Venice

19 09 2009

I visited Italy for the first time in 2007, as part of a whirlwind European tour. It was the first real backpackers trip I had taken since 1998, when I had travelled through Greece for a month. These travels helped me remember how much I love to travel! I promised myself then that I would never wait another 10 years to travel, and so far, it’s worked out.

This is a view of Venice from the airplane window.

Venice

It was interesting to actually visit Venice and Italy, because I think it’s one of those destinations that everyone has a pre-determined idea about. It’s so romanticized in popular culture. You imagine canals singing gondola drivers, and the Masquerade, and some of that is there, but of course, reality is never the same as your imaginings.

This is a pretty iconic image of Venice – the view of the canals from the Rialto Bridge. It looks lovely, doesn’t it? And it is! If you wake up early in the morning and get a picture before the rest of tourists wake up. After that, it’s a foot stepping, elbowing battle to the side of the bridge to get a clear picture. And those gondola rides?? They cost 100 euros and last about 30 minutes. Plus there’s no “O Sole Mio,” singing. The drivers do wear those striped shirts though.

Canals

The best part of Venice wasn’t the great lattes, amazing carbonara pasta, gondola rides, or endless canals. The best part was getting lost in these narrow, winding, cobblestone pathways. Late at night, the streets are deserted and Venice seems to take on a hushed and haunted feeling.

Deserted Streets





Barcelona

28 08 2009

Last night we were looking through pictures of old travels and I was trying to find a few images that would sum up each particular city. It was of course, easy for some cities, and downright impossible for others.

I’ll start with Barcelona, which I visited for a week in July of 2007.

A trip to Barcelona has a lot to offer – great seafood (paella to die for!), modern interior design, a nice beach, and lots of nightlife. This pic was taken on Las Ramblas, late at night, after all the bars had closed and the streets were being washed and cleaned.

Las Ramblas

Let’s face it though, nightlife aside, a trip to Barcelona is really all about modernist architect, Antoni Gaudi. He died in 1926, but before he passed, he created some of the most unique and interesting buildings in history. A walk through the streets of Barcelona can sometimes feel like a trip down Alice’s rabbit hole.

This is a picture of the interior of Gaudi’s iconic Sagrada Familia. It’s still not completed, but well worth a visit.

La Sagrada Familia

This is Gaudi’s Parc Guell. An outdoor wonderland of architecture, art, music, performance and nature.

Park Guell

Next up, Venice!