Today’s photo roundup is brought to you by the amazing hill towns of Central Italy. This region is remarkable for its rich history, agricultural output (and resulting food and wine), natural beauty, and wealth of things to see and do. We only had a couple of days, but managed to take in a lot. Due to the Â scorching summer heat (temperatures have remained in the 35-40 degrees celsius range), we found ourselves traveling from lake to lake in our rented Westfalia van. You really do need a vehicle to get around this part of the country, and even with one, it takes a long time to drive the windy roads and often steepÂ hills between towns. Built in strategically defensible positions, there are hundredsÂ of hill towns in this part of Italy, each offering unique views, sites and local specialties. Lake Bolsena and Bolsena town (Laggo di Bolsena) Civita di Bagnoregio Orvieto…Continue Reading
From Gargana, we decided to drive across Italy and then up the Mediterranean side of the peninsulaÂ toward the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. Along the way, we ended up spending the night in the shadow of Monte Cassino, home of a famous 6th century Abbey, as well as the scene of a ferocious and hard-fought battle in the Second World War. Unfortunately, the Abby was destroyed by allied bombs during the war, under the mistaken belief that the Germans were using it for artillery spotting. It was rebuilt after the war. We hadn’t planned to stay in Cassino, but I’m glad we were able to pass through. Although we didn’t visit the Abbey itself, we had a good night in the camper van with some pasta dinner and a documentary about the WWII battle that we streamed over the campground‘s wifi. In the morning, we visited the Commonwealth War…Continue Reading
Currently Chris and I are in a hotel room in DiyarbakirÂ in eastern Turkey. I thought I could post a bunch of random photos for you guys to enjoy. They cover all sorts of different things and times during our trip, including our Sahara trek, Italy, Morocco and Turkey. We plan on heading into Iran in three days and apparently Internet is very hard to come by, so I’ll try to get a few posts ready to be published automatically throughout the next week. I promise we will try our best to let you know how it’s going and our where abouts in Iran. I know how nervous some of you are about us going there, and how jealous the rest of you are. Ha, ha. Anyways, for now, enjoy these photos. Ciao! -Laura-
Iâ€™m telling the truth when I say Iâ€™m leaving Italy with some â€œpasta babiesâ€ located on the thighs, hips, love handles and even one clinging around my mid-section. Iâ€™m relying on the heat and walking in Morocco to abort all the â€œpasta babiesâ€. I first started growing my pasta babies during our month visit in Lanciano which meant eating at a buffet for 99% of the meals, and I think we all know what buffet eating leads too. My pasta baby situation only got worse when Chris and I headed to northern Italy to visit my dear friend Christine who is currently studying abroad. Her university program has her living in three different countries this year: Â France, Italy and Spain. We were lucky enough to catch her in Piacenza, Italy. I met Christine 10 years ago, in Lanciano Italy, on my first day of Grade 10. We were sitting next…Continue Reading
We helped Christine make this video today. We made it so she could send some much needed lovin’ to her boyfriend Mike. Christine is studying oenology (wine!) in the Mediterranean part of Europe, and is currently in Piacenza, Italy, where we are visiting her. Mike is doing a masters in econ in Toulouse, France, and is far from here. I â™¥ U, too, by the way.
Wow! Who knew turning 30 would be such a blast. I just want to say thanks to everyone for the kind wishes (especially Laura for arranging so many neat surprises). We had another party last night here at Christine’s place in Piacenza. It was a funeral theme, and all of Christine’s international school friends came dressed in black. They also all sang happy birthday in their native tongues which included French, Russian, Spanish, Afrikaans, Xosha (which I just learned is a South African language). It was really fun meeting them. Thanks Christine. Jon and Cam, thanks for the books. They’re perfect choices and I haven’t read either of them already. Although I’ll probably trade them for other books after I read them (the joys of traveling light). That was super thoughtful. Erin, thanks for the card. It does get better and better. We miss you too. Kate (and crew): thank…Continue Reading
I know I can speak for Laura as well when I say that we found it difficult to leave Lanciano. As I write this, we’re speeding north in a cozy train compartment toward Piacenza, Italy to see our friend Christine. Laura is napping on the seats across from me, lines of sunlight and shadow moving lazily across her face as the train rounds a bend. The view is a blur of green, with olive groves, wineries, and distinctly Italian villas giving way periodically to sleepy towns of squat, graffiti-clad concrete buildings and ancient looking stone houses. Across the aisle I see nothing but blue sky and the slowly lapping waves of the Adriatic Sea. I know I should be excited to be back on the road, but I can’t help but feel like we’re leaving something behind that’s not easily found. Or replaced. Cris met us this morning at the…Continue Reading
Laura and I have been having a wonderful time here in Lanciano, thanks entirely to our hosts, the D’Alessandro family. The family runs the Canadian College of Italy here in Lanciano, and life around town with them is non-stop. I call the old part of town the D’Alessandro Campus, as guests, students and staff are constantly bouncing between the school, the Allegria (for meals), their dorms, and the family-owned market. Luckily they’ve been finding lots for Laura and I to help with, and we’ve been only too happy to do so. Things have quieted down in the last 24 hours or so, as Davide flew back to Canada, and Carla and Mrs. D are off to a conference for the next week, but I’ve felt very lucky to have finally met the whole clan while they were all here.Â Not only do I owe this amazing family a huge thank you…Continue Reading
I hope everyone had a lovely Easter. Â Here in Lanciano, Easter is a pretty big deal withÂ parades and marching bands going around the town nearly everyday since last Thursday. Chris captured some amazing shots of the Easter parade this past Thursday. We’ve been relaxing in Lanciano with my good friend Cristina (who I call “Cris) Â and her family. I met Cris when she was 13-years old and I was 16-years old. We hit it off from the very beginning. Some of you might recognize her because she was one of my bridesmaids. Â Her family runs the high school here, called Canadian College of Italy the Renaissance School, where I attended grade 10, 11 and half of 12. Here are a couple photos of this beautiful Italian town and the people I love. The bell tower rings every 15-minutes. First it rings one tone of bell for what hour it is,…Continue Reading
Easter is of course huge for Italy’s Catholic population. In Lanciano, where we have been staying for the past week or so, Easter is a week long affair filled with socializing, shared meals, picnics, and religious processions through the streets, replete with religious artifacts, costumes and marching bands. On Thursday night before the Easter weekend, the Churches open their doors to display “Sepulchre,” or artistic displays of Christ coming off the cross. Thursday night also kicked off a weekend of processions with a hooded march through the old districts of the city. The mood was sombre, if not a little eery, with a marching band droning in a minor key. These shots were from that night. The interior shots were from a particularly well-done Sepulchre, and the rest are of the hooded procession.
I hate when people ask me if I’m a photographer. Sometimes it’s the gear that prompts this. They see the expensive looking camera, or maybe pick up my kit for a moment and are taken aback by how heavy it is. “Whoa! You must be a photographer.” MaybeÂ it’s the final shots that have them whoa-ing, but the gear still takes centre-stage: “You’re camera takes great pictures!” But no, the reason I hate when people ask me if I’m a photographer is because I’m not sure what to say. On the one hand, I most certainly am. I’ve shot weddings, portraiture, and used my photography as the foundation of several paid graphic design projects. I’ve been paid money to shoot. Simple. But on the other hand, I feel like I’m not really a photographer at all. To date, photography has only been a small part of what I do, and after…Continue Reading