Jan 272017
 

On my first night in Manarola I was provided with a complimentary bottle of prosecco. I promptly plopped down on my balcony to enjoy it while the sun set. I took this photo just as the last light disappeared behind the horizon.

view of manarola from the hill at night

Jan 232017
 

If you google Riomaggiore you’ll find photos taken from this spot numerous times. It’s one of the viewpoints that first got me to notice the Cinque Terre and eventually decide to give the area a visit.  While I try not to take the same photos taken by everyone else, I don’t think anyone can disembark from the ferry to Riomaggiore and not stop to take this picture.

riomaggiorie harbour with boats and dramatic sky cinque terre italy

 

Jan 212017
 

I was treated to a wine tasting at a Tuscan vineyard. They took us into a cave where the family has been making wine for a very long time. We were shown how the wine is made and I was surprised to discover that they made white, red, and rosé all from the same grapes. As it turns out, the wine isn’t colored by the color of the grape but by how long the skins are left in the vat.

We were presented with a delicious rosé to start off the day. Unfortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed this and tucked back a few glasses before moving onto the rest of the tasting flight, which was voluminous. We were treated to food pairings for the wine. The owner’s mother appeared as we enjoyed lasagna made in strict accordance with her recipe.

This photo is taken from the spot that I put back the original few glasses of rosé. I, along with most of our group, got a good nap in on the bus ride back to Florence.

barrels of wine stored in a tuscan vineyards cave

Jan 192017
 

The walk up to the top of this tower was interesting. It was a tower that vacationers could rent, but there is only one room per floor. So as you walked up, you passed through multiple bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms, each on their own floor. By the time I got to the top I was ready to collapse. After catching my breath I took a few picture before making my way down again. We sat in a nearby courtyard and enjoyed the most garlicky bruschetta I’ve ever had. It was delicious.

san gimignano square tower and tuscan countryside

Jan 102017
 

When planning my Cinque Terre trip, there was something about Vernazza that made me decide I had to stay there. This was despite the fact that there was a dearth of hotel accommodation in the town, I was only booking a week in advance after all. The end result was that I booked into a two star hotel next to the train track. Upon reading the reviews, it seemed like it was clean enough but that I’d be greeted by a grumpy old lady at the front desk.

Sure enough, after 24 hours of traveling via two planes, a bus, two trains, and my feet, I arrived to meet the grumpy old lady on the front desk. I think the fact that I expected a cold greeting softened the blow a bit as I sat, chuckling to myself, while she finished whatever it was she was doing on a computer. Ten minutes later I was being rushed up the stairs and into my room, where I was shown the light-switch, bathroom, and balcony and was left alone. I was on the top floor – at least if I was in a  crappy hotel, I was in the penthouse of the crappy hotel. I stepped out onto the small balcony and was shocked to discover a family of four sat on the balcony right next to me.

Anyways, I loved Vernazza and want to go back. On my first night I walked down the central port for dinner. I ate, surrounded by locals, under the multi-coloured umbrellas you can see in the shade down there. Pesto and local pasta to start, which was the best I’d ever had followed by veal Milanese. It was fantastic. It was then that I discovered that I was in a restaurant renowned for it’s seafood… naturally I went back the next night to try out the sea bream.

This photo was taken from on top of the small fortification guarding the town. While up there a helicopter with video equipment passed over me a few times. If you spot me on the travel channel, let me know.

panorama of vernazza from on top of the castle

 

 

Jan 012017
 

I know, it’s been awhile… and no, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. I just ran a bit low on time and as a result, ran a bit low on photos. I’ve kept traveling though and have a lot of photos to share from Vietnam, Spain, France, Morocco, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland.

I’ve got travel plans for 2017 too. I’ll be kicking off the year with a return to Marrakesh and a weekend in Berlin where I hope to add to my collection of pictures. In addition, I’ll be taking a couple of more adventurous trips through the year, though I haven’t thought about where yet. Suggestions in the comments below are welcome. I’m thinking South East Asia, South America or maybe even Egypt. I’ll be doing my best to get back to regular postings.

My most recent trip was to the Cinque Terre in Italy. It was my third time trying to get there. On my first attempt, the towns in the area were beset by landslides so I had to cancel my plans. On the second attempt, I was driving from Piedmont and stopped at a service station where my car was broken into and cameras, laptops and passports were stolen.

My third trip wasn’t without a hiccup either. When I went to check into the airport in Bermuda for my flight to London, I realized that I’d booked the wrong date for my connecting flight and it had actually already departed! I actually got onto the London flight without a connection and had to quickly sort it out the next day.

In celebration of the New Year and of finally making it to Cinque Terre, please enjoy this photo, taken from my hotel balcony in Manarola while sipping from a bottle of Prosecco.

view from la toretta hotel at sunset in manarola cinque terre

Nov 272015
 

So it turns out I have got a lot of photos I worked up but never uploaded! This one is of the interior of the Pisa Cathedral, which is right next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. When you see the Leaning Tower it’s hard not to wonder if it was really worth the trip into Pisa. I’ve been a couple of times and the area is always crawling with tourists. The interior of the Cathedral, which seems to draw less of a crowd, is an impressive surprise though.

pisa-cathedral-interior

May 152014
 

It was a cloudy day, but I thought I could still manage an interesting shot of the equestrian statue of Cosimo de Medici. It’s in the Piazza della Signora in Florence, Italy. I liked the idea of making the horse the focus of the image.

equestrian statue in florence italy

May 102014
 

On my most recent trip to Italy, we were driving through Tuscany, a little lost but enjoying ourselves. Suddenly, everything started to look familiar. Out of nowhere I told my friend Chris to take a left. Things looked more familiar and I suggested driving up a small single track road. Chris is good in that he’s always calm, and happy to go with the flow. In his usual way, he didn’t ask why, and just drove up the little road.

(This is the same guy who paddled me within striking distance of a herd of elephants, in Zambia, and told me to just keep taking pictures)

My suspicions were correct, that track led to the Castello de Montegufoni. I first came to this amazing hotel with my parents as a kid, and we went again, when I was at university, with my English relatives.

The first time we were there two events stick out in my mind. The first was the sound of beautiful violin music piped through the courtyard you see below. They seemed to have an amazing sound system hidden away somewhere. At some point, we were sat at one of the communal dinners in the hotel’s vineyard and discovered that a man eating with us was the first violinist in one of the famous European philharmonics (I can’t remember which one). It turns out the music we could hear throughout the courtyard was him practicing.

The other memory was waking up in the middle of the night to discover that my parents had joined me on the pullout couch in the living room. Their bedroom was a loft, up above the living room. As it turned out, they’d been sat enjoying a glass of wine at their open window looking at the moon. Suddenly, a winged creature was silhouetted against the glow. A winged creature that soon winged passed my parents and into the rafters. It was a bat.

Oh, three things. The tuck shop had the most amazing multi-ice-cream sandwich/ice cream bar combo. I’ve never found it anywhere else.

On my second trip there, I remember my uncle Mike preparing the biggest mound of chopped garlic I’ve ever seen, amazing gooey cheese, a night of sambucca and limoncello, and my mom feeling bad for my dad as he seemed to be spending all his time on his Blackberry working. As it turned out, he was actually trying to beat the high score I’d set on Brick Breaker.

I’m not sure I told anyone I stumbled upon this place, so this picture may come as a surprise.

Courtyard of Castello di Montegufoni, Tuscany, Italy