It is always exciting to see famous landmarks when I’m traveling. But I also like to notice other things in addition to the places I either read about or saw pictures of in books and magazines. The more I travel the more I remember details of a place such as doors, signs, some flowers or even a simple bench. As I walked around Milan I saw so many details and they have become part of the experience of being there. When I look at these pictures I know that although they are less recognizable they are just as meaningful as I look back at my time in Milan. Here are some examples of what I mean.
Along a path
Door from a castle
Reflections in a sign
A simple bench
This looked like a fun way to get around in Milan, and there was even a bicycle traffic light.
When I was in Italy in May one of my favorite experiences was taking a train from La Spezia to see the villages of the Cinque Terre. The first stop was the village of Riomaggiore. It had been raining when I boarded the train in La Spezia but as the train pulled into the station at Riomaggiore the storm had ended and the clouds were transitioning to blue sky. It was late morning and an ideal time for a walk, although it was challenging because the sidewalks were so steep.
Many levels of buildings
Follow this sign!
A door to…
While walking I couldn’t decide whether to look at the buildings, some with laundry hanging from terraces, or do a little souvenir shopping. Another thought was to look for a gelato shop and keep walking. Since they were such interesting possibilities I decided to do all of them!
A little shopping
Non-gelato food choices
Lemon scented soap
Although this chair looked inviting for a little rest, I had a train schedule to follow to get to the other villages so eventually I had to walk back to the station to catch a train to Manarola, another village in the Cinque Terre. I’ll tell you about that soon.
The morning of July 4 I drove to Washington D.C. to see the fireworks. I arrived around noon and my first stop was the Library of Congress for a walking tour. I admired the impressive walls, floors and ceilings.
Stained glass window
Look up and see this…
Next I walked to the Botanic Garden for a visit. The outdoor gardens were in full bloom and there were a number of displays inside. There was a thunderstorm late in the afternoon and it rained for more than an hour. I started to wonder if the rain would affect the evening’s fireworks, but when I checked the weather map on my phone I saw that after the storm went through there wouldn’t be any more rain.
Flowers in bloom
After the Botanic Garden closed for the day the next stop was the Air and Space Museum. There were a lot of people walking around and probably waiting for the weather to improve. Later when the museum closed it was time to look for a place to sit somewhere on the Mall for a good view of the fireworks. The evening went slowly…7:30…7:45…8:34. Then suddenly it was dark and the program began! There was lots of cheering for the impressive display of fireworks. While it was happening I didn’t want to miss anything but I managed to get this picture.
When it was over there was applause and cheering, and now I have these souvenir pictures along with my happy memories of July 4.
A drive to the mountains near where I live seemed like a good adventure over the weekend. After an hour of driving I started to see hills that soon turned into mountains. When I got off the highway there was an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The morning was getting more and more interesting! I decided to drive on it for a while and every couple of miles there was a lookout point. I stopped, got out of the car and took a good look at the mountains. It became breezy as the road ascended and I needed to wear a sweater as I looked out to see these panoramic views.
From a lookout spot
Since I also enjoy flowers I thought that these wildflowers were a charming part of the landscape. The events of this day produced some wonderful memories.
Over the past three years I’ve written so much about gelato that I had to check my previous posts to make sure I was using an original title! Gelato is a treat I look forward to when I go to Italy and I found a new flavor in Parma called Parmigianino that was light and fluffy. When I get gelato I usually choose two flavors so I can sample something different as well as picking one of my favorites. It is fun to walk and enjoy the scenery with a refreshing gelato. I’m not the only one who does that either – I saw lots of people walking with their gelato cones and cups!
I decided to continue with this theme so here are some of the signs I saw as well as actual gelato. These pictures make me want to go back to Italy as soon as possible.
Try new flavors
Must stop here
A welcome sign
Gelato in Como
Wherever I went in Italy I saw flowers. There were flowers on terraces, flowers in wall planters, on sidewalks and in gardens. When I looked up I could see flower boxes full of red and pink geraniums as well as petunias. The colors were so cheerful that they transformed many terraces into bright and eye-catching spaces. It was exciting to see so many flowers in bloom and one garden I visited in Milan was full of people having their pictures taken among the flowers.
Colorful terrace flowers
Spring is a perfect time to see the new flowers and simply enjoy their fresh beauty.
I decided to take a ferry on Lake Como to get a different view of the area. After boarding I found a seat under a canopy so I could be in the shade. My plan was to take lots of pictures while enjoying the view. There were several stops along the way, but I stayed on the ferry and ended up back in Como.
Admiring this scene
A stop along the way
Although it was crowded the ferry was quiet except for the sound of the motor. The scenery kept changing and I could see both sides of the lake. When the ferry made stops along the way people got off and new people came on board. Most everyone was taking pictures in my section, especially when there was an outstanding view. It was an ideal introduction to Lake Como.
I’m back from Italy and after unpacking and adjusting (again) to the change in time zones I’ve uploaded my pictures to the computer. I haven’t reviewed all of them yet but I took over 1700! For now I thought some pictures of Portofino might be a good place to start.
During the morning it was both windy and rainy and the ferry service to Portofino was called off. However, there was a shuttle bus from Santa Margherita Ligure and I decided to take that instead. Later that morning the weather improved dramatically and it ended up being a beautiful day. By the way, the bus was full of people with backpacks and it was a challenge staying upright as the bus went around all the curves in the road. I was happy when we arrived and these were my first impressions of Portofino.
Where does this go?
A perfect day…
Look up for this view
It was a perfect time to take a walk, buy a gelato, and then find a bench to simply admire the scenery. Sometimes I wish days like this didn’t have to end.
After spending a weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I can still remember the first view of the ocean and hearing the sound of the waves. Add a bright blue sky and a light breeze and it was just about perfect. As I walked toward the beach I saw seagulls, sand dunes and people walking their dogs. This was a great start to the weekend.
First view of the beach
Blue sky, blue water
There’s always a seagull
Time for a walk
But on Saturday the weather changed and it was gray and rainy most of the day. I didn’t mind because it gave the beach a dreamy appearance. I decided to spend time looking for seashells as souvenirs. I also went to a nearby public sculpture garden to see some beautiful flowers and scenery.
Rain is on the way
Seashells on the beach
Cloudy day at the beach
Late Saturday afternoon the rain stopped and it was time to enjoy another view of the sand, water and the sky.
This was a weekend of interesting contrasts.
When I was in Washington, D.C. a few months ago the Dome of the Capitol building was under renovation. There was a lot of scaffolding so I only took a few pictures. However when I saw this scene in the Reflecting Pool I thought it was much more interesting! Here is how it looked from the water.
For more on this theme look here.