Monday, December 30, 2013

Day 19: The Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre consists of five coastline fishing towns: Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, Manarola, and Montorosso al Mare--all relatively small in size and the number of it's inhabitants.  Brightly painted homes are pressed together and stacked upon one another, clothing lines are strung from home-to-home, boats rest on the calm water, and locals and tourists alike take turns jumping into the pristine crystal blue sea that is so clear, it's as if it were illuminated from below.

As we take a dip in the refreshing and cool embrace of the ocean's touch, Il Gigante, Montorosso Al Mare's native Giant looms over us. A friendly giant, he holds the town together as he watches the frolicking and commotion in the water and on the beach below him.
I'm wearing the "ginger maillot" one piece from Anthropologie.

Here are some photos from my Instagram. I couldn't manage to get any post-worthy photos on my main camera (although my friend did manage to get a few shots of some tall, dark, and handsome, speedo-clad Italians, but you wouldn't want to see that now would you? ;-)
Montorosso Al Mare had to be my favorite town of the five, only because it had the most beach space, shops, and it's very own giant! However, the other towns also had beautiful hiking trails with amazing ocean views that we didn't get to experience because we were limited on time. I know the next time I go back that is definitely on my to-do list!

Getting There: Getting to the Cinque Terre is fairly simple as you can take a train to La Spezia, which then takes you directly to the five towns.
Getting Around: There's a train pass called the "Cinque Terre Card" that cost us about 7 euros and will take you from town to town. Each town is about 5 minutes apart by train. However the trains were so packed full, no conductor came around to even check our tickets! You can also hike from town to town along the beautiful coastline trails, which will take you a few hours. If you have the time, I'd recommend this venture as the views looked beautiful!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Above All You Wear, Wear Love

 love playing dress up, but I know there's one thing I wear that matters more than any piece of cloth I own or will ever own, and that one thing is Love.
A very wise man once said, "No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love." And he was right. Without love we are nothing. You wouldn't be here without love. You are love. You were made by love, and it is by love that you continue to exist.
Love is what inspires us, motivates us, changes, and transforms us. It is the catalyst of growth--even on a cellular level this is shown to be true, as neurons will undergo mitosis (multiply and grow) in an environment of compassion. It's living a life of love that promotes brain cell growth, birth, and regeneration!
It's also love that makes us happy and brings joy to our life. I'm not just talking about romantic love either. I'm talking about compassion. When we say or do something kind for someone else a part of our body called the vagus nerve is stimulated and promotes all kinds of feel-good mushy-gushy happy feelings inside. We are more creative when we are loving towards others. It would appear that every aspect of our lives improves when we strive to live a life of LOVE.
My encouragement to you today is to show someone a little love. It could be a stranger who you give a compliment to, it could be a lonely passerby who you warm up with your loving smile, it could be a friend who needs a word of encouragement from you or simply a shoulder to cry on. Whoever or whatever your act of love may be, by sowing seeds of love you'll be reaping a harvest of love that will just come rushing back to you tenfold. Make someone's day by living in love and I promise your day will be made in return! ;-)
Hope you LOVED this post and I hope my words inspired you to shower a little love on the world today! ;-) 
I love you all very much! Muah!

“Above all, love each other deeply” 1 Peter 4:8 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 13: Notre Dame, Paris

The beauty of Paris’ French gothic Notre Dame is immediately evident. Its grand spires reach toward the sky and the façade is too intricate to take in with a mere glance. After walking down the nave and getting a good view of the altar and all the beautiful gothic chandeliers and stained glass windows, we head out towards the garden. There is a man and some children holding out little pieces of bread as birds come and peck right out of their hands. Chrysanthemums, daisies, poppies, and bright yellow football mums line the outside of Our Lady. It’s a beautiful sight to behold and reminds you why Paris is often referred to as “The City of Love.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Paris, Je T'aime

After wandering through the Louvre, visiting Mona Lisa, and spectating the Winged Victory, we spent a little time getting lost in a maze a the Louvre. I wore a simple Periwinkle dress perfect for wandering around the city and strolling the Champs Elysee. 

Louis XIV

Saturday, October 12, 2013

La Vie En Rose

I was feeling pretty in pink as we explored the city of Paris, ascended up the Tour Eiffel, and enjoyed some champagne with all of the beautiful city below us.  

Quand il me prend dans ses bras 
Il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose

Bon Nuit, Paris!

We arrived at Paris at about 11 o'clock pm, and about an hour away from our hotel. The information desk at the airport told us that the RER, Paris' underground train, was closed, and the the only other option was a bus, which was apparently not safe at that time of night for two girls traveling alone. We would have to take a taxi which would likely cost us anywhere from 80-100 euros. 

Without any other choice, we talked with the taxi driver, and I asked him, "Combien pour aller a Montparnasse Daguerre?" (How much to go to Montaparnasse Daguerre?) His response was "Autour de quatre-vingt euros" (Around eighty euros).  I told him, "J'ai soixante euros" (I have sixty euros) and we began to walk away before he stopped us and agreed to take us for that amount. 

During our ride, with my little knowledge of French, and his little knowledge of English, we were able to communicate as he told me about Paris, and explained Paris' highway, the Boulevard Périphérique, or "Le Périph" as the Parisians call it, which wraps around all of Paris.

He asked me questions like how long we were staying and wondered if we wanted a tour of Paris, free of charge. We agreed, and he took us to the "Tour Eiffel," which he explained lights up in sparkling lights every hour, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and showed us Le Sienne which he said offers hop-on-hop-off tours to all the major cites in Paris for about 15-18 euros, depending on whether you want a day pass or two-day pass. All in all, it was a very informative and pleasurable experience, and our driver was nice enough to give us a great tour. I realized knowing a little french, goes a long way in Paris. Whenever we were lost I would simply ask, "Pardon, ou est la rue....?" (Excuse me, where is the street...?") and Parisians would go out of there way to help us! They were so nice and helpful! One man even asked us, "Vous êtes perdu?" (Are you lost?) and went out of his way to show us were to go. I was so grateful for their kindness and help.

Here are some pictures from our first night in Paris. The Eiffel tower was even more spectacular than I imagined it, and watching it light up in sparkling lights as we stood with our new Parisian friend on a bridge overlooking the Sienne was a wonderful feeling I will never forget.
Bon nuit, Paris!

GETTING AROUND: When  it comes to getting around Paris, you can take the RER, the underground metro/train station, or the Sienne river hop-on-hop-off tour, or you can walk. My recommendation would be to take the Sienne, as navigating through the RER could sometimes be confusing. Not to mention, with the passes for the Sienne, you get to be out in the sunlight as opposed to underground, and you save your feet a lot of walking time!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Saint Peters Basilica, Rome

The Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica are even more spectacular than pictures depict it to be. Upon entering the Basilica, golden beams of light shine through the top windows of the apse casting their light upon 
Bernini’s bronze-sculpted, baroque-style canopy, or baldachin. As I marvel at the magnificent splendor of such beautifully sculpted artwork--Solomonic columns adorned with golden Cherubim, a bright golden altar, and all above me, gold coffered ceilings--the choir begins to sing in a melodious harmony that could best be described as angelic--maybe even otherworldly. 

The text around the drum of the dome reads: "Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam mean et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum" meaning, "You are 'Rock' and on this rock I will build my Church, to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 16:18).

"Quodcumque ligaveris super terram, erit ligatum et in coelis. Et quodcumque solveris super terram erit solutum et in coelis" is a continuation of the words written on the drum and translates to: "I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

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