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. : )
A couple of weeks ago, I took a day trip out from Prague to Karlštejn. The small town is just a short train ride away through some of the Czech countryside, and the vibe is so different from the bustle of the capital.
The views around Karlštrejn are so scenic and calm….
Along one of the main streets of town, everyone has a driveway like this:
That main street connects to a moderate hiking path up a hill that leads to Karlštejn’s famous 14th century Gothic castle….
I really enjoyed the walk up to the top of the hill with its picturesque views!
At the castle, I took a 2 hour English tour explaining the history of the place and the old royal families, but no photos were allowed inside. The whole place is full of historic relics, royal portraits, twisting paths and staircases.
Back down in the village after the tour, people were out enjoying the breezy weather. The whole town has a relaxed and unhurried feeling, perfect for a short day trip.
I loved getting a chance to see some of the Czech countryside and the old castle. : )
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. : )
I just got back in Prague earlier today after a business trip to Budapest, Hungary. I’m in love with Budapest itself, and the road trip getting there was great, too!
From Prague to Budapest is about a 5 hour drive – across the Czech Republic, through Slovakia, and into Hungary.
From the road along the way, we could see large clusters of old Soviet-constructed buildings around the outskirts of cities. These are outside Brno, Czech Republic….
The Soviets’ theory was to build uniform apartment buildings so everyone would be equal, but today it’s an odd feeling to pass so many identical buildings.
We stopped to refuel in Slovakia, in the midst of vast cornfields….
At one point, we could see Austria and it’s windmills in the distance….
Coming into Hungary, we passed through an old, mostly untended border checkpoint. Because of the open border policies of the Schengen Agreement, this disused border station is falling into disrepair.
The road trip across part of Central Europe was a great way to see some of the countryside here. : )
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. : )
In front of St. Stephen’s Basilica…
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….
I’ll get back to Prague tomorrow evening. Stay tuned for more! : )
It’s been super busy this past week, and a lot has happened!
First, my Kindle broke. Then my iPod semi-broke. To keep the theme going, I broke my sunglasses… and after that my Internet went out.
So! Now I’m blogging from a cafe with WiFi in one of the malls here in Prague. The malls here seem taller than the ones at home – they’re usually around 4 or 5 floors. This way, they’ll fit better with the compact European buildings.