Italy

My Campania...

If I were to show you a collection of photos of 'my Vancouver', I imagine it would be very different from 'your Vancouver'. Obviously then, the same holds true for when we travel. This of course, is determined by where we go, what we are drawn to... what sort of traveler we are.

You can tell a lot from people's travel photos. I wonder what you can derive about the way I travel from 'My Campania'...

Let me walk in a vineyard, let me stroll through some ancient streets. Let me nibble a local cheese, sip a homemade wine. Ultimately, I want the path less traveled... it's usually not as convenient, and sometimes you can't find all the necessities, but to me... it's where the magic is!

2010 Travel Favorites

2010 didn't hold as much travel as recent years, however it was enough to satisfy these wandering feet of mine. My trips were quite diverse. Twice I camped on the beach in Baja, waking up to orange sunrises, thousands of sea birds and crashing waves. I lived on fresh fish, tortillas, tapatio and coronas. Everyday I sat on my board, feet dangling below in crystal blue waters, waiting for the next wave. It was heaven.

On the opposite spectrum, I had two trips to Europe, both times visiting Switzerland and Italy. I experienced Venice swimming under a foot of water, which, in its emptiness was eerily mystical. I walked quaint Italian villages bordering the Alps, the streets lined with incredible shops stocked with salamis and cheeses, local fruits and vegetables, the side alleys winding back to vineyards and olive groves. I sat in the Zurich train station, watching hundreds of people walk by, their own world of where and who guiding them through their day. Here it is cobblestones, quaint coffee and chocolate shops, expensive fashion and restaurant tables lining the streets. I drove along country roads through lush green pastures, with only cows, batting their long lashes, necks laden with huge bells, to witness the massive, angular, snow-topped peaks jutting out of the land.

Of my days of travel, some were filled with only the best wines and cheeses and meats. On others I was fulfilled with only the goodness of the sun and the sea. But on each and every day, I never took for granted what a gift it was... what a luxury these experiences were, with loved ones or in solitude.

Lake Como

Half an hour from Milan, Lake Como is an oasis of tranquility with a beautiful combination of lush Mediterranean foliage and snowy, alpine peaks. Lake Como is known for the attractive villas dotting the lake, many with impressive gardens and statues built hundreds of years ago. There are dozens of picturesque lakeside towns to visit, many having lake-side promenades, narrow cobbled streets, flowering balconies and glorious villas. Bellissima!



Chiavenna... A Northern Italy Paradise

The road to Chiavenna through the Swiss Alps would be considered perilous by most, but with the locals passing us on the tight winding corners, I begin to think otherwise. On the Italian side of the Alps, Chiavenna is nestled in the valley below St. Moritz, down a road that zigs more times than it zags. With steeply tiered vineyards and caves to age their cheeses, a river rushes right through the heart of the city, a vibrant glacial blue.

Chiavenna. She took my breath away. I walked her streets in awe. Like a tired child, she was tucked in for a siesta, the narrow cobblestone streets deserted except for the odd man or woman ambling along. Chilled by the cold air, I ducked into the only store I saw open. An older man called out “Bonjourno!” from the back, greeting me with a warm smile. After only a moment, he was ushering me to the grappa, warming my stomach with samples from various local varieties. After tasting some of his homemade cheeses and salamis, he showed me another prized possession: a photo of George Clooney standing beside him outside his shop. Although I speak little to no Italian, it made no difference with this form of communication; a simple smile was all it took to show my appreication and delight at the friendly exchange.

A Seaside Town Called Portofino | Travel

My life has been blessed with frequent travel. It was instilled at a young age and it has played a large role in shaping who I am. I become another person when I am outside my everyday life. I can't absorb the sounds and sights fast enough... the smells and tastes... my god! I am elevated to a new level of excitement and anticipation, yet feel a sense of calm I'm not familiar with in my regular world. I let go of time. I give way to possibility. I embrace the unknown. In these moments, I am truly alive.

I love to return to places special to me, see familiar faces and street corners. I think it's sometimes easier... and safer... to go to those places that you know you love. Why waste a precious holiday going to a place you might not even like? But sometimes, when you open your world to possibility, incredible things happen. I took a chance on a town called Portofino. Okay, admittedly it wasn't a big chance because I saw photos that took my breath away... but it was nothing compared to walking her streets for the first time, turning a corner and coming across a tiny bay filled with fishing boats, the docks lined with restaurants and shops, the buildings painted soft sunset colors. The air was moist and tropical, the ocean bright blue and clear to the bottom. Olive trees, hazelnuts, bamboo and cactus... It was exhilarating to explore and I felt so blessed, knowing that this moment was perfect, and I would never again be able to experience it for the first time. So my advice? Take a step out of your comfort zone and take a chance on the unknown.

A Walk in the Garden

I've got this thing for gardens... and paths. My heart always skips a beat when I see a meandering path, and I have no choice but to follow it. I am so excited to see what lies around the corner, a fountain or fish pond, a fig tree or a valley of ferns. There is beauty in the wild, there is beauty in the manicured... but more than that, there is beauty in the unknown.