Monday, February 22, 2010

Italia: Castelfranco di Sopra, Siena, and Firenze

Ok, so if you think it's bad that I only took a few photos in Amsterdam, you are going to be disappointed with the results in these three beautiful cities. Castelfranco di Sopra was not exactly the village I was staying in while I was in Toscana but it was pretty darn close. I have to say that the countryside in Italy was absolutely relaxing and the village of Castelfranco di Sopra was exactly was I always imagined a tiny Italian village to be like. Thank you to my friend Andrea, who allowed me to stay at his vacation rental there. I loved exploring this provincial landscape and it was a great opportunity for me to speak Italian because no one in this village knew how to speak English (at least who I spoke to). 

Lucky for me, Andrea was my tour guide in Siena and Firenze. In Siena, I learned a little about its history and the famous horse races that take place each summer. When we got there it was night time and I didn't have a tripod :( but I still think you can see the beauty of the architecture of Piazza del Campo. In Firenze (Florence to us in the English speaking world), I visited the Uffizi which has some the most famous Italian Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque pieces. I got to see my favorite paintings, Primavera and The Birth of Venus, from my favorite Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli. I also visited Galleria dell'Accademia where I finally saw the real statue of David by Michelangelo. Yes, Firenze is filled with art! I finally got to see all those infamous works of art that I have learned about in my art history courses.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see everything I wanted to see but I figure it's ok because something tells me that it will certainly not be the last time I am in Toscana. I hope you enjoy the few photos I have of this beautiful region.

I love these random religious figurines located along the road.

An old abandoned elementary school building

Piazza del Campo



I thought this was so cute and I had to photograph it. It says, "Genio, I really hope that one day I can show you this dedication...and we can laugh about it...together."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Oh bad, bad, bad Mariana! I did not take as many photos as I wanted to...I want to list my excuses here but there really are none. My problem in Europe is that it was my first time there and though the natural tourist wants to snap every possible photo they can take, as a photographer naturally I am first an observer. How can I take it all in if I am behind my camera? There is so much to see and do, there was no possible way I could capture it all on lens.
Amsterdam was beautiful but super cold! I don't think this California girl was quite prepared for a winter wonderland like this especially being in warm tropical Nicaragua only three days prior.
I saw many interesting things, such as the infamous Red Light District which I found to be fun and curious being that you can't see anything 'round these parts. There is also a lot of art in Amsterdam. I visited many museums, including the Van Gogh Museum, The Anne Frank House, and Rijksmuseum...I also went to Den Haag to a museum there (oops don't remember the name**just informed it is Gemeentemuseum) with my dear friend John who was also my lovely host.
I have to admit that I am really looking forward to going again but hopefully when it's just a tad bit warmer!
So without further ado, Amsterdam...proost!

Granada, Nicaragua

Granada has a long and interesting history in Nicaragua. It is one of the oldest cities in Central America, created during Spain's colonial period. This is beyond apparent in the architecture of the city and though not always 100% preserved it is certainly beautiful because it really gives you a feeling of the passage of time.

More Ometepe

The last day on the island of Ometepe consisted of visiting Ojo de Agua, which is a quaint location where one can bath in natural spring mineral water (got that?). Anyway, it's a beautiful location and as you can see, the water is crystal clear!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mission District, San Francisco

Sometimes smalls escapes are necessary to help with the dealings of the "post travel blues". I am having a serious case of wanderlust and it must be satisfied somehow. San Francisco is my spot to go, it's got a little bit of everything and it's far enough that I have to pack an overnight bag (well, I like to think so). These are some photos I shot today. Don't worry, I will post more photos from my Europe trip soon!

I need to travel!