I got to spend one Saturday in Florence, Italy – a city steeped in the history of art, music, politics, and Italian culture.
In the pedestrian streets around Florence’s famous art galleries, every square foot is filled with musicians and souvenir reproductions of famous paintings for sale….
Walking through the city, there are pops of color and ornate architectural details all around you. You’re embraced by the legacy of inspiration that once surrounded da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Donatello, and so many other artists….
There’s something surreal to the changes of colors in the city throughout the day. In the early, misty morning, Florence’s famous bridge, the Ponte Vecchi, was cool and indistinct….
…but by the warmer afternoon, the shops and walls along the bridge had changed into their famous palette of warm yellows, greens, and oranges….
Florence had a very Italian feel, and it was awe-inspiring to be in the birthplace of so many famous works of art. : )
I shared a few photos from our hike through Cinque Terre, Italy here. The seaside, the views – it’s lovely. : )
We started out early in the day by grabbing some fruit at one of the small streetside markets….
Our hike wound along the coast of the Mediterranean through 5 towns, some vineyards, and natural cliffs. In the middle of one orchard, we came across an Italian man selling fresh lemonade to hikers….
For lunch, we stopped in the harbor of one of the towns with some grab-and-go pizza….
Throughout the hike, we overheard people talking in all different languages – Italian, English, German, French, and more. It was an interesting mélange of people from all different places – all come to enjoy the Italian coast….
Everyone we passed would say “excuse me” in a different language. Scusi, permesso, entschuldigung, pardon…
Cinque Terre is famous for its beautiful scenery and seaside hikes, but its mixture of different visitors makes for a really unique atmosphere, too. : )
In April, I got to spend my spring break – 11 days – in Italy. The trip was rich with history, culture, and especially food. : ) We spent most of our time in Rome, but made this day trip out to hike Cinque Terre where there are some beautiful hiking routes along the Italian coast.
This hiking area is full of sweeping views, crisp and salty Mediterranean air, seaside life…
The main hiking trail also takes you through 5 small coastal Italian towns, where you find your way through small, winding, complex Italian alleys….
I am so honored to be Freshly Pressed! Thank you to WordPress and to you blog readers – so exciting! I love reading all your comments – so uplifting to hear your memories of Budapest, your plans to visit. This city has made such an impact on us all. : )
A few final words about my Hungary visit – I was so struck by the inspirational architecture around every corner! Every street looks different, every building has its own personality.
From shingled roofs and old, colorful buildings…
…to bright, vivid paint…
…and beautiful patterns…
…or even purple accents and highlights…
… and the soaring marble of St. Stephen’s Basilica.
The interplay of colors and attention to architectural detail – both inside and outside the buildings – is fabulous. I could walk up and down the same street 10 times and notice something new with every pass. : )
The first thing I saw when I crossed the river: it reads, “confidence in the ancient virtue,” the royal slogan of Franz Josef I, head of the Austro-Hungarian Empire….
The narrow, uphill streets on this side of the river catch gorgeous shafts of light in the evening….
At the top of the hill, in the Castle District, there are clusters of 19th century buildings…
…along with Hungary’s famous Fishermen’s Bastion, an expansive neo-Gothic terrace with great views of the city and the river. Here’s one of its 7 towers….
And just south of the Fishermen’s Bastion is the Royal Palace/Buda Castle:
Buda, with its small, winding streets and Castle District, has a medieval feel, while Pest is flatter, urban, and more spread out. I loved crossing back and forth across this wide river between the two very different sides of Budapest. : )
I was in Hungaryt early last week for business, but I also had some free time to explore Budapest. The city has a really great vibe – a laid back, happening place that’s a little reminiscent of Prague with its ornate, colorful architecture.
First things first when I explore in Europe: gelato! One popular shop had this great tulip-shaped gelato – all the flavor, twice the fab. I had the chili chocolate. : )
10,000 Hungarian forint is about $50….
Summers in Budapest are h-o-t! There are lots of fountains all around to give you a chance to cool off…
And outdoor cafes are around every corner! The view at the end of this row of cafes is of St. Stephen’s Basilica, the founder-legend of Hungary and an early promoter of Christianity in the region….
Hungary’s famous Parliament building overlooks the Danube River….
Buda and Pest were two seperate cities on each bank of the Danube River until 1873. These photos all show the Pest side of the river. I also went across the river to explore Budapest: photos of the Buda side are posted here. : )