Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 7: Torre Degli Asinelli-- A Bird's Eye View of Bologna

Lushly covered green mountains as far as the eye can see sprinkled with pink brick-colored buildings which become more abundant as  you draw your eyes closer to the city--this is my view atop one of Bologna's famous towers, "Torre Degli Asinelli." The tower leans at a slight angle and stands 97.6 meters tall (that's about 320 feet high!) and with the 498 steps you have to climb to reach the top, it definitely feels as high as it looks! Despite the 498 steps and all of the huffing and puffing that comes along with such a work-out, the effort is most certainly worth the view! But you don't have to take my word for it... take a look for yourself 
A word of warning to the cautious: Legend says it's bad luck to climb the tower if you're studying at the University in Bologna, or if you are in a relationship. Apparently it's not good luck for your relationship or your studies to climb the tower! Students that graduate at the University all climb the tower once they've graduated and celebrate for having finished their schooling. Good thing for me I wasn't adhered to either of those things! ;-)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 5: Bologna

Ahh, Bologna, a beautiful city know for it's food, art, rich history, and well-preserved historical cites. Home of the rag├╣ alla Bolognese, and famous "Twin" Towers: Torre degli Asinelli, and Torre Garisenda --(the very same mentioned in Dante Alighieri's Divinia Commedia)-- this city is one that is sure to satisfy the needs of any gourmand, art enthusiast, or history fanatic. Between visiting cathedrals, strolling the streets, cafes, theaters, shops, and restaurants there's always a new corner to explore in Bologna. 
La Fontana del Netunno (Neptune's Fountain) by Giambologna, 1566 

The Medieval City Hall in Piazza Maggiore 

Torre Degli Asinelli 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 4: Positano

Positano is a cliff-side beach town, carved directly out of the mountain. Brightly painted pastel-colored homes are stacked upon one another and mutli-colored petunias hang down from balconies.  Purple bougainvillea climb up the paint-chipped walls, and friendly felines rest in a slumber on the local's doorsteps. The church bells of Santa Maria Assunta call out-- announcing a wedding-- as we rest our heads on the pebble-covered beach. Bambino run around us in giddy laughter as we spend the rest of our day exploring this enchanting town. We get a taste of this town through the sights, scenery, and of course, enjoying some gellato and the town's famous Limoncello: A tasty mix of sugar, alcohol, and lemon zest. 
After enjoying a beach-view dinner at Chez Black, and checking out the town's beat-savvy discoteca: Music on the Rocks, we bid our farewells to Positano and headed back on boat to Amalfi.  I frequently return to Positano in my dreams, and look forward to the day that I can return to this marvelous sea-side town carved out of the side of the mountain. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Power of Belief

Growing up in a Christian home, I've seen many times the power of faith and belief at work repeatedly in my life. But it wasn't until watching The Secret several years ago, that the power of faith, visualizing, and the importance of monitoring our thoughts and words because they manifest into things became of the utmost importance to me. As bizarre as this concept of believing without seeing may sound to many, I've learned quite a few interesting facts in the realm of quantum physics and positive psychology which scientifically back up this claim with fact and proof. Our thoughts and words actually give off a measurable vibrational energy. Thoughts in essence, really are things. As a result, I constantly strive to fill my mind with positive ideas, and I try my best to speak only positive and uplifting words into my life and the lives of those around me. (Mind you, I am by no means perfect at doing this, but I have seen a drastic difference in my life since I started monitoring my words and thoughts).
I've seen the power of faith work in my life many times before, whether it came to accomplishing a goal, meeting a new person, or attaining something and I've been continually blown away and amazed at the results.

But just a few days ago I had yet another profoundly amazing "WOW" moment because of the power of faith...

When I first got my phone a few months ago I immediately put up a photo I had found on Tumblr that I thought was so beautiful. I had no idea where the picture was taken, but I knew that someday I wanted to find out where it was and visit that place... After a few months of having my phone (with this new screensaver) a friend invited me to visit Italy with her as she studied abroad. After returning home from a 3 and a half week journey, I was sorting through my photos in the comfort of my bedroom and editing the pictures from my trip when I came across one that looked strikingly familiar. It was a photo I had quickly snapped while on the bus on the way to Amalfi. After staring at the screen, I suddenly realized with astonishment that it was EXACTLY the same place I had on my screen saver and I didn't even realize it! I had visited my dream spot and didn't even know it!! I was once again put in awe of the power of faith, and I can't begin to emphasize how important it is to fill your mind with good things, to speak positive and empowering words into your life and the lives of those around you, and to have faith! It's not magic. It's not weird-new-agey mumbo-jumbo. It's the power of belief that is a law of the universe just as real as any other law, like gravity. It's the power of believing even though you may not  see any results in the physical realm.

The town by the way? In case you were wondering it's a place called "Atrani" just a few minutes north of Amalfi :-)

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." -Hebrews 11:1

"By your faith it will be done." -Matthew 9:29

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fairy Tale Town

It's hard to believe that the seaside town of Amafli could get anymore beautiful, but as nightfall came, homes and restaurants along the cliff-side lit up with warm yellow lights. The ocean water reflected iridescent sparkles of the moonlight as boats sailed across the quiet sea. I couldn't help but feel I had just landed in a story book, in a town that only existed in fairy-tales. The Amalfi coastline was most certainly one of my favorite places we visited along our remarkable journey... 

Because we stayed only the weekend, I tried to pack as lightly as possible. I opted for this simple, all-black outfit that I could use to mix-match the few pieces that I brought to transition from day to night. 

Here are a few more photos of the scenic view... I just couldn't get enough of this beautiful, seaside town!
At night, I would just sit on our balcony overlooking the ocean, soaking it all in, not wanting to close my eyes for fear of missing a single moment. Families laughing as they walked on the sidewalk below us as they returned home, boats sounding off bells as they returned to shore, and the glistening moonlight dancing on the calm ocean water. These are images of Amalfi that I will never forget. 

Day 3: Amalfi

Amalfi is a magical place; it's buildings seem to emerge from the side of the mountain, strung along the coastline of the sea. Boats line the docks and giant rocks tower over the small, secluded pebble beach. Among the pebbles we find remnants of old glass and painted clay--reminders of part of the city that collapsed into the ocean in 1343. The Cattedrale di Sant' Andrea --a hybrid of architectural styles--stands strong, and white-washed homes loom over us as we splash and float in the Tyrrhenian sea...

Getting There: To get to Positano or Amalfi, simply take the train to Salerno, and from Salerno buy bus or boat tickets to Amalfi. The bus tickets were a couple of euros, but very packed, yet still had a lovely scenic view. I'm not quite sure how much boat tickets were, but it might be an option worth looking into. From Amalfi, you can take another bus or boat to Positano. It's about a 20-30 minute journey from Amalfi to Positano. Boats also leave from Positano and Amalfi to the island of Capri.

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