Friday, May 31, 2013

Looking Back

Hey Marseilles - Looking Back Pin It

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rome - The Vatican and St Peter's

I spent my first full day in Rome at the Vatican and St Peter's. I went in knowing very little about what to expect, and ended up being very glad I'd paid for a guided tour. As much as I usually prefer to visit museums and other landmarks on my own at my own pace, in this case I felt like I learned much more and now have a great appreciation of what I was seeing.

I got so caught up in the stories and history the guide was sharing I barely remembered to take photos. Not being Catholic, I had very little background on the history of Rome, the Vatican or the Papistry, I felt like this tour wasn't just a chance to see some amazing art and architecture, but was also a living history lesson.

The tour ended at St Peter's Basilica and I finally remembered I had a camera. I was wandering around snapping photos everywhere - because there is amazing art at every turn in the Basilica - and heard a couple of women talking about how uncrowded it was, which surprised me because if felt very full to me.

Since this was my first visit to Rome, I had nothing to compare it with, but I'm learning Rome in the summer is crazy crowded. Have you experienced it then?

"I'm looking for a holiday, some peace in this world."
Jessie Baylin - Holiday

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Changing Light in Tuscany - and a case of jet lag

I got back from a quick two week trip to Lausanne, Switzerland and Istanbul this weekend. The trip over was easy - I hit the ground running and barely noticed the time change. I said to myself, "I've finally mastered this long haul travel / jet lag business." I should have known better, because coming home as proven that just isn't so. I got home last Saturday night and went to bed around 2 AM but slept until 8, so far so good. I actually found myself continuing my victory celebration over jet lag.

The last two nights have proven I still have a long way to go to master jet lag. Sunday I stayed up until 10 PM, but woke up at 2 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. I only managed to stay up until 8 PM Monday, which means I went to sleep while it was still light out - very unusual for me.

My strange day of being awake in the dark and sleeping in the light, got me thinking about the difference light makes on our world and reminded me of this set of photos Tuscany I took from my hotel room in Siena. The first one I took in early evening as a storm was rolling in, the second I took at dawn and the final one I took at mid-day just as I was checking out of the hotel.

In case you are wondering, jet lag only let me sleep until 2:45 AM today....but at least I'm moving in the right direction.

"I'm lost in the light, I pray for the night to take me."
Bahamas - Lost in the Light

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Friday, May 17, 2013

A Father's First Spring

The Avett Brothers - A Father's First Spring
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Siena City Center

I spent a good share of a day in Siena's Piazza del Campo, a public square in the center of the city. I had a blast people watching and the sky put on its own show with storms moving in and out all afternoon. I probably could have taken in a few more museums in Siena, but the square felt less like a tourist trap and more like people who lived there just out relaxing and I was drawn to that energy.


"Sometimes I can't keep it together, but I never give up."
Ryan Bingham - Keep it Together
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Siena Duomo

This morning, I'm pulling out my suitcase and packing it again. This time for a shortish trip first to Switzerland and then on to Turkey. While I figure out how make this two week work trip with just a carry on, I thought I'd do a bit of a photo dump from my day in Siena. I spent the early part of the day at the Duomo and the surrounding museums.

My favorite part was climbing a suspended walkway near the church with an amazing view of the entire area.

I did very little planning for my day in Siena - so I really arrived not knowing what to expect. I knew it would be smaller than Florence, but I didn't quite expect that it would feel a bit like a fortress in the center of the city - where I was staying and spent most of my time. The city center was on the top of the hill - and I wasn't there long enough to venture down and into the valley - but I hope to make another trip to Tuscany someday - what little I saw was stunningly beautiful.


"May good hope walk with you through everything."
Glen Hansard - Song of Good Hope

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Friday, May 10, 2013

City of Blinding Light

City of Blinding Light
U2 - City of Blinding Light Pin It

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Florence - Odds and Ends

I keep trying to find the words to describe my time in Florence, but keep coming up blank. I guess this is another reason to carry a camera and let the photos do the talking for me. It really was an amazingly beautiful city.

While I was in Florence, I caught up with an American who had moved there from Southern California. She'd been there a few years and it was great to hear about the city from someone who lived there rather than was there on holiday. Mostly it confirmed my opinion that it would be a great place visit, one that I'd like to go back to again someday, and that it would be a cool place to call home.


"A million miles of freedon, a million miles of road, but I still don't know where to start."
The Killers - The Heart of a Girl
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Florence Wandering

Florence was my favorite stop in Italy - I think perhaps because it was compact enough that getting around was easy - but it was also completely full of things I wanted to experience and see. Even with four full days there there as still things I didn't fit in and will have to save for the next trip, and I always want to have a reason to go back to a city I love.

The city was full of amazing architecture, there was something amazing to see at every corner. I think I could have wandered for another week and still found new to see each day. Of course it helped my wanderings to know that I could stop for amazing gelato at every corner, which I did more often than I want to admit.

It rained nearly every day I was there, which made for cold wanderings. I didn't enjoy juggling a camera, my bag and an umbrella every day, but being outside and experiencing this amazing city was completely worth it.

I packed expecting better weather, but also tossed in a few warmer items just in case, which was very lucky because I ended up wearing those same things almost the entire trip - making me doubly glad I was staying in flats with washing machines instead of hotels.


"It's just these simple things keep me holding on."
Amos Lee - Simple Things
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Almost Home

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Almost Home Pin It

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Florentine Gardens

I skipped some of the museums in Florence in favor of the lovely parks and gardens - after months of seeing nothing but the inside of an office, I was craving a little nature.

I was there a bit early for the spring flowers to be out in full bloom, but the fresh air and vitamin D more than made up for the lack of flowers.

The easter holiday meant that Florence was bursting with the seams full of tourists, but I'm guessing because it was chilly, the gardens were much less crowded.


"I'll always remember you wild as they do come."
The Gaslight Anthem - National Anthem
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