Those moments around dawn and dusk, when the light is soft and a magic glow shines on everything, are my favorite times of the day.
While we were in Capraia Paolo and I made a point to be outside and enjoy them often (even if it meant getting up at 5am to see the sunrise).
We have our own favorite ways of being in the moment: I like to take pictures and capture the gorgeous light, while for Paolo it is the best time for fishing. Over the years, I’ve taken tons of pictures of Paolo on different coasts, patiently casting his line against stunning backdrops of changing skies.
Dawn is particularly magical because it is so quiet, and as the fiery sun makes its majestic appearance, it feels like nature is putting on this show just for you.
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.
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.
The Bougainvillea was flowering pink and purple everywhere giving a festive atmosphere.
People tend really well to their gardens and trees, and every corner I turned led me to another gorgeous place.
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.
During the holidays, I spent lovely afternoons walks exploring the tiny alleys of the village of Capraia, looking at the carefully tended plants in people’s gardens or in front of their houses and I’ll share more about that soon.
But I especially fell for the wild plants growing in the hills or on the edges of the cliffs on our way down to the sea. Those plants really represent the island for me.
I love how their branches and spikes lightly scratched my legs as I walked by, reminding me of their presence, as if urging me to look down and observe them.
What the photos unfortunately can’t show is how the strong smell of the aromatic plants (like wild rosemary, erba gatta and elicriso) rose up in the air under the hot sun, titillating the senses as we walked by.
Depending on the hour of the day, the light would show up the colours against the backdrop of the sky in different ways, what a lovely sight.
The prickly pear cactus is one of the plants that is synonymous to me of hot summer days in Italy. When I see one I am immediately mentally transported to wonderful moments spent by the sea, feeling warm rays of sunshine drying the salt water on my skin and the joyful sensation of being on holidays and free:)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #36
These stunning bright orange lichens grow all over the rocks throughout Capraia. I tried to photograph them repeatedly but the pictures don’t really do justice to how marvelous they are.
As we were exploring the island, our guide Mariella explained that Capraia counts in total around 400 types of lichen, which I’d say is not bad for an island measuring just 20 square kilometers. I’m grateful to Pacha Mama for having created such diversity even in the tiny details, with insanely fascinating shapes and gorgeous colours.
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;).
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!).
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!
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #34
Today some flowers that look kind of like fireworks to celebrate the fact that I’m on holidays! I’m going to Italy with Paolo to a small paradise island called Capraia. The plan is not to have any plans. I’m packing my camera, my journal and a pile of books… I can’t wait to explore the island, swim, eat good food and relax by the sea:)
Here are a few more pictures of our hike towards Guadagnolo in the lovely hills of Lazio.
The great thing about hiking uphill is the panoramic view as you get higher (something I really miss when hiking in the flat Netherlands).
As usual I was mesmerized by the moss, lichens and tiny plants growing on the rocks.
The wintery trees looked quite eerie with the grey sky and the mist.
The neighing sounds this horse was making echoed loudly around the valley before it appeared over the crest of the hill. What happened next is described here🙂
As we drove home towards Rome, the sunlight piercing through the clouds over the valley was a spectacular sight.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #10
On January 2nd, Paolo and I went for a lovely hike in the outskirts of Rome, towards Guadagnolo. It was a great way to start the new year by spending some time outdoors, and despite being a grey day it was a beautiful walk.
We didn’t meet one single person during our hike, but we did come across quite a few wild horses. Some of them stood boldly on the path, and others were half hidden and peeking out at us from behind the bushes, waiting to see what we would do. before they retreated up the slope of the hill.
This other family of horses came down the mountainside directly towards us. They initially ‘pretended’ to follow the road in the opposite direction to where we were walking, only to start following us as soon as we had our back turned.
The baby horse couldn’t contain his curiosity and came right up to where I stood. For a few seconds he looked at me and sniffed me a few times before continuing on his way. A very magical moment:)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #5
I’m really grateful to have discovered the wonderful independent bookstore Gogol & Company while I was visiting Milan last weekend. It’s the kind of place where you are greeted with a warm ‘Buongiorno!’ when you walk in, and you can hang out as long as you want on the comfy sofas and read the books, no questions asked.
It was the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon by myself with no other place to rush off to… I really enjoyed just chilling, checking out their wonderful selection of books, soaking in the laid-back atmosphere and sampling their tasty food and coffee. Those few quiet hours left me feeling both deeply relaxed and energised:)
Monti neighbourhood, Rome, Italy