Firenze

First glimpse of the Duomo again after years. Exciting!

One of my favorite statues

It’s a griffin, a griffin. Griffin!

Oh Duomo, you are so tall. I accidentally marched in a Catholic midnight mass because it was right before Easter. I held a candle and we followed a priest with a stereo system on wheels, pretending to sing in Italian.

Loving mothering and a missing arm

Across the river, there was a little bar serving 5 euro homemade lasagne. At the counter, they had a basket of free sausage chunks. Also homemade. Afterwards, we found a gelateria with a long line of locals. Beautiful and quiet on that side.

These views were, after all, from the Piazzale Michelangelo. Wouldn’t be right not to have a picture of his statue.

Dante. I’m still meaning to read his Inferno…

Sunsets are better enjoyed with a nice lion

Genova

Pardon, I know these are late, but here are some pictures from my trip to Italy earlier this year. I found this merman when looking for a grocery store. When I finally found the grocery store, I bought a month’s supply of parmesan flavored Cheetos, I kid you not.

It was cold the whole time. Rainy and 4 degrees celsius. I took pictures of buildings while natives in dark colors skirted around me, looking at me like I had gone mad.

Our hotel was so posh, it even had velvet seats in the elevator. Around the corner, there was a bakery with hot chocolate croissants.

The view from the hotel window. If you were to look up, you’d see the time and temperature. Both were sad facts that first morning, waking up jet lagged at 5:17 am to the frigid darkness.

Someone tell me why the Europeans were so obsessed with lions. And how they even knew what lions looked like.

He looked so concerned I wanted to comfort him. “There there, Mr. Lion. The rain won’t ruin your pretty mane. Promise.”

Genova was built half on a mountain, making for dramatic elevation changes.

Now these people know how to live. Their rooftop isn’t large or glamorous, but notice the pool, swing and picnic table.

The city had two levels. I liked that I managed to find the bridge that was outside my hotel window.

 

 

Oahu, east coast

It seems a good day to look at pictures of the sea. I had a housemate once who liked to hang from meat hooks pierced six in a row through his back flesh. He wanted to find a bridge on the coast to suspend himself from, and he let me come along for his search.

cliffs cliffs2 cliffs3 cliffs4

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These cliffs, weathered by time and an unrelenting ocean, looked computer-generated.

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He found his bridge, and I found a lonely coconut

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Mont Saint Michel (Part 10)

I have been dragging it out and dreading this day. You see, the trouble with dreams coming true is that shortly thereafter, they end.

We stayed at a centuries-old farm house not far from the mont. It was run by an Irish ex-pat and could have been something out of a horror film. Whimsical. Like these statuettes around his well

N chose our dinner spot so we would have a view. I had moules frites again.

This was the last picture I got with my camera, because it fell from a great height (of 2.5 feet) the next morning and was never the same again

The rest are courtesy of N.

The next day, we went to Mont Saint Michel for the nocturne.

I would call it a regret, but it wasn’t really a choice. That poor camera… I would have loved to show you the water rising and flooding the plains, covering the roads and erasing everything but the mont.

There was a cello concert in the abbey at sunset

The sunset casting its dilute gold over everything for miles — taken from just outside the abbey

Don’t worry, N wasn’t neglectful. We spent the end of my trip in Paris walking for miles and seeing all of the things. I just can’t prove it. I haven’t the will right now, but I’ll end this series next time with a few thoughts on my time in France.

To be continued…

nb: this part of a series on my trip to France

Vannes and Saint Malo (Part 9)

It’s been a while since I got back. I almost don’t remember visiting Vannes at all. Which is sad, because I do remember liking the feel of the city.

And we found this hugging monster in a building we just wandered into. No, you’re not scary at all. Let’s cuddle.

N says he remembers visiting this garden when he was younger. He also remembered having ice cream. The things that live on in our hearts…

Saint Malo is a popular resort town, especially with the English. Part of it is completely walled in from Medieval times. It’s also home to a few pirate ships.

And the most colorful cathedral window I have ever seen

It was a little sad for me that it was such a fine day and we didn’t just lay on the beach until sunset.

We strolled along the top of the outer wall

This is a bit creepy, but I thought I could see all the way through this apartment. It turns out, that was just a mirror. Accidental self-portrait.

N was not entirely without a heart though. He did allow me a brief nap on the wall, overlooking the ocean. What a fine nap it was.

To be continued…

nb: this is part of a series on my trip to France

Île-aux-Moines (Part 8)

Following advice from our host at the beach house, we planned for a day trip to Belle-Île, but just missed the ferry.  The next departing ferry was bound for Île-aux-Moines, so we went there instead.

This trip made me want to learn how to sail. Little sail boats though. No motor. No fancy yacht.

This tiny island town of 700 feels a kinship with my city by the bay

I didn’t get a picture, but nearly everyone had a cart that they would hitch to the back of a moped. There weren’t cars besides a few large vans for transporting campers and their equipment.

My future boat, perhaps

It was easy to imagine spending more time here. Beautiful, quiet, faraway.

At the bakery, (yes, an island of 700 has its own bakery) we saw a Filipino woman touch a loaf of bread. Two bakery workers gesticulated wildly and shouted at her (in French) to stop. The woman yelled back in frustration “I DON’T SPEAK FRENCH!” I don’t either, but I think they were giving the international signal of “DO NOT TOUCH.” N was absolutely gleeful at this. He told me “I felt in my heart that it was not right that she was touching the bread.” We stopped for lunch just here, next to the church

I even sat on the wall to eat

Wine colored hydrangeas. Fancy

No one knows what the meaning or purpose behind the stone statues. This one, the monk, is presumably who the island was named after

We followed a path along the coast

There were hydrangeas everywhere. I know it’s an old lady flower, but it’s my favorite. They may look fancy, but they require little care. You just have to set them in the right place — cloudy, cool, dry, and most importantly, no direct sunlight.

We eventually went back. That flag in the window is the flag of Brittany

To be continued…

nb: this is part of a series on my trip to France

Arzon (Part 7)

This was my first glance of the sea. From the north coast of France.

This was an example of a dinner I was fed. To an American, it looks like a plate of garnish. But you know, while in Rome… or something.

Is that a rainbow? Are we in Hawaii?

I mean really, just look at this sunset

We went on a hike along the coast during our stay at the beach house

N doing a sun salutation!

This cove reminded me a little of Eternity Beach

This may be the best portrait I’ve ever shot

We went to Le Petit Port for dinner. There is a seagull crossing sign because the owner is friends with a seagull who visits the restaurant for dinner scraps. I saw him trying to cross the street several times, but being startled away by cars.

It happened to me frequently here, but every time I saw little boats in harbor like these

I would remember an old song from my chorus days, especially the lines

They rock at their moorings, all nestled in dreams
away from the roll of the sea

This was the moon on my very last day on the seaside. Some things are just too beautiful. My heart can’t stand it.

To be continued…

nb: this is part of a series on my trip to France