Last summer I spent a beautiful couple of hours photographing the Musée Rodin. The rose garden was in bloom and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. I arrived at mid-day when the sun was at its height, so the lighting wasn’t ideal – or so I thought. I spent most of my time in the garden taking endless photos of the roses, trying to get the perfect angles, and even though direct sunlight can be difficult to work with, it can yield amazing results if you work a little harder.
Last year, my friend Katie and I took a 5-day jaunt through Germany’s Black Forest region, visiting three towns: Freiburg, Heidelberg, and Tübingen. Here is an account of what we did while in Heidelberg.
Heidelberg is famous for its charming Old Town, dense forest and imposing red-toned castle. Much like Freiburg, exploring Heidelberg was like walking straight into a fairy tale or Romantic painting. Most of the little streets in the Old Town led straight to a wall of trees of the famous Black Forest, a region which inspired some of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Before we left France to celebrate Midsummer in Sweden, I had watched this video that demonstrated exactly what celebrating the holiday would be like. The video included things like flower crowns, strawberry cake, schnapps, maypoles and frog dances, and I gotta say, I was not disappointed. There could have been more frog dancing, in my opinion, but the rest of the week was filled with old fashioned summertime fun.
From the glass-like lakes to the fields of wildflowers, Sweden during the summer was so beautiful. Each night the sun would dip just past the horizon, but never fully set, so you could still see the entire landscape 24 hours per day. It also meant that sunsets were extra long – hours long in fact – and everybody knows that sunsets provide the most beautiful light of the day.
Positano has a little bit of everything (beautiful views, cute town, good food and interesting culture), but many other oceanside towns have these things. I think how Positano differs is that it somehow encapsulates “opposites” like ruggedness and elegance, romance and adventure. You can have the most romantic honeymoon here with all the fancy restaurants and literally breathtaking views, but you can also trek up steep mountains to the Path of the Gods, take boats to hidden beaches, and adventure to other towns along the coast. It’s the perfect amalgamation of vacation elements.
Part of the aforementioned “adventure” of traveling to Positano, are the busses. Since there is so little flat land, everything is built vertically into the mountainside, and all roads are twisty and perched on the edge of sheer cliffs – not for those with extreme fear of heights! The main coastal highway was one thing, but it got even more exciting once we got on the local bus to the tiny village of Nocelle, where our Bed & Breakfast, Villa la Quercia, was located. After having already taken two separate busses from Naples airport, we were bemused to find that only one single bus ran up and down the mountain road, arriving for pickup about once per hour! I’ve never experienced anything like the driving skills of that bus driver – SERIOUS talent! Since the road was extremely windy and barely wide enough for one large car, you can imagine the kind of traffic jams and puzzles that ensued. Lots of stopping, backing up, and edging uncomfortably close to the cliff edges every time another car came down the mountain in the opposite direction.
My friend Katie and I took a 5-day jaunt through Germany’s Black Forest region, visiting three towns: Freiburg, Heidelberg, and Tübingen. Here is an account of what we did while in Freiburg. Check back later for the other towns!
After a few hours on the train with some pretty countryside views flashing by the window, we arrived in Freiburg. It took us a little while to get our bearings and find our accommodations for the night, which were slightly removed from the city center. I won’t bother recommending the airbnb we stayed at, since in my opinion, it was lacking. There was no wifi (GASP) and when we brought groceries home that evening to make dinner, we discovered the kitchen wasnt even equipped with a pot to boil our pasta in! After some nervous debating and creative thinking, we improvised and used the electric kettle instead… and it worked out perfectly! So take this as a lesson: if you need to cook pasta, but you don’t have a stove or a pot – just shove it into the electric kettle. ;)
But let’s backtrack to earlier that day…
My summer travels began with a short trip to Barcelona with Erik and Natalie. Since I have so many photos I’d like to share, I’ll be splitting this up into a few parts, so stay tuned for more!
Barcelona had been on my and Natalie’s travel wish list for years now – in fact, we had originally planned to go last summer, but instead went for a road trip through Normandy due to issues with my visa. Even though it wasn’t our first choice, I had an amazing time last summer driving through country roads and little villages in apple cider country and exploring Mont Saint Michel, which is magnificent.
This trip, on the other hand, was much louder, more colorful, and definitely sunnier. We didn’t do a ton of planning for Barcelona, so we missed some of the architectural gems (like Casa Batlló and Palau Guell), but taking it easy meant less stress, less sweat, and more time to relax and eat yummy Catalan cuisine.
Barcelona wouldn’t be Barcelona without Gaudí. He quite literally shaped the city with his weird and wonderful architecture. One of the highlights of our trip was Park Güell, a multileveled outdoor complex with open spaces, stone arches and passages, a shady covered colonnade, colorful tile mosaics, gardens, and structures that look like gingerbread houses. Having seen pictures, I half expected this place to feel like a cheesy theme park, but it was impressive! Despite its whimsical vibe, the place demanded respect.