Sights and Sounds of Florence

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….

Uffizi courtyard.

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….

biciclettanatural split screen.

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….

bridging the Arno River.

…but by the warmer afternoon, the shops and walls along the bridge had changed into their famous palette of warm yellows, greens, and oranges….Ponte Vecchi

Florence had a very Italian feel, and it was awe-inspiring to be in the birthplace of so many famous works of art. : )

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Hiking along the Italian Coast

Cinque Terre

*edit* – you can check out a new video all about sketching and hiking Cinque Terre on my Youtube channel here: Hiking & Sketching Cinque Terre

I shared a few photos from our hike through Cinque Terre, Italy here. The seaside, the views – it’s lovely. : )

Cinque terre

We started out early in the day by grabbing some fruit at one of the small streetside markets….

Italian coast
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….

homemade.

fresh lemonade.

For lunch, we stopped in the harbor of one of the towns with some grab-and-go pizza….

Lunch while hiking Cinque Terre

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….

hilltop.

Everyone we passed would say “excuse me” in a different language. Scusi, permesso, entschuldigung, pardon…

Hiking cinque terre

Cinque Terre is famous for its beautiful scenery and seaside hikes, but its mixture of different visitors makes for a really unique atmosphere, too. : )

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One Tuesday at Cinque Terre, Italy

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.

riomaggiore.

seaside.
This hiking area is full of sweeping views, crisp and salty Mediterranean air, seaside life…

perch.
The main hiking trail also takes you through 5 small coastal Italian towns, where you find your way through small, winding, complex Italian alleys….

street.


Watch my Hiking & Sketching Cinque Terre travel vlog here.
Read all posts about Italy here.

Interesting architecture and inspiring personal touches accent the walls and streets throughout each of the towns…

mixed media.
italian.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about some of the food we came across as well as the atmosphere of our hike Cinque Terre! See you then. : )

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Late Afternoons on the Vltava River

Late afternoon and early evening are my favorite times of day to be around the Vltava River here in Prague.

In good weather, people always come out for paddle-boat sightseeing….

vltava.

And the light slanting in at this time of day is beautiful, giving all the riverside architecture a timeless look…

riverside buildings.

…as well as adding extra sparkle to Prague’s gilded accents…

gilded.

And the sparkle of the water as the sun sets is the finishing touch to the great atmosphere.

close to evening.



 
What’s your favorite time of day? : )

Read more posts about the Czech Republic here.

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Walking through Prague

I had a couple of days off work this week, and I spent the extra free time wandering the streets of Prague. I love taking in the city by exploring and meandering. : )

Today, I started my walk near the Vltava River….

cafe.

The restaurants along this part of the riverside have a great view of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

restaurant with a view.

Later, I tried this traditional Czech/Slovak bread. It’s a good, quick snack – perfect for my walk. I loooved the taste of cinnamon.

czech bread.

Then I walked up and down these streets, near the castle…

one way.
downhill.

…where I came across this bakeshop selling goodies through the window!

windowsill.

Where did you walk today? : )

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Hungarian Architecture

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…

hungarian architecture

…to bright, vivid paint…hungarian architecture

…and beautiful patterns…

patterns.

…or even purple accents and highlights…
color accents.

… and the soaring marble of St. Stephen’s Basilica.
overview.

dome.

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. : )

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Across the Danube River

I posted some photos from the Pest side of the Danube River in Budapest, and now here’s some more from the Buda side!

Riverbank in Budapest

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….

confidence in the ancient virtue | Budapest

The narrow, uphill streets on this side of the river catch gorgeous shafts of light in the evening….

play of light | Budapest

streetview.

At the top of the hill, in the Castle District, there are clusters of 19th century buildings…

rooftops.

…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….

fishermen's bastion.

And just south of the Fishermen’s Bastion is the Royal Palace/Buda Castle:

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. : )

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Welcome to 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. : )

tulip-shaped gelato.

10,000 Hungarian forint is about $50….

Hungarian forint.

Summers in Budapest are h-o-t! There are lots of fountains all around to give you a chance to cool off…

summer heat.

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….

budapest st. stephen's basilica

Hungary’s famous Parliament building overlooks the Danube River….

budapest

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. : )

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Standing There in Budapest, Part II

I posted photos of where I’ve been walking in Budapest yesterday, but somehow I forgot this one! It was the first photo I took – when I got a little lost on my first day….

Look out for my next post, “A Central European Road Trip,” later tonight! : )

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Standing There in Budapest

Just a quick update…

I’ve been working in Budapest, Hungary for a couple of days – this city is great! I really love it.

When I get back to Prague, I’ll have more time to show you some more photos – but until the big reveal, here’s some sneak-peak photos of where I’ve been walking. : )

budapesti.

In front of St. Stephen’s Basilica…
rim.

fell.

There was an onslaught of rain tonight! I ran through Budapest in the rain to get back to the tram that would bring me home, and took this photo inside the tram….
rain.
I’ll get back to Prague tomorrow evening. Stay tuned for more! : )

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