I was coming from Ljubljana and on my way to Florence (more on that wonderful mess later). The Slovenian carpool I'd taken dropped me off in Venice so I could catch my train to my final destination. I'd been to Venice before: it was March of 2010, I hadn't fully transitioned to shooting in manual (see here and here), and I caught a cold.
This time was different. It was late summer, it was still fairly swarmed with people, and I had two hours. I had big plans to find an old bookshop but, of course, got lost. I think it worked out better this way. I caught glances of quiet squares and deserted canals. It was past noon so although the sun hadn't quite hit golden hour, it allowed me to see the city in a warmth I missed that March years ago.
And although I began to panic and wasn't sure if I'd make it back in time for my train, it was well worth it because seeing Venice always is.
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Having moved 18 times before I turned 18, home has always been an unfamiliar concept to me. It was one that I yearned for, but hadn't quite found for myself.
Then I studied abroad in Florence. I stayed with the sweetest host parents, I was immersed in a new culture, and before I knew it-- an entire city felt like home. I learned to communicate in a new language. I discovered my love for photography. But most importantly, I learned first-hand that you can belong anywhere.
And by some kind of magic, I have the opportunity to go back.
For the past few years, DaVinci Wine has hosted a "Storyteller Experience" in which four artists are invited to spend a week with them in Tuscany to give their own take on the DaVinci story. After seeing Leela's adventures last year, I became so nostalgic that I bookmarked my calendar to keep an eye out to enter the contest this year. And I'm a finalist!
If you have a moment, I would really appreciate your vote to get me back to Italy. Anyone can vote every day now through July 31st.
I feel extremely honored for the opportunity to discover new adventures in my adopted home country-- and for the chance to see my host parents again.
The Amalfi Coast is like another world-- in about a million ways. Buses come and go as they please, restaurants and shops operate on their own agendas, and locals carry on as if nothing has changed. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for anything south of Rome.
Admittedly, there were hiccups. When you depend on public transport and all lines are unpredictable, you can't make plans. It took a while to get to this point, but the coast is best when you let go of your schedule, find a secluded inlet, and let the Mediterranean waves guide you instead.
Even apart from its falling leaves, Orvieto was beautiful. We stumbled into a tiny ceramics shop and spoke to the owner who made everything herself. Seeing her brushes and glazes made me miss the wheel so much. At the end of our conversation, she wished us a "buona vita." So sweet.
We went on an underground tour then saw more stray cats than anywhere else in Italy. I was being uncharacteristically picky about where to eat for lunch and only settled when we found a tiny hole in the wall with handwritten notes from visitors everywhere. I had truffle pasta, David had polenta with wild boar, we shared the wine.
There isn't much else, but I think the town was the most charming in its simplicity. It had the narrow alleyways decorated with vines and bathed in sunlight all along buildings were worn throughout the centuries-- everything you'd imagine Italy to be.