Boxy haystacks? I’m in! Taken in Tuscany, also known to me as a countryside lover’s paradise. The best there is. I truly can’t wait to get to all my other Tuscany shots. Just trying to spread the love a little bit at a time. :) This is newly listed at the shop! Hope everyone had a nice weekend – boy was it HOT.
We are back!!! We got home on Saturday night! It is so nice to be home. The trip was absolutely amazing and I feel so elated and inspired because you know, travel does that to you. Traveling is truly the best and is always going to be the first thing I’d spend all my hard earned money on. Here’s a quick recap of our journey and our itinerary that can also serve as some handy Europe travel tips!
We started in BEAUTIFUL Iceland, travelling the southern part of the country. We stayed in Reykjavik for a day, then drove all the way West for a day, and then drove all the way East for two days. In total, we drove nearly 2,500 km in 4 days’ time. When we set foot in Iceland, we immediately felt like we were on a different planet. Nevermind a different country. It was truly like a different planet. Mother nature at its finest. It’s so FULL of the natural world that you feel small, vulnerable, and insignificant. The further we drove, the more desolate it became, and the more hauntingly beautiful it became. And often times, we couldn’t help but feel uneasy about the majestic things that surrounded us, feeling as if they could swallow us up at any time. The scenery was never the same. One minute we were looking at wild Icelandic horses, the next we were looking at mossy lava rocks, and then next, glaciers, and then next, gigantic sand mountains, and then next, black sand beaches, and then sometimes, we simply didn’t even know what we were looking at! It was simply breathtaking. It’s so breathtaking that we are already planning our second visit to Iceland next year to travel the northern part. Besides some Europe travel tips, we have so many photographs to turn into prints and can’t wait to share them!
We then flew from Iceland to Italy. We started in Florence. This was my second time in Florence but I swear, it was even more beautiful the second time around. We then picked up our car and headed to Tuscany, swinging by Siena, a beautiful town completely stuck in the medieval times. Just gorgeous. But Tuscany, specifically the Val D’Orcia, is by far the most beautiful part of the Tuscan region. If you ever visit Tuscany, this is really the only place you should consider staying because it is just jaw-dropping. Words cannot describe these Tuscan landscapes. It is the best countryside of all countrysides. No other countryside will ever satisfy nor impress me. This is the real deal. The most perfect, colourful rolling hills and houses on hills as if someone had taken a children’s storybook and made it come to life. Most of the time, I just couldn’t believe my eyes and we literally stopped the car every two seconds to soak in the view and take pictures. Every turn was a storybook view. I loved Tuscany with my heart and soul and between it and Iceland, I don’t quite know which one I loved more. We stayed in Pienza and it was just the most gorgeous little town.
After Tuscany, we took the train to the Cinque Terre. Another beautiful place in Italy. We were home based in the beach town, Monterosso, but we spent a lot of time in Manarola and Vernazza. Between these three, Manarola was probably my favourite, although they were all fantastic. It was nice to spend some time by the water. :)
After the Cinque Terre, we took the train to France and stayed a night in Nice! In Nice, I was mostly suffering from a mild case of food poisoning that I had caught on my last night in the Cinque Terre :(. So, I was unfortunately ill for the better part of the day, although still managed to drag my butt to the beach later on. :) Nice’s beaches are known to be rocky, which has its pros and cons – they keep you relatively clean and not sandy but they hurt your feet. :P Nice was beautiful and I wish I had been healthy enough to enjoy it to the fullest. But alas, mishaps happen and we must move on! We picked up our car and drove to Arles! Arles was just the cutest, sweetest, oldest town I have ever seen. We stayed in Arles mostly so that we could join a photography group at the Camargue in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mare to photograph their famous ancient-breed white horses. We photographed these horses galloping about in a desolate beach at sunrise and then in a marsh at sunset. It was one of the most surreal and beautiful experiences.
We then drove around Provence to hunt for lavender fields – one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. They were in full bloom, which fulfilled a large part of my hopes and dreams for this trip. The shade of lavender was deep and its size endless and far beyond the eyes could see. It. was. gorgeous. I was then stung by a bee while frolicing through these fields. It was my first bee sting ever and it hurt more than I ever imagined (so much so, I had tears) but it was worth it for the love of lavenders. We then drove to another gem in Southern France, Cassis, a little beach town with GORGEOUS green waters. We toured the beautiful, majestic Calanques and absolutely loved this place. We LOVED southern France altogether; people were just so polite and kind and it makes all the difference in the world.
Finally, we head off by train to the city of love, PARIS. Like Florence, this was my second time in Paris but it was a million times more beautiful the second time around. I experienced the city entirely differently and I must say, I’m now in love with it much like the rest of the world. It’s just so grand and so perfect in every way. We stopped by Lauduree a few times of course to get those classic, delicious macarons. :)
Hmmm, so much for a “quick” recap! :P Aside from our Europe travel tips, we also have SO MANY new and beautiful prints coming up, so please check back OFTEN! I had no idea where to even begin this morning, so I picked a famous Tuscan scene from the pile to share with you today. :) TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE. Back again soon!
Quick post! Going to squeeze in a movie before bed.
I’ve finished Seasons 1 and 2 of Homeland. It’s a sad day.
It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing. I mean, Picasso had a saying, he said, ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas. And I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians, who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.” –Steve Jobs
And my mouth is watering, so this is a quick post before chow-time. By the way, HOMELAND is the new Breaking Bad. Please, please, give it a try!! It’s brilliant. Not quite as brilliant as Dexter but still brilliant.
I love Mumford and Sons.
Chris and I spotted this lonely barn house during our countryside drive yesterday afternoon and I was wearing high heels and could not hike through all the snow to take a good photo. So he did it on my behalf. With a little bit of direction, he snapped away so credit goes to my love. :)
Happy October! Happy Org changes. And happy Opportunities.
I almost forgot that I had giant Bose headphones that I bought a few years ago. They’ve been collecting dust for some time and I’ve just brought them back out over the weekend. Today, I studied with exhilarating tunes blasting in my ears. With headphones like these, you drown helplessly into an ocean of melody and are transported into another universe. I can study for hours and hours like this.
The shot below is an alternative perspective of the same abandoned house from yesterday’s post.
My friend James and I went hunting for abandoned houses this afternoon. Here’s a wicked one.
If you’ve ever stepped onto abandoned property, you’d know that you get this uneasy feeling. Fear is probably the best way to describe it but it’s interesting to note the difference in what drives that fear in you. For James, it was the legal side of things and the way we’ve broken the law by trespassing onto property that clearly says ‘No Trespassing’ and may therefore get caught and charged. Or worse yet, get caught by some Texas Chainsaw Massacre guy and harmed along the way. I on the other hand, don’t even think twice about things of that nature, which in hindsight are quite realistic fears. I am instead rather scared of supernatural happenings like a ghostly shadow behind the trees, the sound of a weeping child, or a zombie (much like the ones from The Walking Dead) limping out of the barn house.
Black and white cows are cute. They were standing in perfect formation like this as if they knew I was coming to photograph them and put them up on Etsy to become Celebrity Cows. I love the countryside. It’s so beautiful.