A Trip To Italy – Part II

Ciao! Welcome back to part two of my favorite Italian adventures!

In part one our last place of residence was Positano, so now after a short drive of just under an hour we found ourselves at the next destination – Sorrento.

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SORRENTO

Equally as beautiful as Positano but scenically different, Sorrento still captured that Amalfi Coast magic.  It’s quite ironic really that after my post of June 18th, ‘To Do This Summer: Conquer My Fear of Water’, it appeared that that was the gift that Sorrento gave me.  2015-08-14 13.06.21With a gorgeous cove cordoned off from the sea, it served as a natural salt water pool.  I certainly had reservations about swimming, but I figured the beau would save me if anything happened (!) and I subsequently and quite literally took the plunge.  Surrounded by boulders, the water was a stunning aqua green and clear to the eye.  Despite that, looking the 6ft plus into the water wasn’t something I was eager to do.  Once in, I turned into a water baby.  2015-08-14 16.23.00I happily tread water, swam, floated and generally basked in the delicious hot sunshine.   In that moment, I possessed a confidence that I felt in water that has never been present before.  That feeling was nothing.  It was nothing because what had disappeared was fear.

TUSCANY

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Now I could write for hours about this one.  Aside from the fact that we met up with my bestie and her fiancé, which was epic in its own right, it had to be our breakfast routine.  You can ask any of my immediate family members and they’ll tell you that most of the childhood memories I have are somehow associated with food, so it’s hardly surprising that I had an obsession with the continental breakfasts in Italy!

The utter bliss of this section of the trip was walking out on to our terrace and sitting down at the table for breakfast.  Interspersed with chatting and eating, every now and again I would find that I’d completely stopped chewing having been wholly consumed at the picturesque view I found myself simply just staring at.

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I’d pick cherry tomatoes off the vine, bring cheeses, meats, bread and crackers; fruit, juices, coffee and tea, it really was a veritable feast.

PISA

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Now, interestingly enough, there really isn’t much in Pisa.  It’s a very run-of-the-mill suburban town, quite2015-08-17 12.24.20 grimy too.  As we trundled off to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I was surprised to find there was a Duomo di Pisa and the Pisa Baptistery alongside it.  Just shows you I didn’t do my research before I left!  Disappointingly, the Leaning Tower was somewhat underwhelming to see; however, the Duomo di Pisa was spectacular.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go in as we were traveling to Florence but I did take a sneaky picture and it looked truly breathtaking inside.

FLORENCE

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Oh Florence, how I could have happily moved in with you! Definitely my number one place out of the whole trip, no questions asked.  It’s practically impossible to choose one thing but if my life was at stake it would have to be the Palazzo Pitti or Pitti Palace in English.

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Inside were the most amazing royal apartments.  I LOVE looking at furniture and apartments; stately homes; palaces or other such structures which hold a ridiculous amount of history but stand very similarly to that as they did so many years ago.  It must originate from walking around museums as a child which I didn’t appreciate enough then, but now, now I can wander for hours looking at furniture trying to grasp the reality of what is in front of me.

2015-08-19 13.58.41This palace housed the Medici family in the 1500’s and then was also used as a main abode for Napoleon amongst others.  You’ll see his personal bath to the right.

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I was also very taken with Ponte Vecchio at sunset.  That was really special, walking across as we made our way to dinner on our last night.

So there you have it, aside from our drive back to Rome which was next, that was our holiday, a holiday that we were so fortunate to have experienced.  It really was the holiday of a lifetime!

Can You Say No?

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If traveling has taught me one thing, it’s that you carve your life out to be as exciting, rewarding or as satisfying as you wish.

We have to undertake the fundamentals of life, but what’s left after that? Our spare time is precious and should be spent doing things we enjoy; however, many of us find ourselves surrounded by people whose company we don’t cherish or we take part in activities where we find ourselves wishing we were elsewhere.

I have always found saying ‘no’ one of the hardest words to utter as I don’t want to let people down or to have them think less of me.  Is it worthwhile to forgo joy because of fearing others’ reactions? It is certainly a good test of figuring out who your friends are when you are true to yourself.

If you’re a no-phobe like me, take some time this weekend and choose one thing to say no to that you would normally bi-pass.  Discover your life – it’s a liberating feeling once you start!

A Trip To Italy – Part I

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There is nothing quite like returning home after a vacation.  Even though it was the vacation of a lifetime, I still gave a little squeal in the car as I saw the Seattle skyline.  The thought of my own bed and ‘el elefante’, the affectionate name for our couch which looks like an elephant and as I’m learning Spanish has transferred to that language, created a lovely warm feeling within.

Now the overflowing piles of laundry are done and we’re settling back to Seattle life, sorting out the pictures, (a number one priority of course!) has made me reminisce and perhaps more so made me contemplate the question my beau asked on the drive back to Rome which was, “What were my favorite activities in each place we went to?”

Here they are in order of our arrival.

ROME

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In a city overflowing with history, my favorite was the Roman Forum.  It was at the end of the day that we wandered through having seen the Colosseum earlier  and then the House of Augustus.  Our legs ached after clocking up about twelve miles, but we were not willing to give up and go back to hotel before we’d seen them!  2015-08-09 16.19.04There were remnants of pillars, shop fronts, houses, temples and churches.  As it was our first historic site that we had visited, I really did (and continue to) struggle to get my head around the fact that I was walking around and looking at structures and a city that people living in 70ish AD had lived, worked and walked in.  It was almost beyond comprehension.   As I stepped in amongst the ruins there was a very strange sensation of being caught in between the past and present because the history spilled into the present in greater volume.  A wonderfully overwhelming beginning to the vacation!

NAPLES

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Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius.  These were my ‘must do’s’ and are now on my list of top ten most incredible accomplishments. Granted I can only choose one, so in this case I choose Vesuvius.

After a forty minute coach ride, putting both the Italian driving abilities and the strength of my nerves to the test, it was about a fifteen to twenty minute steep hike to the summit.  Had it been possible, I would have skipped up there in my excitement, but as it was, it made me realize how despite going to the gym, all that work didn’t feel like it had touched the sides!

2015-08-12 15.38.47That moment of reaching the top and peering over the side to look in was a feeling like no other.  I felt so small.  There I was looking inside this enormous sleepy volcano which could potentially erupt at any given moment; it was really quite special to be privy to such an aspect of Mother Nature – in that moment I felt completely at her mercy.  I must admit though, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disappointed at not seeing lots of orange lava steaming  and bubbling away at the bottom!  However, what was noticeable was the heat rising. I’d walk through a patch every now and again, so it was certainly clear that there were ‘things’ happening under the surface.

POSITANO

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Ahhh Positano, this was the second favorite location out of the whole trip for both my beau and I.  The scenery was absolutely exquisite; I could not and have not found words to express its beauty.

2015-08-13 13.45.32After a long drive from Napoli and having skipped breakfast, we arrived hungry and ready to eat.  Our hotel was much nicer than it had appeared when booking and the terrace gave us a first class view of the coast.  This was my favorite moment.  I looked out at what seemed like a painting.  With a glass of Prosecco in one hand, I ate spaghetti littered with fresh olives, capers and tuna with the other, and as I sat there chewing, I literally couldn’t take my eyes from the view for fear that it would disappear because it may wasn’t real.  It is said that Roman nobility would vacation on the Amalfi Coast and now I understand why, it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

So, that covers the first half of the trip, my favorite moments. It was extremely difficult to pin point a number one.  I’m sure you may have thought some of mine simple, but I continuously found myself in awe of my surroundings; I didn’t have to actually be doing anything to be deeply moved by the moment I was in – shows I’m easily pleased!

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

Beautiful Words: Caim

Caim

Another beautiful word which is of Celtic origin.

I will be returning in a few days from Italy, hence why I’m a little behind on posting, so business will resume as usual.  It’s been an incredible vacation and I’m excited to start writing about it and sharing.  It was good thinking on my part to take a journal with me, despite not posting as regularly I have been writing everyday so as not to forget any detail which can often happen when there are so many wonderful things to see, hear, taste, visit etc. That was unusually organized on my part!

A San Diego Wedding Weekend

I am officially now off the lamotrigine and pleased to report things have really settled down – thank goodness!  I have regained the sense of being present in my body, a major relief and as for the seizures it’s a ‘flying by the seat of pants’ kind of situation but, so far so good; this bodes well for the traveling stint we have approaching.

tumblr_nl6ag0ZiMR1u3m1tuo1_500 This weekend it is San Diego which beckons, for the wedding of some very good friends of ours.  It’s my first time traveling down the West Coast, I’m eager to explore yet another new part of the world and see what it beholds.  So yes, it’s that time again, time to hop, skip and jump to the storage cupboard which is overflowing with suitcases.  It appears they’ve been busy reproducing in my absence as I’m sure there’s more choice each time I look in.  Next will be the wardrobe rummage requirement.  This entails plucking out the thinnest clothes I own in order to survive the sweltering temperatures.  Although, on reflection, it shouldn’t be an issue because after all, it’s only going to be mid 90’s/30’s – that’s a mere Spring day in comparison to my destinations in the last month or so!

I’m ready to embrace the onslaught of laundry, packing and preening in preparation for what will be the beginning of a super vacation.  Plus, excitingly, I finally bought a new phone which has the novel predictability of working as it should; the camera is top notch so I shall be playing Davina Bailey (the female version of David for those unfamiliar with the original photographer).  I think perhaps the aspect that I find most entertaining is the fact when I say, “Smile”, it immediately takes a selfie!  I’m reveling in a completely unnecessary feature of what a basic camera should have.  However, for many, these features could well be old news but I can tell you it’s provided a ridiculous amount of entertainment for me and I have taken (and deleted!) more pictures of myself over the last day or two than I think I ever have!

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So here’s to a lot of creative experimental photography this weekend.  It’s an exciting prospect, as it reminds me of my purple photography exhibit for epilepsy back in November/December, and who knows, it could be the basis for another fundraising project!  Exciting stuff!