Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Italy|A Life-Changing Experience June 7th-8th

June 7th-8th

When I think of Venice I can't help but smiling. I think one of my most treasured moments while in Italy was our journey headed to Venice. Yes, a train decided not to show up, we were stranded in a train station, we had to run through a station with our packs to catch the train, and to top it off it was raining most of the time. But there was just something about going through all of this with our group that made it memorable, fun and exciting. God really blessed this trip with some amazing people and it was great getting to know each person more and more throughout each day. 
As we arrived in Venice it was impossible not to be in awe of this city on the water. No car's, no trees. It was so surreal and enchanting. Venice was definitely one of the most romantic places I have ever been to. It was unreal. It felt like I was stuck in a Fairy-tale. As we walked off of our train and faced the Grand Canal I was speechless! 

Enjoy my attempt at capturing The Floating City...

Piazza San Marco
The lights, water and live music was the perfect romantic setting...beautiful.

June 8th

The best cappuccino I have or will ever have. I guess being in St.Marks square and enjoying the live band could have played a big part in that. It was priceless. I will never forget it!

Lovely Jasmine!  I love and miss her.

Gondolas, bridges and Canals...no big deal. ha
The Grand Canal!

Rain, Umbrellas and St.Marks Piazza...could it get better??

Something about the Grand Canal at night...Its like a whole other world.

Goodbye Venice....for now.

More to come.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Italy-A Life-Changing Experience|Cinque Terre June 5th-6th

Italy|Cinque Terra
June 5, 2011

We started this day with an early morning shoot at Trevi Fountain, a cappuccino and chocolate croissant. It was amazing being able to soak in Trevi Fountain without the distractions or crowds of hundreds of people. It was so beautiful.
I left Rome full of history, awe, excitement and a different outlook on my purpose called life. We've only been in Italy for 3 days and I was so overwhelmed and excited that we still had 7 days left! We had our packed lunches for the trip to our next destination and we boarded a train headed to Cinque Terre, "The Five Lands". A few words you will hear me repeat to describe this city are:
Fascinating, Refreshing, Beautiful, Fabulous, Natural, Relaxing, Charming,
 Angelic, and Amazing.
We got off the train, legged up a pretty steep hill, 20lb pack on back and all, (which i must say was not the easiest task), to our hostel at the top of the hill. We stayed in one of the five cities named Manarola. This amazing view and refreshing breeze was definitely worth every step up that hill.
Our hostel

 I have to say that every city we visited in Italy God spoke to me in areas I was lacking in faith or conviction.  Manarola being one of the major times Jesus did an amazing work in me and opened my eyes to some major issues I was facing and/or the lack of facing them.  I was able to reflect and meditate on a lot during this relaxing time in Cinque Terre.
 One of the views from the top of the hill where our hostel was located.
Cinque Terre is most popular for its Wine, Pesto and delicious Frocaccia bread. One of the charming aspects of Cinque Terre is the lack of visible corporate development. It was so natural. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars were unable to reach the city from the outside.

 On the first night in Cinque Terre we had a fabulous time out in this quaint city and we were able to do a night shoot of the coast of Manarola.
 Manarola, the coast and light equal an angelic shot. This image still cannot compare the beauty of Cinque Terre.

June 6, 2011
The hike from  Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza

We started this day walking the Via Dell'Amore|"Love Walk". A little history regarding the Love Walk is that Cinque Terre towns were extremely isolated until the last century. Villagers rarely married anyone from outside their town. After World War II, the trail was reopened, and became established as a lovers’ meeting point for boys and girls from the two towns.This new walking trail changed the social dynamics between the two villages, and made life much more fun and interesting for courting couples. As we walked the trail we would see several padlocks. You and your lover were to close the padlock in a romantic spot and it was to lock your love together. It was fun to see the graffiti of lovers on the walls and rocks along the pathway. It all added and made this Via Dell'Amore. 

Some of the few padlocks. So romantic. 

 The graffiti. 

 Two beautiful girls. Inside and out. 

So at first I thought: "We are in one of the most relaxing cities in Italy and I have the option to either relax on the beach and shop or hike one of the hardest hikes of the five hikes in Cinque Terre. ha" I decided to go with the latter. I did this hike because I was both terrified and curious if I could or could not do it. I laugh looking back now. God really used this time to show me that I need to depend on Him. I don't claim to be the most fit girl, there were definitely times I was crying out to God to get one foot in front of the other. But God never fails. I am glad I pushed myself. ha
 One of the beautiful views from the hike of Monterosso.
 Almost to the city of Vernazza. This view alone made this hike worth every step. 

 Heading down to Vernazza. Ha 

The amazing sunset from the  Via Dell'Amore
Jasmine, Angelina and I were able to hang out here on our last night in Cinque Terre. We had an amazing time talking and laughing about life.

 Goodbye Cinque Terre! Oh how I loved you. I cannot wait till the day I return to you.

Ciao for now!

Love Birds|Josh and Jinous

Josh is not only my uncle, but he my friend and brother. I have always looked up to Josh. I am always able to go to him for questions and insights. I love him. He will always be a roll model. Jinous is his adorable, sweet girlfriend. You can't help but like her. Together they are the Love Birds.
 Josh came to me the other day and wanted a new profile picture. ha so I pulled out my camera and we had fun being goofy and pulling out the little, cute personalities of both Josh and Jinous! We like to have fun!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Italy|A Life-Changing Experience June 4th,2011

Italy|June 4th, 2011
St.Peter's Basilica.The Vatican

Not quite sure where to start. The Vatican was both overwhelming and amazing...God used this day to show me some amazing things about myself. The only thing I regret was not being able to spend more time inside the Basilica. I look forward to going back and being able to spend the day inside St.Peter's.
We started this Saturday morning standing in one of the longest lines. Not to go in, but to climb the 320 steps to the top of the dome. Up, up and up we went. ha
Gotta love narrow, steep steps!
Madey! My stair buddy!
Almost to the top....

 Inside the dome! Beautiful. Its so frustrating because pictures couldn't even compare to being there in person. 

 What a view!
 Awe! The breathtaking view that was worth every 320 steps!!

Piazza di San Pietro

 Joelle and I looking good on top of the dome! Love her!
 Inside the Basilica! 
Pictures cannot even come close to the awesomeness of this cathedral. I had to stop taking pictures because I was so overwhelmed with each immaculate detail.  This is literally all the pictures I took inside of St.Peter's...enjoy!
 One of the leaders brought up some soul searching issues...As a child of Christ I am a temple of my Lord. My temple should be holy and as awesome in Christ. Does my soul compare at all to this cathedral? It should be, if not more. I aspire for my soul to be more and more beautiful for Christ.

I can't wait to return to St.Peter's Basilica. One day.

.....Ciao! More to come.