Friday, June 19, 2009

Travels Around Europe - The Photos

Here's finally a catch-up of photos on my travels for the last month (or so).  Just a warning, this is a long one and my feelings won't be hurt if you just want to just scroll through the pics.  

I left the farm after La Festa di Primavera (The Spring Festival), a big event the farm had to celebrate the reconstructed Mulino (Mill), a historic mill that used to produce the flour for the area.  
Here's some friends enjoying the music after a long weekend of preparation.  
I left the farm and hitched a ride with Paola (she's the one weighting vegis in a couple posts back) to Firenze to meet up with some friends.  

Lexi and Bobby in Italia!  I have two great days with my old friends, showing them around my city before they headed up to Venezia to be all romantic.  Oh, and I'm assuming its public knowledge now (if not it is NOW) but congratulations on the engagement guys!  

I spend the last day in Firenze hitting up all my favorite places and really saying a good farewell.
This is a view of my bridge (Ponte Carraia) from the bridge next to the Ponte Vecchio.   It's the only bridge where you can sit on a ledge of the bridge and look over the water (although not legally).  It was the prefect was to say goodbye. 

That night I caught a train to Pisa and got an interesting scar on the way to the airport.  I'll tell everyone the story soon enough.  From Pisa I flew to Puglia.

The first night, Eugenio (the handsome mug in the red shirt on the right) and his friends made a huge dinner of Cozze (muscles).  If you know me, I'm not much of a seafood eater, but it was delicious.  These are my new friends from the south of Italy that welcomed me to Lecce with open arms and ready bellies.

La Roca, a town next to San Foca where I stayed in Lecce, with a tower built during the Byzantine times to look out for Turkish invaders.  Its amazing that it still stands strong and an incredible feeling to walk around.  Eugenio and I took a swim around this area.  The water was deep and amazing.

Here's Eugenio, or should I saw Pastore Moses, leading the way to the tower.  My week in Puglia was perfect.  Sun, beach, guitar and great memories.  After Puglia I headed to Napoli for a day.  No pics, just because I didn't do much but see some amazing churches.  I then took a 16 hour boat ride to Cagliari, in the south of Sardegna, to catch a three hour train up to Sassari to meet up with my friends from Anidagri.  We headed to La Isola dell'Azinara, a former island prison now a tropical paradise.  

This is the secluded beach me hung out for a while.  The water was an intense blue and a lot of fun swimming around in.  I'm pretty sure I was a sea animal in a past life, because I felt so free and comfortable in the water, realizing how much I missed it.  It was the perfect last beach day.

Christina, who I stayed with in Sardegna, showed my Castlesardo, a really quaint old town on the top of a hill overlooking the sea.  This area is known for their crafts. 

Here's a friendly Sardo making either a bowl or a pot mat like many Sardi have made in the past.  I left the next day for the next stop of my travels...but not before taking a picture of the family.  
Here are some of the nicest people I know. Angelino, Christina, Valentina, Giada, Virgina and Marco in front of a blooming tree at Christina's home.  

Next stop, Prague.  
An amazing view of the city from the castle.  Kind of looks like monopoly huh?  Prague is a beautiful city, fully of history and character.  I think it's one of the coolest places I've been. 

Here's St. Vitus' Cathedral, an uber gothic cathedral full of high towers and gargoyles.  It was really amazing.  The best part though, in my opinion, was inside.

Here is a magnificent stained glass window made by my man, Alfons Mucha.  It is just spectacular.  The coordination of colors and smart placement of figures really proves his genius and ability to work in many mediums.  I was in complete awe of this.  

Another thing I really like about Prague are the colors.  The buildings are painted the most interest colors I've seen, with a bunch of achromatic grays and muted colors.  It really makes wandering around enjoyable.

At noon everyday at the castle, there is the changing of the guards.  It's a big tourist spectacle and mainly for show since there's no monarchy to guard anymore.  But it really is cool to watch and see how synchronized they are.  

On my last day in the Czech Republic I went to Moravsky Krumlov, a very small town near Brno, to see Mucha's greatest work, The Slav Epic.  It is 20 giant paintings of his country's past and his heritage and complete perfection.  It was a very special feeling, standing next to the work he devoted the last 18 years of his life to, seeing his hand and the work he put into it.  Needless to say it completely inspired me.

This is just the view from the train station, and by station I mean one room with a ticket office to go either left or right.  It was probably the most Eastern Europe-y thing I got to see.  

Next on the list, Vienna.  I only stayed in Vienna for a day, but I got to see a lot.  At the end of the first day I went to the giant palace.  Actually, giant isn't a good enough word... let's use monstrous.  This place is enormous.  

What did I say?  Ginormous!  The thing about Vienna is that they not only built enormous buildings, but they surrounded it by a lot of open land, making it feel even more vast.  One can seriously feel miniscule while walking around on the property. 

Here is another huge building.  This one was at the top of steep hill behind a huge pond.  The architecture was an interesting mix of Italian and French.  The palace was really well kept and being there really made me feel like I was living when royalty roamed the grounds.  

My last day in Vienna was mostly spent in the Leopold Museum, discovering great artists that really should be more well known.  It was a great collection.  That evening I caught a night train from Vienna to Venezia, waking up to the sunrise over the alps in Switzerland.  As if I haven't said it enough, it was amazing.  

That's my three weeks in a giant circle.


Casey Newlin said...

beautiful sites. can't wait to see you, baby.

lex said...

i'm so happy you get to see all of that!! soon enough you'll be making your way back to the real world. see ya.

Dennis said...

Safe at last! Glad you're back in the good ole USA. Great pictures which are worth a life times of travel and adventure. Now you can join the rest of us in working for the rest of our lives. Missed you a lot! Love Dad!

celia said...

What a great way to end an amazing trip - "waking up to the sunrise over the alps in Switzerland."

You write well and your pictures are awesome.

Congratulations Lexi and Bobby