Italy, 2015

One more post from our 3 weeks in Europe! My Aunt went back home after a week in Istanbul and my Mom and I continued on to Venice. We spent two nights in an adorable B and B about two blocks from Saint Marc’s Square where we found Tom Hanks filming Inferno. We toured the Doge Palace, wandered around the canals, took a Gondola ride and then topped off our last night with a Vivaldi concert in an old cathedral.

From Venice we took the train to Florence where we visited the famous Duomo and Pitti Palace.

We left Florence and headed to Sorrento via Naples (one of the most chaotic places I’ve ever been). Sorrento served as a base for taking day trips to Capri, Positano/ the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii.

We capped our trip off with two nights in Rome. We visited Rome for 10 days back in 2006 so we didn’t feel the need to spend a lot of time there, but a short visit was perfect. Rome is just as spectacular as I remember.

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Approaching Venice in the water taxi
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St. Marc’s Square where they were filming Inferno

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St. Marc’s Horses taken from Istanbul!
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Bridge of Sighs

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Duomo. Florence
Duomo. Florence
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Looking up at the Duomo
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Ponte Vecchio
Pitti Palace. Florence
Pitti Palace. Florence
Florence Rooftops
Florence Rooftops
Statue of David. Florence
Statue of David. Florence
atop our Sorrento rooftop
atop our Sorrento rooftop
about to enter the Blue Grotto in Capri
about to enter the Blue Grotto in Capri
inside the Blue Grotto
inside the Blue Grotto
Traffic outside the Blue Grotto
Traffic outside the Blue Grotto
Siren art in Capri
Siren art in Capri
church in Capri
church in Capri
view from Capri
view from Capri
Capri
Capri
Chairlift to the top of Capri
Chairlift to the top of Capri
Capri
Capri
Positao Amalfi Coast!
Positao Amalfi Coast!
Positano, Amalfi Coast
Positano, Amalfi Coast
Positano
Positano
Positano Amalfi Coast
Positano Amalfi Coast
Positano beach
Positano beach
King Triton looking over the Amalfi Coast
King Triton looking over the Amalfi Coast
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garden in Ravello, Amalfi Coast
garden in Ravello, Amalfi Coast
garden in Ravello, Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Cathedral
Amalfi Cathedral
Town of Amalfi
Town of Amalfi
Pompeii!
Pompeii!
Pompeii
Pompeii
Pompeii
Pompeii
Piazza Navona, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome
Spanish Steps at night. Rome
Spanish Steps at night. Rome

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Vatican
Vatican
Vatican
Vatican

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed these photos from Italy! I hope my next visit to this beautiful country is not in the distant future. I would love to return to the Amalfi Coast and spend some more time in Florence/ Tuscany.

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standing with my trusty Canon Rebel in Sorrento 
Italy, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey 2015

This trip marks my mini sabbatical in between jobs and before I start graduate school in August. Needless to say, I won’t have very much free time for a real vacation for a while…We spent one week in Turkey and then two weeks touring around Italy. I decided to write two separate posts for Turkey and Italy since there is a lot to cover for both places.

In Istanbul we stationed ourselves in the Sultanahmet neighborhood or the “Old City” at the Seven Hills Hotel about a five- minute walk to the Ayasofya aka Hagia Sophia, Cisterns, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. These places are the main tourist attractions and if you only have a couple days in Istanbul it is a very convenient area to stay in. Some of the other places not in Sultanahmet that I highly suggest visiting are the Grand Bazaar (goes without saying), Galata Tower, Istiklal (the New City), Taksim Square, the Asia side of town, Chora Church, Ortakoy Mosque (my favorite mosque) and to take a Bosphorus Cruise.

If you like history, food, shopping and are looking to go somewhere that will both excite you and welcome you with open arms then go to Istanbul! Someday when I return to Turkey, I would like to visit Ephesus, Cappadocia and head north to the Black Sea.

On another note- we felt completely safe. There is a lot of buzz about safety traveling in Istanbul but we never once felt insecure. Obviously be sure to take precaution when traveling anywhere but overall I felt safer in Istanbul than a lot of western cities.

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Ayasofya
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In front of the Blue Mosque
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Blue Mosque
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Mom inside the Blue Mosque
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Mom inside Ayasofya
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Aunt Lynda and Mom outside Ayasofya
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Turkish Coffee outside of Topkapi Palace
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Another grand food presentation at Topkapi Palace. Sitting next to the Bosphorus
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Interior inside the Harem of Topkapi Palace
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Making my Turkish Kebab. Both delicious and entertaining
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Inside the amazing and crazy Spice Bazaar!
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Spice Bazaar
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Outside Istanbul University.
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Inside the Grand Bazaar
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Inside the Grand Bazaar. Evil Eyes is a common motif and souvenir. It wards off jealousy and evil spirits/ intentions.
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Hand of Fatima outside of a Mosque.
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Ortakoy Mosque next to the bridge connecting Europe and Asia.
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A dizzying shot of the ceiling in Ortakoy Mosque.
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Me sitting on the floor in Ortakoy Mosque. You must remove your shoes and women must cover their heads before entering any mosque.
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Inside Ortakoy Mosque.
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One more shot of my favorite Mosque.
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Galata Tower
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Istiklal Neighborhood

 

Istanbul, Turkey 2015

Big Sur Camping 2015

 

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perspective on nacimiento road
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where the mountains meet the sea
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waking up in the woods
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misty hikes

 

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zinfandels at napenthe
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bixby bridge
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above the clouds
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bixby bridge

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Big Sur Camping 2015

Brazil 2014/ 2015

After a long journey home I’m forcing myself to fight through the jetlag to share these photos from Brazil! I tagged along with my friend Mika and her family to Rio de Janeiro and Iguassu Falls. This was my second visit to the falls. We spent about a week touring Rio and had a special opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve there. Rio de Janeiro boasts one of the best NYE celebrations in the world with its extravagant fireworks show on Copacabana beach. Rio is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world and I know I will return someday. Obrigado Brasil!

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Iguassu Falls view from Brazil side
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Mika’s Lokai bracelet
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Iguana outside the hotel!
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our hotel the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
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caipirinha!
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iguassu

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the catwalk on the edge
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on Ipanema beach in Rio
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the gondola on the way to sugar loaf
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view of rio city lights from sugar loaf at dusk
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copacabana from our hotel room
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santa tereza steps

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at santa tereza
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at santa tereza
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on the way to corcovado to see christ the redeemer
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cristo from the back
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christ the redeemer.. lots of tourists..
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christ the redeemer
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christ the redeemer from the side
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Ipanema!
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Ipanema!
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view of rio from corcovado/ christ the redeemer
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corcovado view II
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hanging out on copacabana!
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nye fireworks!
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nye fireworks show on copacabana
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nye fireworks on copacabana!
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instagram photo being tourists at christ the redeemer
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at the maracana world cup stadium! sitting on the team bench
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press seats at maracana world cup stadium

_MG_0798 -here are the photos Mika’s parents took-

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on the boat about to get soaked at iguassu!
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on the boat about to get soaked at iguassu!
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watching the NYE fireworks on copacabana with mika and her siblings
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view from sugar loaf at dusk
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at iguassu
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eating brazilian bbq
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about to take shots of underberg

 

Brazil 2014/ 2015

The Animals of Ferdinand’s Familia Rescue Ranch

This is a photo series of some of the animal residents at the rescue ranch where I volunteer, Ferdinand’s Familia. The ranch provides a no-kill sanctuary for large animals that have been neglected, abused or rescued from dire situations. They live a happy life near the beach with a lot of TLC from a group of amazing volunteers and animal lovers. Here are some images of the beautiful resilient animals at Ferdinand’s Familia. _MG_9828

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The Animals of Ferdinand’s Familia Rescue Ranch