SO FAR. I fell in love and I still can recall the feeling when I woke up in the hotel room and looked out on to the beautifully calm streets, when I walked the narrow streets filled with gorgeous people, taking in the fresh morning air after climbing hundreds of steps to get to Piazzale michelangelo, the smell of coffee when I passed a tiny cafe or the taste of freshly baked pastries on the side of the road. If that is not love, I don’t know what is. 🙂

I think that is enough explaining, here are some photos. Hope you see what I saw….

Ponte Veccio (old bridge)

florence (19)florence (16)florence (25)florence (18)florence (27) florence (17)florence (26) florence (32)

Piazzale Michelangelo – you will never forget the view you get of all of Florence from this place and you would not want to leave. The bus drive back down from top of piazzale michelangelo was one of the most scenic and best drives I have ever had in my life. That’s when I knew I was in love. 😉 If you are in florence don’t forget to climb about 200 stept up to this place and then take a bus ride back down. Trust me you will LOVE it. Oh and do it in the morning too. 🙂

florence (38) florence (44) florence (55) florence (59) florence (62) florence (64)florence (85) florence (86)florence (67) florence (96)florence (76) florence (75)florence (84) florence (93)florence (97) florence (106)florence (111)florence (110)

Through the winding roads of Southern Italy…..

We are on our way covering southern Italy. After visiting Pompeii we are off to the beautiful Amalfi Coast. The little car (there are ONLY little cars everywhere you look) was expertly manoeuvred through tiny streets, sometimes taking almost 360o turns, passing busy locals, wandering tourists and little shops of all things Italian.

A little after the sun has set, we arrived in the beautiful town of Amalfi where on one side the glowing blue Mediterranean Sea and on the other, steep mountains covered with Mediterranean style houses. A sight like no other.amalfi and coast (7)

amalfi and coast (27) amalfi and coast (28)

amalfi and coast (29)

The breathtaking views were only second to the experience of walking through the town of tiny cobble stone paths and alley ways peering in to little shops and admiring and tasting the local speciality, limoncello. It’s a liqueur made with lemons, as the area is a known cultivator of lemons, and there are cute little shops with bottles of all shapes and sizes. It was a typical Italian tourist town as it was filled even at night with people, chatting, sipping coffee and eating oversized pizzas. With much hesitation we drove out of Amalfi through Positano and few other breathtaking and daring coastal towns to Sorrento, our stop for the night.

amalfi and coast (25) amalfi and coast (21) amalfi and coast (19)

amalfi and coast (35) copy

Next day we drove around Sorrento absorbing the chilled morning air and amazing views all around us while heading towards Naples, the food capital of Italy. Naples was different. The city was literally made out of houses, horizontally and vertically. But it was impressive, regardless of what the Romans have to say about Naples. 😉

Our first stop was Piazza del Municipio, the massive building with high glass roof and delicate architectural details really fascinated me. Also it was a popular spot for newly wedded couple to take photos as we saw more than a few of white gown and tuxedos posing to photographers instructions. 🙂 Unfortunately I didn’t see the typical Naples way of drying clothes above the streets as it was a cloudy day but, the experience of walking on the main street with braches of streets with similar style multi-story apartments looking in to each other was nothing unusual.

naples (5) naples (6)

naples (16)

naples (17)naples (18)

Our final stop at Naples was San Gregorio Armeno. It’s supposed to be world famous (forgive me for not knowing) for cribs and other ornaments. Locals said during Christmas time it is impossible to walk in that area as everyone comes here to buy Christmas ornament. They weren’t exaggerating; there were shops after shops filled with different ornaments and bigger statues of pretty much everything. It was quite a colourful end to our southern Italy round up in two days. 🙂

naples (23)

naples (24) naples (26) naples (27) naples (29)

Every girl’s dream is not to find the perfect guy but to eat without getting fat…. :)

(Anonymous)

It’s true isn’t it? 🙂 Anyway let me start by saying this post is NOT about photography. This is a collection of what we indulged on our Italy trip and it’s safe to say I forget photography when I see these kinds of meals in front of me. 😉 Pretty much all these were taken from my dear iphone as it takes too much time to take the camera out and set this and that. So here goes. Like I said it’s not pretty photography but it was surely tasty food.

Some of the BEST food I tasted were home cooked and I’d take that any day over any fancy restaurant meal. Ok so let’s start.bruschetta

This tomato & basil bruschetta was homemade and it was one of the tastiest things I have eaten. So fresh and so simple and we cleaned up two plates between three girls. Off to a good start.

So listen to this…. They bring in the pasta. Oh so good. I serve myself a generous bowl and it’s so good I go for seconds. After that I am so full and content I relax and sip my wine thinking that’s the end of the meal. No! no! no! then comes the second course of salads and other side dishes. Wait a minute, what? Yeah take your pick from baked fish and potatoes, baked eggplant, baked cauliflower, green salads and the list goes on. Apparently they do it the other way around. Mains first. Who knew? I am so full on pasta yet I cannot just not eat these amazing foods in front of me, so I eat. At the end I don’t even have room to breathe!!pasta

Here we have home made fettucini with mushrooms and black truffle! (I have never had truffle before, so I felt a bit posh)pasta

An amazing Pasta Arabiatta cooked by my very talented cousin followed by baked fish & potatoes!

IMG_0734

IMG_0685 IMG_0737

pasta    IMG_0736

This happened pretty much every day because every time I go to someone’s house and they bring in the pasta first and don’t even say or show they have other dished hidden in the kitchen, I fear I might not get enough so I stuff myself up on the first course (no complains) and then the story goes on. Oh not to forget the desserts and coffee.

macarons

DSC_4468

IMG_0708IMG_0665So in Italy there is normal coffee and then there is Naples coffee. Normal coffee is espresso (of course) and in Naples there is a speciality where they make it with a shot of espresso, then frothed milk/cream/sugar on top with a sprinkle of coco. And the froth is cold so there is so much contrast going in that tiny cup and it’s quite tasty.Napolitan pizza

Lets not forget about pizza. We had so much pizza from square pizzas by weight at the street side pizzeria to pizza shop at a shopping mall to the famous ‘original’ pizza from Naples. In Naples they are very proud & passionate about their pizza, and it’s pretty good. Very fresh and simple and especially the base is the best ever BUT I did get bored after a while.

So the winner is…… I Corsari. We drove about an hour from Rome to get to this place hidden in a quiet town overlooking the city and it is supposed to be award winning.massive

massiveAward winning for sure. This was no ordinary pizza. It was MASSIVE! See the photo with half my cousin in it, to show you the scale. It not only is massive it also comes in four choice of toppings. So it’s like four pizzas in one. And is undoubtedly the BEST pizza I have tasted anywhere in the world! Of course it has to be shared as I thought no one can OR should eat one by oneself but two of my friends did, with no problems. (Oh boy!)

Chocolate shots

This is a chocolate shot. A what? It is a cup made with dark chocolate, filled with your choice of liqueur, topped with whipped cream & chocolate shavings and dusted with coco and all gulped down in one mouthful! Fun! 🙂

And last not least, gelato. We had so much gelato through out but I am embarrassed to say I have no pictures of actual gelato. What can I say? I was too busy eating them to take pictures. I however do have a picture of the best gelataria in Rome. There are long lines to get to this place during daytime, so we being the smart people we are, waited till past midnight & had the best gelato overlooking the Vatican City walls after an amazing night stroll on a nice cold roman night.

Oh how I love the Italian lifestyle. I’d surely be fat but I would still do it every day. 🙂IMG_0615

Pompeii: Ruins from a previous life….

This post comes out of one of my most memorable moments of visiting the once lost ancient city of Pompeii.

I couldn’t wait to put this post up to show you guys simply because it is POMPEII. Yes yes I get this excited about Pompeii and you will see why. Pompeii is something I have had on the itinerary from the very beginning because it has always intrigued me.

According to history Pompeii was lost for nearly 1700 years before its rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.

Weather forecast was not the best that day and the whole sky was cloudy and gloomy. Unlucky? Not so much because it provided the most dramatic backdrop for our journey through the ancient ruins of a city.

From the moment you enter into the historical site, it totally transforms in to a different world. Ruin after ruin after ruin of rubbles, bricks and roofless structures leaves you amazed at how it is still standing and make you feel nostalgic. It has the vibe of a sacred place and I felt like I need to keep my voice low and show some respect. When you walk through the once upon houses, basilicas and theatres and  see plaster casts of people sleeping or sitting like they did moments before they were covered in steaming hot lava, it sends chills through your body. Absolute devastation.

I hope I did justice through the pictures, because it truly was an amazing experience. 

pompei (3)pompei (9)pompei (11)pompei (44) pompei (30)  pompei (29) pompei (54)pompei (16)

pompei (24)pompei (19)pompei (20)pompei (22)pompei (28)pompei (27)pompei (35)pompei (34)pompei (33)pompei (37)pompei (48)pompei (52)pompei (57)IMG_0650pompei (64)

oh little town, why you so lonely?

It’s been awhile, but what to do? sometimes technology fails a little bit more than I would like! Now to continue with my italian journey…

We went medieval town hopping!

I always wanted to and I was told this is the best way to get a feel of the true Italian country side. Who wants to say no? We started off at a little town called Posticciola near Lake Turano. I don’t think I have the right words to describe the architecture of exposed bricks, rubble and masonry and decades or maybe centuries old timber works of the place. It really was like walking through a history lesson. But at the same time you can’t help that feeling of absolute loneliness standing in the middle of empty streets and narrow pathways. I didn’t see anybody the whole time I was there. Later I got to know that most owners abandon their houses in most of these tiny medieval towns because it’s just too hard living there. It’s too far from the city centre and when tourism is at a low they have no income. Such a pity. But of course that didn’t stop us from wandering through the town on its’ tiny (when I say tiny I really mean tiny) pathways in awe. Sometimes I felt like I was trespassing, but of course I wasn’t. 🙂

  

Next big stop was Casperia. This is located in the town of Poggio Mirtetto and the historic centre of Casperia is walled and traffic free and has spectacular views of the local town on one side and the surrounding hills and mountains on the other. This of course was different to Postcciola mainly because it was part of a town and was more alive with people, charming little shops, bars and restaurants. Again the historic walled city was a delight to walk through climbing several steps up and several steps down. Good exercise i must say. 🙂 We ended the day on a lovely open terrace overlooking the local town, watching the beautiful sunset.

  

  

Lake Turano: your eyes ain’t tricking you….

I was staring at this massive body of blue-green water and I just couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. The water was so calm and crisp and glistening with the morning sun and the mountains rising above, surrounding it to provide that little extra care. I just can’t explain how I felt when I was there, breathing in the fresh morning air but I remember thinking ‘I couldn’t picture my life any better than standing here right now and if I die, I would be the happiest dead person.’ 🙂

Then….. I saw this.

Picturesque medieval towns nestled between green mountains. I felt like I was inside a story book, running through pages filled with beautifully coloured pictures. I was grinning from ear to ear while snapping this amazing scenery all around me.

Among the charming towns that arise around Lake Turano, there are two not to be missed. Castel di Tora and Colle di Tora.I am lost for words here, so just enjoy the photos and I hope you feel the joy I felt walking in this lovely italian country side.

If this is not the perfect picture postcard of Italian countryside, I don’t know what is. 🙂

Rome: where the heart grew fonder…. (part 2)

Day two of living the dream in Rome.  We started off at Piazza Del Popolo and from there you see few streets branching out and we started walking through Via Del Corso, THE shopping street. Yes there is a reason why I chose this street other than to satisfy the shopaholic in me. 🙂 It leads to the amazing Piazza Venezia. This however was not on my list of must see’s so I wasn’t sure what I was going to get.  Let’s just say I was really glad I went there.

Within Piazza Venezia is the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II) The monument holds the ‘tomb of the Unknown Soldier’ (Ignoto Militi) and is a magnificent piece of architecture. The white marble details are unbelievable and the structure itself is evident enough to see the respect given to the tomb and the relevant exhibits inside.

It was a lucky day for us as we found out we can go to the roof top of the monument. And lucky we were. It had amazing views of the Foro Romano or Roman Forum leading all the way to the most awaited site in Rome for me, the Colosseum.  It didn’t disappoint. It was everything I have seen in pictures and it was everything I have imagined it to be. I have finally seen the Colosseum and I was happy! Who can ask for more? I think I have seen everything I wanted, so we just sat on a ledge near the Colosseum and admired the beautiful architecture and people passing by and called it a day.

So now just from my truly amazing experience in Rome let me write a list of MUST see’s.  These won’t take you more than two days if you have a tight schedule like I did and you can walk to most places if you stay in the city centre. If not take a bus or metro to one of the places and start walking from there. Won’t cost you much. 🙂 Also make sure you get a nice big map, won’t be a proper tourist without a map! 😉

  1. St. Peter’s square and St. Peter’s basilica
  2. The Colosseum
  3. The Pantheon
  4. Piazza Navona
  5. Fontana di Trevi
  6. Castel sant’angelo
  7. Piazza di spagna
  8. Piazza venezia
  9. Foro Romano
  10. Via del Corso
  11. Vatican Museum – This we didn’t get to see as we missed a day due to bad weather. So if you have three good days, this should definitely be on your list.

Now here are some must do’s

  1. Eat gelato every day. You are going to be spoilt for choice so go crazy! And try the Old bridge gelataria near Vatican City as they have the BEST gelato in town. Trust me. 🙂
  2. Drink espresso from bars like the locals do. Over the counter. No sitting down.
  3. Walk slowly as much as you can. You experience a great deal that way.
  4. Keep smiling. You are in Rome. 🙂

Rome: where the heart grew fonder…. (part 1)

The joy of losing weight by walking the streets of Rome started the very next day after a good night’s sleep. Where better to start than where we left off last night, St. Peter’s square. The calm, majestic place had transformed overnight in to a bustling piazza of locals and tourists, and combine that with the architecture and the craftsmanship and it becomes one of the most inspiring public spaces I have ever been to.

We queued up to enter the amazing St. Peter’s basilica and amazing it was!! The details took my breath away instantly. God is definitely in details. Colours, paintings, sculptures, high ceilings and the different architectural spaces all made for an amazing architectural and spiritual experience.

All the while admiring the interior I was thinking ‘I wish I had a fish-eye lens’ because I can just picture how amazing the interior photos would have looked. But I didn’t have that so I did what I could with what I had. 🙂

 

 

 Then we walked on lovely but busy streets of cobble stones to Castel Sant’angelo, which was originally a mausoleum now turned into a museum. It is located beautifully along river Tevere and has views to St, Peter’s and the other part of the city centre.

Next move was to the beautiful Piazza Navona. It was in true Italian style a ‘piazza’ filled with tourists, local artists with some amazingly colourful artworks, street side pizzerias and restaurants with people sitting outside and sipping coffee. Total bliss!

In the centre stands Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi meaning the Fountain of four rivers and there is a story behind it that has something to do with the four largest rivers in Italy at that time, but forgive me I cannot remember! 🙂

    

Next place got me all excited. When I looked at the map and it was just walking distance from Piazza Navona I literally screamed with excitement. The Pantheon. The Pantheon & the Colosseum were the two main buildings I have known and studied for history since the first year of architecture school and to actually physically see one was beyond exciting. I had to stare at it for a few minutes to catch my breath before taking the camera out.  It was different from what I have imagined. The building was in a tighter space and darker in colour therefore very different to the rest of the area. But it still looked like it can stand there another 100 years. The interior was again beautiful and made me miss not having a fish eye lens.

After that we went to Fonatana di Trevi, where the magic happens. Made a wish and tossed a coin in the fountain and did some people watching. Again the details of marble work and sculptures were immaculate.

Last stop for the day was Piazza di Spagna or Spanish steps. But unfortunately I didn’t manage to take any good photos worth sharing. It was crowded and I didn’t get that ‘wow’ feeling associated with pretty much anywhere in Rome and nor did the camera. But I did put one just to say I was there. 🙂 

Who can complain? I enjoyed every bit of walking around the famous cobble stone streets with colourful little shops, gelatarias every 100 meters, seeing amazing architecture and mixing in with hundreds of different people.

I love you Rome! 🙂

p.s – I did do a little editing colour wise because  these are the colours I associate with when I picture Rome in my head. 🙂 Hope you enjoy and don’t hesitate to leave feedback.

My love affair with Italy begins…

I cannot wipe the smile off my face and I kept pinching myself as we drove around the beautiful city of Rome in the night, where the streets are calm and the ancient buildings stood ever so majestically. For those of you who don’t know, this has been my dream journey. The one I planned so many times, the one I postponed so many times, the one I never had the money. But I am here, I am finally here and I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

First thing first, we stopped for true Italian style espresso at the locals’ favorite bar, Il Pappagallo, where I honestly had the best coffee I have ever had. This was topped off with a visit to almost magical and very romantic ‘Gianicolo‘ and ‘piazza Garibaldi‘ where you have amazing views of the city center and I didn’t want to leave.

No my dream doesn’t end there. Then we drive in to St.Peter’s square, and I think my heart skipped a beat. It was almost deserted and St.Peters Basilica stood in front of us like nothing I have ever seen. I took a deep breath. The architecture, the atmosphere, the smell of coffee in the air and gelateria’s open past midnight was the perfect end to the beginning of an amazing journey!

And so my love affair with Italy begins….

p.s – please bare with me as I am going to be posting a LOT about Italy in the coming weeks. 🙂