Early last month, I was mandated by the lovely Inma of A World to Travel to go and explore a “destination in progress” with Destination Makers and eight other bloggers. Italy is a country I absolutely adore (this was my sixth time visiting!), so I didn’t hesitate one second, as I had never been this far south towards the heel of the boot. The destination in question was Margherita di Savoia in Puglia, a rural town on the coast of the Adriatic that boasts the largest salt flats in Europe (and the second biggest in the world). It is located 75 km north of Bari, so you would likely be passing by if you were on a cross-country road trip or a bike trip. And I’m here to tell you: stop over, there’s amazing stuff to see!
I recently posted a “what’s in my camera bag” update where I discussed this little GoPro gadget that has completely changed the way my footage looks and I’ve been asked tons of questions about it. The Zhiyun GoPro Gimbal is a very portable (thus very traveler-friendly!) three-axis motorized stabilizer – unlike a traditional Steadicam that works with counterbalance weights and is super bulky and annoying to carry, not to mention difficult to learn how to use properly. I was really keen to put it to use, so I took advantage of my trip to Northern Italy to film as much as I could and I put together this little video! Can you see how much smoother the panning and moving shots are? Handheld footage can be very shaky and ruin videos, no matter how high resolution your camera is, so to me this is a wonderful investment that will make a world of difference in the overall quality of your footage. I find this specific gimbal great because you can attach it to different mounts, unlike most of the other ones out that that are fixed to a pole. I’m looking forward to do some bike footage!
In my wildest dreams about my upcoming trip to Venice, fancy hotel rooms with river views and posh canal-side aperitivi with a side of olives in the sunset kept swirling through my head. I’m generally of the very budget-conscious type when it comes to travel, but a trip to Venice is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and doing Venice on a budget without splurging on a little luxury here and there made me feel like I was going to miss out on some Venetian quintessence. So when I was given a chance to have all of my river view aperitivo fantasies come to life at Hotel Gabrielli Sandwirth, it goes without saying: the decision was pretty simple.
This post has been a long time coming because I still to this day cannot find the right words for it. My original thought was to offer some kind of guide to the places I went, what I ate, what I packed, how I paced myself and so forth. But for some reason, it feels pointless. Besides, during the month and a half that I cycled the 3,000km from Istanbul to Milan, I fully disconnected from any form of online activity, from updating my social media to gathering facts for the greater good of blogging. I was too busy taking in whatever the hell I was putting myself through, absorbing what was thrown at me, the brutal climate change after nearly two years in the heat of South East Asia and physically trying to keep up with a four-year veteran cyclist. Here are a few thoughts I gathered nevertheless.
Bologna is a charming overlooked gem amongst hotshot destinations like Rome, Venice and Florence (but don’t get me wrong, I love these cities, especially Florence! Wondering what to do in Florence?) and I fell in love with it the second I stepped foot into its narrow, glistening cobblestone streets. The porticos covering the majority of the walkways within the old city make it the perfect place to explore in any weather and the edgy vibe from the large student crowd, alternative culture, progressive left-wing politics and excellent food make it the ideal place for those in search of more off-the-beaten path tourism. And no, Bologna doesn’t equal mortadella. Here are a few things I got up to, but there are so many more things to do in Bologna.
Parma is mostly known for ham and parmesan which, as you might have guessed, aren’t exactly my cup of tea. To be perfectly frank, I didn’t quite know what to expect from Parma, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised. And what better feeling is there than discovering activities, sights and food that are all in line with who you are and what you love! Parma turned out to be an unexpected little haven of health and vegan food – the art part obviously didn’t come as a surprise, but contributed to a lovely getaway I can’t recommend enough. Here is what I got up to.
I arrived in Italy straight from a hectic holiday in New York City and couldn’t have dreamed of a better place to start my trip than in Parma. A city rich in history, culinary wonders and culture, Parma is also a quaint and gorgeous place to unwind, cure a jetlag while roaming the romantic streets aimlessly, stopping in cafes at random for apero and indulge in a little dolce far niente for a day or two. It’s also home to the gorgeous and relaxing B&B Al Battistero d’Oro where I had the pleasure to stay in the first three days of my Italian holiday.
Montreal is gorgeous and warm today, just as it has been all week, so I was out of bed rather early this morning for a wonderful 10K run around the Lachine Canal and the Westmount neighborhood, quite the perfect way to start a weekend indeed!
I wanted to share with you the third and final part of my trip to Italy, from when Richard came to meet me. We traveled from Rome to Naples (which we found completely awesome against all odds!), Ischia (where we stayed at the very fancy Terme Aragona Palace Spa and had our epidermis scrubbed and whipped into shape like nobody’s business!), Capri and Sorrento (where we stayed at the even fancier Grand Hotel Capodimonte. This vacation really made me feel like a princess ;). As you can see, it was all about food! I’m thinking about going vegan after this cheese overdose!
Well it seems I’m back sooner than I thought due to very crap weather and me being bedridden because of a rather painful gum graft surgery recovery. So I thought I would update you with some more photos from my recent trip to Italy while my cheek de-puffs (jeepers, I can’t believe I have been back for 2 weeks already!).
I was in Acquapendente in the Lazio region for a month long drawing class with university, after which Richard came to meet me for another week and we visited Rome, Naples, Ischia, Capri and Sorrento.
I spent the last six weeks in Italy, the first five for a drawing class with university and the last one travelling around with Richard. I am feeling impossibly rested and rather fat from all the cheese consumed. Here are some photos.