Pais Vasco, Pintxos And Rioja

I am sure that there is way more to Pais Vasco than the food and wine it is famous for – pintxos and Rioja. And yet, when I am sitting down to write the introducing words for the few photos I have taken there, my taste buds are still feeling the awesomeness Pais Vasco and Navarre cooked for us.

We found ourselves on a plane to Bilbao at the end of August. My wife had an A4 sheet with printed “Bride” stuck on her hands-on language and mine was saying “Groom”. People at the gate looked at us and smiled, while we were way too excited to think about anything else but what has just happened and the awaiting five days in Pais Vasco.
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Ah, Verona!

For the past seven years, Verona was always the first major dispatch train station on our trips in Italy. We get on the train in Munich and we either change there or in Bologna. We have never had more than an hour to spend at Verona Porta Nuova.

I kept on promising that we will make a dedicated visit to Verona. I remember the first time I set foot in the ancient city back in 1993. It was a short stopover on the way to Paris and I couldn’t see much of the city, except Arena di Verona and the famous Casa di Giulietta’s balcony.

Fast forward 24 years and I am again there, this time with much more time to devote to the exploration of the old city. And I find myself mesmerised. For most of the time, I can’t even bring myself to pull the camera out of the backpack. I am looking at the old buildings, staring at the inscriptions on elements left from the Roman times, or simply trying not to body-check a fellow tourist.
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Brighton – An Unconventional City

Brighton is not the conventional and very British city you would expect to see when visiting the island. Its location, the see, and the many young people bring a slightly different taste.

Whether you are visiting the vibrant quarter named The Lanes with all its craftsmanship shops, restaurants and pubs, or you are just walking around, you are more prone to think of Brighton as a continental West European city than an English one it has houses all over the places as much as office business and some port moody condos for sale, in case you’re looking to settle down in the city.
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Southern France – La Joie De Vivre

Southern France is definitely among the places one has to visit at least once in a lifetime. And if you get lucky, you will take away more than you ever expected. But I’ll explain that a bit later.

Our trip was planned in advance. This certainly played a huge role, given we were travelling around Easter when the prices were spiking. The great thing about the trains of SNCF and the hotels is that you get really good deals if you book them at least couple of months in advance. Keep that in mind.

We set for Lyon as a first stop. The city is the original french gourmet capital. One can get to savour the local cuisine at best in Vieux Lyon quarter. On top of that, the local wines are simply amazing. Don’t go for the bottles, ask for vin de la maison (the house wine). For 10 days, we were not mistaken even once. Restaurants cater to their customers in the best way possible and wine plays a huge part in the whole user experience with the service. They know it and you will know it.
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Italia, Italy…

It is always hard to write about experiencing Italy. One returns from a trip to The Apennines thinking that photographs will be worked on immediately, the text for the blog post will be written, and the frames to go with it will be exported and ready for upload. Then life strikes and one is carried away…

Two years later, here it is – the proof an epic ten-day journey starting in Bologna and finishing in Naples. That very trip that took us to Florence, Siena and Rome on the way to our last stop. And the exploration of places, architecture and tantalising culinary wanderlust.

Visiting Italy is beyond seasons. The weather cannot stop you from seeing and tasting. She only asks you to keep the cap off you lens in your pocket and the eye on the viewfinder. She teases with salami and bread, wine and cheese, salty and sweet desserts… She is not at all only about pasta and pizza. She can offer you experiences you expected and some you have never suspected existed.

It is hard to put it all on paper. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I wouldn’t know how to do justice in describing the small family restaurant with four tables in Siena. The Egyptian waiter in Napoli, who made everything possible to make us feel good, or the mother and daughter from Salerno, who were giving us tips while dining next to us. I certainly wouldn’t know how to describe seeing a good friend from my time in Shanghai… after almost a decade of being apart.

Naturally, the endless walks among the archaeological bonanza in Rome, stomping around in old Firenze, browsing the narrow streets of Bologna and Siena, or discovering another Europe in Naples, all these experiences can only be lived.

And since I am not able to put Italy on paper, I’d like to do that through my photographs. Tell me what you think! Your comments are more than welcome.
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