Spotting details in the streets of Rome

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Whilst wandering the streets of Rome and other cities in Italy, I love to look at the details of the shopfronts which look so different to the ones in Amsterdam. Some of them have clearly remained unchanged for decades, with their amazing old-school fonts, diluted colours and paint slowly chipping off.

To me it actually gives these shops a certain charm and I wonder whether inside they are still working according to the more humane rhythm of those long-gone eras… Here are a few of my favorites from my last trip.

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Beautiful imperfections

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When was the last time you really looked closely at what is around you? Most of the time I am completely on auto-pilot, rushing to and from work, completely stuck in my head thinking about all the things I need to do or annoyed at the rain pouring down…

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On Saturday morning, I took the opportunity of a ray of sunshine to go for a walk in the neighbourhood and consciously really looked at buildings, bikes, dogs, plants as I passed them. I started to notice tiny details. As autumn comes to an end, some plants are valiantly holding on to their last threads of life.

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I was so happy to observe the plants on my way and focus on the beauty in their imperfections: slightly bruised and fading petals, leaves drying into brilliant reds, gorgeous lace-like patterns…  It is the perfect trick for getting out of my whirling thoughts and truly being in the moment:)

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Enjoying Autumn

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I’m just back from a blissful weekend visiting my family in France. Three days of intense chatting and laughing over cups of tea, baking (and then devouring) cakes shamelessly full of butter and sugar, celebrating milestones over delicious Lebanese food and sipping champagne, and generally just enjoying spending precious time together:)

I snuck out for a few hours on Saturday for a walk in the forest by myself. The colours of the trees were soooo beautiful (these pictures taken with my phone don’t do justice to their splendour at all), it was breathtaking! As I walked, it was like my senses were waking up from indoor life… I enjoyed seeing little birds flying from one branch to another and singing nearby, treading along on the muddy path and the smell the fallen leaves slowly decomposing at the feet of gorgeous trees was wonderful. It was the perfect environment for some quiet time to process my thoughts:)

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Sunday bike ride

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I’ve been craving nature recently, wanting to hear branches of large trees swaying in the wind and to smell the rich odors of humid leaves on the forest floor.  At the same time, my energy levels felt low and the thought of catching a train all the way to a place where we could hike just didn’t appeal to me.  So we found an in-between solution, closer to home.

Paolo and I simply wrapped up warmly and headed off on our bikes with no clear direction in mind. After a few random raindrops, the sun came out in earnest as we pedalled away, turning arbitrarily right or left, along roads we’d never been on. It was windy and for most of the ride we could hear the noisy highway, but it was still really lovely to get some fresh air, watch birds on the lake and look at the gorgeous autumn colours:)

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Impressions of Prague

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We enjoyed a wonderful weekend in the magical streets of Prague.  The Laver Cup was great. The two tennis matches we saw were full of suspense, keeping us on the edge of our seats the whole time.

I love the colours of houses with their light yellow, copper green and orange, as well as the beautiful facades and pointy towers.

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Armed with the USE-IT map of Prague and many great tips from my friend Eva, we enjoyed exploring different areas of the city. I especially liked spending time in the local cafés trying their amazing selections of delicious cakes and soaking up the atmosphere. Three days was way too short, there are still so many things we didn’t have time to see (and so many cakes we have yet to try), so we’ll have to go back:)

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Off to a new destination

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This weekend Paolo and I are heading to Prague ! It’s the first time I go there so I’m really excited to have 3 days to explore the city.  We will go to watching tennis (the first ever edition of the Laver Cup) and spend the rest of the time soaking in the atmosphere, discovering wonderful places and hopefully eating lovely cakes 😉

Exploring Knoydart

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It’s always a pleasure to look back at holiday pictures and I’m enjoying reliving the walks we took back in early June when discovering the spectacular the landscapes of the Knoydart Peninsula.

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Being outdoors all day long and exploring by foot felt wonderful. Sometimes we walked on proper paths and other times we improvised our way up the hill through the bracken, Paolo ambitiously choosing the steepest side of the hill to reach the summit.

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As we climbed the views were more and more breathtaking. The light constantly changes on the loch and the islands on the horizon, it’s impossible to portray in these photos how beautiful and vast the view was.

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Whoever said it is always raining in Scotland is… not entirely correct. We enjoyed lovely sunny spells, though the weather does change very fast. Luckily there are cafés with cakes (including lots of icing), just the right thing to cheer up after finding yourself in an unexpected rainshower:)

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Of course we couldn’t stay forever… This is the view of the cute village of Inverie seen from the ferry on our way back towards Mallaig, where we took the wonderful train ride back to Glasgow. It was a magical stay!

More impressions of Capraia

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Here are a few more memories of our lovely time in Capraia… The ‘mulatiera’, a beautiful rock path that the mules use to follow to carry goods up and over the hills to remote parts of the island.

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The splendid colours of the vegetation, lush and green in some parts and a drier orangy-red in other spots.

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I’m captivated by the warm colours of salt-damaged surfaces that are so gorgeous in their imperfection…

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Spending time looking through my holiday pictures takes me back to those moments and I’m reminded of the sun shining on my skin, and the tug of leg muscles slightly tired from hiking uphill, and the joy of spending all day outdoors… Can’t wait for the next holiday!

 

Lovely streets of Capraia

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The village of Capraia has many wonderful little streets to explore and I spent several late afternoons strolling around to try to capture their beauty on camera.

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My strategy was to walk around and enter the tiniest side streets and alleyways, following them to see where they would lead me… And I was not disappointed.

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The Bougainvillea was flowering pink and purple everywhere giving a festive atmosphere.

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People tend really well to their gardens and trees, and every corner I turned led me to another gorgeous place.

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I also loved the warm coulours of the houses, different shades of yellow and pink, and how the flowers often matched perfectly with the walls.

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Beautiful Capraia

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Just back from Capraia with sparkles in my eyes about how beautiful the island is. With its 20 square kilometers it is the perfect size to explore by foot: walking to small coves for a swim or hiking up the hills to see the steep west coast plunging into the sea, with Corsica visible on the horizon.

The summer colours of the plants on the hills were beautiful (green, orange, yellow…) and apparently in spring with many flowers blooming it is even more spectacular (a good reason to come back;).

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The village at the top of the hill is very pretty with its warm colours and many tiny winding streets to explore and get lost in.  We had our appartment there, it is blissfully quiet, perfect for a good rest (indeed many afternoon siestas were enjoyed!).

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The sea is amazingly transparent, and it beckons you to jump in from the rocks and refresh yourself after hiking under the sun. Underwater a ballet of fish awaits you, swimming leisurely around the rocks. So beautiful!

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