Friday, July 25, 2014

Croatia













arriving in dubrovnik on a cruise ship. staying in a cute little apartment in the old town that reminded me of my nanna’s house. the picture above my bed with swans in it. our lovely airBNB host who brought my mum lavender from hvar for her birthday. having a drink at the amazing sunset bar. our waiter at dinner who, when asked why the robotic man in the belltower didn’t ring the bell on the hour replied with, “he’s a croat – he don’t work every day”. getting the cable car to the top of srđ mountain for the view over the old town and the adriatic sea. eating lunch wrapped in blankets provided by the restaurant at the top of the mountain. getting the bus to lapad to escape the tourists for a bit. walking the city wall in dubrovnik and the beautiful views of the whole old town and the sea.

driving from dubrovnik to makarska and stopping at roadside stands and buying mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables and lavender honey and getting back in the car to hear the national playing. stopping for tea in bosnia on the way because part of the land belongs to them and not croatia. getting the ferry to brac and arriving at my godparent's beautiful house (villa rosmarine) which quickly filled up with friends. cooking from scratch every night. baked potato chips with rosemary from the garden. roasted peaches with lavender honey and cinnamon we bought at the spice markets in turkey. whole watermelons, cherries, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries. fresh bread every morning. my mum’s fruitcake, brought all the way from home. vanilla tea. the house manager milka and her mother’s homemade cakes and apple strudel. hydrangeas everywhere. diving from the platform in the backyard straight into the clear, glittering ocean. swimming with goggles and watching the fish. kayaking with my dad in the bay. swinging in the hammock with the smell of pine trees carried in the afternoon breeze.

cutting through the water in my godparent’s boat on my godfather’s birthday with teenage kicks playing on the radio. having a drink at a brigitte bardot themed cafe in hvar that was playing louis armstrong. the incredible palmizana and having a virgin strawberry mojito at a bar with seats up in the trees and lunch at toto’s for my godfather’s birthday, including the best bruschetta i’ve ever eaten. water tubing and taking the boat to a tiny little bay and jumping off the cliffs. my godfather sneaking all the kids out for ice cream on my last night.


















the sunset bar, dubrovnik, through the city wall and overlooking the adriatic









the view from the ferry leaving makarska and heading to brac




from villa rosemarine






hvar




palmizana





Sunday, July 13, 2014

Italy

the basilica di santa maria del fiore, or florence cathedral





after istanbul i spent about 10 days driving through italy with my parents. we flew to rome and drove straight to a little town called impruneta outside of florence and from there we spent time in lucca, modena, lake garda, verona and venice as well as several places along the way. here are my photos and memories.

driving all over the italian countryside with sunlight streaming through the clouds, past crumbling farmhouses, huge tree covered hills, shallow streams flowing over white pebbles, wineries with rows and rows of grapes, tiny mountain towns and big cities full of sherbert-coloured houses. neon yellow egg yolks and the best tomatoes in the world. gelato every day (sometimes twice). beautiful vine covered buildings and flower filled balconies.

florence: the best pizza i had in the whole of italy from i tre pini in impruneta on our first night. the winery we stayed at in the hills of tuscany which had a hedgehog as its emblem. stopping on our way into florence at an outlook with a view of the whole city. florence cathedral and pont vecchio.

lucca: delicious fudge and truffles from cioccolato cavalsani and ice cream from essenza del gusto. climbing the rickety 207 stairs of the clock tower for a view of the city. walking into a church just as a choir started practising. driving to forte di marmi for brunch and buying silk scarves with flowers and cats on them.

modena: my favorite gelato from anywhere we visited was from a little place called paradice. our waiter at dinner who spent six months of every year in south africa and who liked us because we were from the same hemisphere.

the view from lucca clocktower



lake garda: getting lost on the way there and having to get on and off the autostrada three times. eating cherries on our balcony overlooking the lake. a simple but delicious dinner at hotel ristorante miralago with a lovely man who served us four plates of extra vegetables at no charge. wandering up to moniga castle in the unusually long dusk with a big moon overhead. finding a little bar with a beautiful view over the lake that played the same CD on repeat and served chips and bread and cheese for free with your drinks. catching the ferry to the magical town of sirmione and wandering around the castle with white swans in the moat that opens to the lake. making friends with a bug-eyed chihuahua named benny. gigantic ice cream cones dipped in chocolate and sprinkles and nuts. coming across the tiniest pebbled beach with swans walking on the shore and ducks and fish swimming two steps into the water. catching the ferry back to moniga and swimming in our pool in the late afternoon.










verona: visiting juliet's balcony at the casa di capulet. lavender crème brûlée for lunch dessert. the arena di verona which is older than the colosseum.

casa di giulietta, or juliet's balcony




venice: buying fresh eggs and fruit and vegetables from the markets near the rialto bridge. piazza san marco and the basilica. a gondola ride through the canals. exploring the other, less tourist-filled side of the rialto. eating gelato in a cone-cup from gelatoteca suso. buying pretty white embroidered linen shirts. eating dinner at a flowery restaurant on the grand canal on our last night.
the view from the rialto bridge