italy

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Well the summer holidays are kind of at an end with me working (although I am hoping there are still a good month, or two!, of summer here still), but I thought it was time to share some of what I got up to in the summer. Aside from our familymoon which I will share photos of later (I only had my film camera for that), we did a few little trips on our own.

First up was one of our ‘local’ towns which is about an hour away called Aquiliea. It was an important town in Roman times, was one of the biggest cities in the world in the second century AD and was an important Christian centre during that period. Now the town is a lot more modest with a population of only 3,500. The main ‘pull’ of the town is the Roman town that is slowly being uncovered (where possible). There is a self-guided tour around the town on which you see the ancient forum, some roads and a harbour.

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There are also a beautiful basilica and a former convent that have absolutely beautiful fifth century mosaics that cover a large expanse of floor. The floor is kind of warped in some places but it is amazing how much of the mosaic is still around. It kind of makes me feel like I should take up mosaic. I am sure there are trendier ways of it being done than I remember from my childhood. Aren’t all those ‘old crafts’ cool now?

We climbed up the bell tower which isn’t too many steps, but they are always so narrow. I suppose back in the day it was just used by one guy going to ring a bell and who wasn’t competing with other tourists coming back down or going up.

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Plus there is a cute cat.

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And a pizza restaurant which advertises itself with a giant pizza slice.

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We didn’t go to the archeological museum but there is always next time.

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Don’t you love when you come across a hashtag on Instagram that no-one else is using. It works as a great ‘filing system’. I have started ‘filing’ my images into several categories and #buildingsoftrieste is one I started to tag all my photos of the buildings I capture in Trieste. There sure is some fancy architecture around here and it is great when I want to brag to friends or family who haven’t visited yet to show them the beautiful city I live in.

I also tag my food pictures with #mycreativeeats. I love food and this is a great repository for mini-recipes (you know the kind that are just ingredients thrown together and not really recipes at all). I also just started #mypancakeclub which I would love people to share their own pancake inspiration to. Just a unique topping or addition to the mix. I love pancakes!

Moving on from my own ‘creations’. I love #notmynonni (nonni being grandparents in Italian) from @notmynonni. Italy’s elderly make up a large chunk of the population and they are such brilliant characters.

I’ve found participating in hashtag challenges (is that what you would call them) or just tagging pictures are a great way of coming across new (to me) Instagrammers (particularly in my new part of the world) and a friendly way to grow my Instagram following. Though I suggest when hashtagging don’t go overkill!

So tell me how do you use hashtags and what are some of your favourites? And also how irritating is it that you can’t click on tags on the Instagram website?!

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We had our first summer visitor this week and we did a little bit of exploring. The weather put on a great show and we had to head to the beach. Now, when I say “beach” this is a bit different to what I grew up with at home, ie sand gradually giving way to sea, with waves either gentle or aggressive. The beaches here are cement stretches that turn to rocks with a drop into water where you can’t touch the ground. I have to say though, that even though the beaches themselves might not be as pretty to photograph I prefer the fact that I don’t get sand all over me when applying sunscreen and that there aren’t really waves which I am still kind of nervous of as an adult. Plus the water is much warmer than that in Cape Town.

We decided to take a little boat trip across the harbour to the fishing village of Muggia. I hadn’t yet visited so it was new for me too, which is always fun.

The beach is a strip that admittedly looks onto the industrial complex that stretches between Trieste and Muggia although the water itself is clear and lovely! It is the village itself that is quite lovely. We didn’t go into any of the churches (as we were in shorts) and ignored the sign for the medieval castle assuming it would probably just be a shell. After wondering around and snapping pictures for about 15 minutes we simply found somewhere to eat and settled down for about an hour in the heat of the day.

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We settled on ‘Trattoria Splendor’ which seemed like somewhere the locals headed and had a simple but delicious pasta with mushrooms. The lady (who we assumed was the owner) thought we were absolutely crazy for wanting to sit outside (in the shade) when it was so cool inside. After muttering a lot while taking our orders she promptly sent her husband out with our drinks and food. He was a delightful flirty old gent of the kind that you find quite endearing. I would recommend anyone to try it out if you just so happen to be in the area, the menu is predominantly meaty however.

I’m looking forward to heading back with other visitors in the coming months, and maybe I’ll duck inside one of the churches.

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This month for the #1day12pics challenge I went with a theme again. It was suggested by Lauren who thought that “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” would be appropriate as I am getting married this month. It was great fun and not too hard to fit into the theme as it was the most beautiful blue sky day (which has since continued). I love this as it gives a great insight and will be a lovely reminder to me in the future of our first summer here in Trieste.

I took part using my iphone and posting on Instagram again, I did struggle a little bit to keep it to every hour but did take 12 pictures.

I thought I would share the pictures in reverse. Above is the gorgeous sunset that ended the day while we were having a bbq at our friends’ house. I am currently a little obsessed with the blue sky in the evenings. This was about 9pm and hence a big jump in the ‘hourly’ rate.

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6(ish): A new necklace (worn to bbq). Who says you can’t put a little effort in, even when hanging out with friends at home? | 5(ish): Blue plastic bottle (reflection) filled with ‘frizzante’ water. | 4(ish): Two churches in Trieste which are pretty old. The one on the left is 17th century and the one on the right is 12th century. Taken while walking home. | 3(ish): Trying a new gelato flavour.

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2(ish): reading in the shade. This seemed a popular book on my feed! I love this classic cover but this one from (I think) Rob Ryan is truly beautiful. | 1(ish) Shorts season! A new pair as I haven’t worn shorts in years but after the temperatures this week (a consisten 32ºC) think I will need a ton more. | 12(ish) Watching the world go buy while sitting on the pier. What better way to spend a blue sky day. | (11ish) Said blue sky.

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10(ish) Laundry feels more manageable when the sky will dry it in a few hours. 9 (ish) breakfast for two with ‘borrowed’ plates (ie come with the rental). It was about the only way I could squeeze borrowed in.

I haven’t shared the 12th picture of a fan which I took on waking up. We have an old ceiling fan. I have to say I just wasn’t that happy with the picture and will probably delete it from Instagram. I suppose the one problem with Instagram (and that I have particularly found with challenges) is that you just take and share and sometimes even as you are sharing it you know it is not your ‘best’ stuff. This is also a problem I have found with my ’100 happy days’ challenge’ as what makes me happy isn’t always that photogenic. Posting on a blog allows more time for consideration while as Instagram is … instant.

What are your thoughts. Have you gone back and deleted Instagram pictures?

Also don’t forget to link up if you took part and posted on your blog or Instagram.

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This weekend was one of those calm relaxing kinds. Lots of our friends went away for the weekend but saving for the wedding / honeymoon meant we stuck to home this time around.

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Friday was the only day with decent weather forecasted and we went for a long walk to make the most of it. Up the hill in the middle of town. Noted how green things were looking. Spotted some places we want to try out. Discovered an awesome new bakery / coffee shop / bar / live jazz bar (is that not just the best combination ever). We ate focaccia for lunch. Then gelato from a place we hadn’t tried. Then we sat in the main square and enjoyed the sunshine and people watched.

Saturday was rain. Discovered a new amazing woodwork shop where I want everything. There is a wall decorated with rolling pins. A workshop which has a glass ‘wall’ so you can see what is going on. And you can buy wooden block houses by weight! We met a friend for an afternoon coffee (at the place discovered Friday). That turned into a drink and then waiting for two hours for them to slice up all the bread that hadn’t sold which was then served as complimentary bar nibbles. They served it with hummus and tapenade. A simple dinner but so good. I wonder if free dinner with drinks is the best part of this place? Then gelato. Or that?

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Sunday more rain. Out for a wonder despite the rain. It cleared up and we met friends for a drink in the main square. The clouds cleared for the most gorgeous sunset.

Monday more rain. Tim made breakfast. For lunch we were craving piadini and headed out despite the rain. Another new gelato place we wanted to try was closed. Got home and a friend messaged. I went out to join her for a hot chocolate (thick with hazelnut bits). Then a drink. Then home for leftovers because the shops hadn’t been open for two days (oops, we’re not in England anymore).

Looking forward to the next two weekends which are also long ones!

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0855 On the train to Venice. Out of the window picture number one.

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0932 From sunshine in Trieste it had become slightly foggy. Hopeful that it would clear! Out of the window picture number two (it is a two hour ride to Venice). I like to pretend which rambling, falling down farmhouse I will buy when travelling on the train through the countryside.

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1015 Coming into Venice – still foggy (iphone pic)

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1151 First on the itinerary (after a cornetto) was a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. I loved spending the day with this guy. He loved staring intently at Pollacks. I suppose this is a place that will always be busy. At this time of year when there are slightly fewer tourists it was pretty packed with school groups. But it is an amazing collection with Picasso, Pollack, Twombly, Miro and many more.

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1222 The blue sky made an appearance. The rest of the day was weather perfection.

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1320 On the search for some food. We passed through St Mark’s Square but for this trip I was keen to explore the quieter parts of the island city so we continued on to the Castello area. It is incredibly hard to find vegetarian food in Venice that isn’t in one of the tourist restaurants (and thus not really great food anyway). I did some research to find a vegetarian friendly lunch at a little cafe called Le Spighe. It is pay by weight for a variety of options of salads, pies, etc. The food was good but it was pricey for what it was (€27 for 2 plates of food – not piled high – and a shared cola).

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1428 After lunch we headed to a greenhouse which has been restored and turned into a nursery/coffee shop. We had an afternoon spritz and some biscuits. Weird combo but that’s allowed on your birthday. Right?

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1536 This park at the end of the islands was perfect for a wander and a relax.

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1600 Walking around the quiet neighbourhoods there is lots of washing hanging up. If I lived in Venice I would live in this area just because the streets are wider and houses must get more light inside. The little warrens around the more central areas must lead to very dark apartments.

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1734 Gelato time! This is from Il Doge. A bit too cold but the Crema del Doge flavour is awesome – cream with chocolate drizzle and candied orange.

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1854 More walking. I forgot how much distance there is between places and how if you don’t want to take a waterbus (which costs €7 a trip) it can take a long time to get around. The places I wanted to try out were pretty far apart. Too far apart as it turned out because by the time we found the little bar where I wanted to get an evening apertivo it was too late and we had to head to the station to catch our train home. Trying to find the place in the maze of streets which we passed did mean that I captured this beautiful light though.

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1936 Farewell Venezia. Until next time.