Kit Mohr Photography: Blog https://www.kitmohr.com/blog en-us (C) Kit Mohr mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:13:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:13:00 GMT https://www.kitmohr.com/img/s/v-12/u627118074-o595658687-50.jpg Kit Mohr Photography: Blog https://www.kitmohr.com/blog 120 68 Getting great out of good https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/12/getting-great-out-of-good The grass is always greener. When your traveling in Ireland, it pretty much literally is. However, despite the landscape, it’s worth mentioning that Travel has its own very real demands on ones mental strength. 

Sometimes if your traveling with people, the sheer amount of time spent having to make minute to minute decisions that involve not only your time and experience but also your wallet, it make even the most perfect groups dynamics a tad tense. With our second day to explore the city, exhausted, half our crew sick, we were in just such a place. I mention this because I think it’s worth while saying that along side every picture of glamour and fun, there is a back story that for the large part in travel blogs, goes unmentioned. Whether it was the hours of research before you even left to find the right place to stay or the best deal on airfare, or in the moment right there on your dream vacation, sometimes things aren't perfect. I believe it’s the expectation of perfection that can ruin a good thing. 

So it’s Saturday morning, we are in Dublin, and tiredness has gotten the best of us. Which way do you lean into? Do you fight? Do you give into the stress and let the day be taken from you? No! You find grace for each other, take a power nap, get some coffee and seize the day!

Upon such seizing, my favorite personal moment was seeing this little piece of everyday life in Dublin, which was also an pleasant foreshadowing for the day, hint hint.

With a bit of recon work, right down the street I find a little coffee shop called Catherine's Cafe & Bakery (they were doing a bit of renovations, not sure if a name had been settled on) but locals seemed to be going in, so I followed suit. Another little gem, I brought the troops and we restored some much needed energy with a good Irish breakfast. I had a very filling chicken pie and flat white, go figure right?

Now to explore!

Ireland has a rich and rather violent history of religious affairs. The right to soil between Protestants and Catholics along with some very severe circumstances i.e potato famine, are a fairly solid proof that the Irish are a resistant bunch. Their church’s, those still standing, are quite spectacular given the circumstances of the people that built them. 

 

Along with a wandering through and around some of Dublin’s sacreds, we took some time wandering the streets to soak in whatever the next left turn would hold for us. 

The Penny Bridge is another favorite of mine, complete with the promises of many an ambitious couple, locking away their love to one another with witness by the white cast iron walkaway and the river flowing underneath.

Another such left turn took us meet Toby the horse. And for a brief ride down Thomas street complete with a van of Irish men sitting in traffic, singing us songs as we past by. 

Of course, No trip to Ireland is complete without a trip to a castle

In this case the Dublin Castle which is still used today to hold dignitaries most formal soirées.    

And to fit the wash, rinse, and repeat evening of successful adventure, we of course ended up in a pub with some Cottage Pie ( side note: Shepard’s Pie very hard to actually find in most places here) asbestos tongue recommended! 

Every challenge is a testament to how much getting out there and exploring is paid in full. Having fun takes some work, but it’s worth it.

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) adventure city dublin dublin castle europe ireland saint catherine of alexandria st. audoen's church of ireland travel tripkit https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/12/getting-great-out-of-good Sun, 03 Dec 2017 18:46:22 GMT
Da Da Da Dublin https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/da-da-da-dublin In all my wanderings abroad, it’s amazing what a little Wifi can accomplish.  On a day tour, on a plane for eight hours, you go were you go and you take pictures where you are taken.  But when you have actively to explore a city and no extra euro to spend on fancy international data plans, Wifi is a tool and a blessing. 

I like to map out where I go to get lost.  Bare with me here.  I like being lost, taking it in, wandering down the side street.  You never know what you may see or experience. However, I “Google Map” out my day and take screen shots of roads on the way to places that get great reviews by both locals and tourists.  So it takes me the time everyone else spends on their hair to do a little digging. 

We started our day at the first reasonable hour of our entire trip, 9 AM. With my trusty screenshots in hand we make our way over towards the trinity college area of Dublin for a spot of breakfast.

 And by spot, I mean a full Irish Breakfast.

Next we wander through to the Powerscourt shopping center, a building that is riddled with beauty, and selling some of Dublin’s higher end merchandise.  I take away some pictures and some small finds to pack in the ever-mounting suitcase of too many finds.

Grafton Street

Sure it may just be a street with stores, but something about it feels alive and buzzing.  We roll around from corner to corner powered by a sugary whirlwind of dough, a very popular trade of choice in Dublin as we found our way to get our fix in nearly every day. 

More shopping with a three story Disney store included because everyone needs a little Disney

One of my favorite feels from the city was the sheer number of talented musicians, here is one such lass.

This is what I mean by alive!  Just walking around, I picked up on many a local carrying around their instrument cases.  Which only made sense in the evening when all the local bars lit up with the sounds of live music and authentic sounds of city life.

Stumbling through the beautiful St. Stephens Green and the campus of Trinity College, we worked up quite an appetite we did in fact make our way to such a place of music and fun for a bite of stew and a pint to call it a night on a fully stewed stomach

 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) adventure dublin grafton powerscourt travel tripkit https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/da-da-da-dublin Sat, 25 Nov 2017 01:45:26 GMT
Oh Captain, My Captain https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/oh-captain-my-captain My captain, (Tim) my captain

If I thought “catching up” on sleep was a possibility before Ireland, it almost seems laughable now starting the second leg of our journey.  Its 6 am (1 am for you savvy followers)  and I’m the last awake and the first ready, praising my foresight of picking up a starbucks from the little corner market under our flat the night previous.  As I worship the five sips of coffee it holds for me, the rest of the crew makes the final touches in their grooming.  The crew now includes a Steve and a Lara, of which this adventure was originated, as today is a day for a proposal.  But to get there, a fifteen-minute walk into the Trinity College area is included aswell as a three hour bus tour. A Three Hour tourrrrrrr, Gilligan was not included.

We meet up with Lara’s sister, Courtney who is an amazing wedding photographer who jumped over just for two days for this event.  We take the back of the bus and get some shuteye, opening them to the Western bank of Ireland at the Cliffs of Moher.  We have an hour and half, to find a place for Steve to drop a knee and soak in all the salty air our lungs can hold.

 Going past a few safety barriers, we find the spot and Steve makes the move.  Although they may have had literal cold feet with the freezing mountain wind, there was no hesitation to be found and the proposal is a wild success with many a cheer from happy on-lookers. 

Of course we took some pictures too

So we naturally mixed some exploring with a bit of joyful memory making from peak to peak along the torrid sea side cliffs. These where probably my favorite photos from the trip, fitting that it was also one of my favorite days even being rushed along by our faithful Tim. 

Although this was the Cliffs of Moher tour, the majority of the day was spent traveling and getting to see more of Ireland.  Including lunch at a little village in Doolin.  Little Dooliner Beer, little chip, little fish, goes a long way. We were off again!

 We rolled past the The Burren, which is part of the County Clare.  It is known for its almost lunar like landscape from large sedimentary rocks, mostly composed of limestone. 

We have fifteen minutes here. I know, that is less than a hiccup for any photographer.  And I considered hiding between ridges; I was hailed back to the bus.  Shoot.

I will be back, I will drive my own car, and I will play on rocks.

Lastly, we drive on up to Galway, continuing Lucia’s obsession of recreating as many Ed Sheeran songs as she can.  

This quaint town was full of life and another place I wish I had at least night to take in.  This also provided an cultural experience for my fellow travelers as this was the first public bathroom they used and found themselves turning their pockets in for the change in order to pass through the turnstile entrance.  Disney? 

With only an hour here, we have enough time to walk from one end to the next and make our way back to the bus.  For the first time all day, we do not receive the cold stares as we make our way to the back as we were not the last on the bus.  Heading back to Dublin, our tour guide (Tim) and driver did a bang up job of giving us some historical understanding of Ireland from the Potato famine to the famed Obama gas station. That is no joke; it is truly a memorial to the Presidents visit to the country when he was seeing where some of his ancestors had once lived. 

Pulling back into the city, although the 14 hour day naturally would march oneself straight to bed, we put on our party boots and marched back out into the city to celebrate everlasting love and all that mushy stuff.  We kicked back a few Guinness’s (they really tastes different here) and listened to a few bands at Trinity bar and then over to the famous Temple Bar. 

What a day.

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) adventure cliffs cliffs of moher engagement galway ireland landscape the burren travel tripkit https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/oh-captain-my-captain Wed, 15 Nov 2017 01:24:13 GMT
Hop Skip Jump https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/hop-skip-jump 3 am feels more and more natural everyday and this morning, we literally jump out of bed to a little harmless spilling type accident that I so fortunately thought to wake us to.  No harm, no foul and certainly now an even earlier start to our day. 

Having spent the hour it takes to work out packing up the previous night, we get our feet to the ground and work our way over to a London Starbucks.  Yes, it tastes the same.  No, it costs more.  But this Starbucks was served in a small mall like area that housing an almost Figment like dry docked ship, in the middle of the courtyard. Even with coffee in me, it stayed put, so no fear, I was not still dreaming.

Surreal StarbucksSurreal Starbucks

Fueled up, we make our way down the riverside, soaking up the fog and cool air. We make our way over to the London Tower Bridge

London FogLondon Fog

If you are like me and grew up hearing the London Bridge song, learning that this bridge is in fact the TOWER bridge, is an important distinction to walk about in one’s accurate childhood landscape. The London Bridge, much less gusto. Sadly we did not get enough time to do the tour, but we had plenty to fully enjoy walking about, counting double decker buses, and loading up on some much needed souvenir supplies.

Lighted waysLighted ways

Tower StretchTower Stretch

One thing I've also enjoyed while wandering around, locks.  Sure, some have very cute stories of promises made to love one forever and forever contribute to the alkaline content of the rivers below by throwing away the keys. Many though, like bike locks, seem to hold great propose but looks very different in subtile ways everywhere I've been.  I particularly enjoy creating stories as I walk of the sentiments or placeholders the locks I stumble across hold in their keeping. 

RememberRemember

 

We said goodbye to London in a whirlwind of trying to get the right kind of train ticket to get over to the Gatwick Airport once again. Shucks Oyster card.  As for leaving Gatwick, the airport was actually very efficient, utilizing stations for getting through security and minimal lines.  

We flew Ryanair, which is an excellent cost save to hop around Europe and I was impressed by how easy it was to send a bag on without as much fuss over weight as we had received on Norwegian air getting over in the first place.  Plus they even had a nice hour delay which bought us enough time to try out Nado’s, another new favorite I’ll miss back in the states.

Layover NadoLayover Nado

After informing Dublin Customs that we are “on holiday”, we made our way into the city via the airport bus system that I would also give high marks to which included Wifi and stops in both English and Gallic. We even made some friends who were starting this process of moving from Spain in hopes of a better life in Ireland.  After helping them with what I hope was reliable directions, we found our way to our Airbnb in the Liberties District.  From our first steps on the cobblestone, we could already tell, we were walking on a place full of history.

It's all goodIt's all good

Since the next day promises to be FULL of adventure, we chowed down on some pizza and enjoyed the sounds of Dublin’s street lullabies.

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) adventure architecture london tower bridge travel tripkit uk https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/hop-skip-jump Sun, 05 Nov 2017 22:39:42 GMT
Stepping Out https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/stepping-out Stepping out

Coffee in the morningCoffee in the morning

Coffee is life and Pret’s are as to London as Starbucks is to America. 

Coffee in the morningCoffee in the morning

However, a Macchiato does not follow the same equation, as Lucia had the pleasure of finding out. I got my forth Flat White of the trip and we sat in a wee park enjoying the morning air before we shuffled down to the underground.  Despite several transfers and line hops, I will say that this tube network seemed far less daunting then some of my previous treks.  Partly from experience, lack of urine smell, and from the obvious benefit of understanding the very pleasant automated voice across the intercom letting us know that ALL LINES CLEAR. Even with the recent terrorist attacks, traveling about anywhere really didn’t provoke large amount of anxiety.  This benefited us greatly as today we found our way through platform 9 ¾ to the Wizarding Studio of Warner Brothers.

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

For those of you that are neither avid Harry Potter fans or Disney nuts, I’ll warn you now, you can skip ahead to tomorrow.

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Off the “real train” onto a double-decker bus that was fully shrink-wrapped to look like the night bus ready to transport all our wayward wizarding selves to the Warner Brother studio lot.  With tickets in hand and audio guides in place, we entered several holding rooms that get you reminded just how fantastic the world-wide phenomenon of the series really was (as if we were already loyal fans). With a magical screen unveiling, the gates to Hogwarts appears and we step into the great hall. From here, I’ll let you roam about some of my favorite pieces of the walking tour from Dumbledore’s office to Butterbeer.

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour! Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

 

 

Our 5 hours on set were rich minutes, and we easily could of spent another several had we borrowed Hermione’s time turner (last bad reference). 

Harry Potter Studio Tour!Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Alas, we were off to a surprise treat I had in store for Lucia. Many a track-passed-tree later we arrive...

Back in London!

This is perhaps the only exception to my own note about traveling in the Underground.  When jetting around down under around the evening rush hours in the heart of London, you are certainly not the only travelers savvy enough to utilize the convenience of the pipes.  So this was perhaps the one time I felt real anxiety getting about.  Not because I feared someone snagged our valuable Potter souvenirs, just general crowd anxiety and the sudden awareness of the lack of negative space in such a setting.

AladdinAladdinNothing like a bit of Disney while abroad

Thankfully, severe excitement propelled us forward and just in time to Prince Edward’s theater for a West End performance of Aladdin!

Two important notes for this experience

First off on the performance itself, having the privilege of having seen many a Disney on stage, I give this performance the highest marks.  Jasmine was, at times, hard to understand during her speaking role but paired vocally quite well with Aladdin, who had an incredible range and stage presence.  Genie did not disappoint either. Though often used as the focal point of comedy in Aladdin renditions, this Genie not only had the witty social commentary of West End caliber, but also had the pipes and the acting ability to be truly captivating.  Set design also receives high marks in my book, specifically the “cave” interior. All in all well worth attention.

Secondly, if you ever have the pleasure of seeing a show in the Prince Edward Theater, Lodge seats= an introverts dream seat. You are about Mezzanine level however forward in front of the second tier. Great perspective, you are able to catch some of the orchestra with out being all the way on the side like typical box seats.  I would actually plan a trip to this theater to see about any well-rated show just to be able to sit here again. No joke.

AladdinAladdinNothing like a bit of Disney while abroad

So we conclude our full day of  seemingly less foreign adventure in a foreign land, with a stop in the Fuller House which is at the lobby level in the Mad Hatter Hotel. 

At ten thirty, it is as you see here

Mad Hatter Hotel BarMad Hatter Hotel BarQuiet for a bar?

 

Completely empty!

The bartender (night guard of the hotel) assures me that during their peak season, this is a lively place to be indeed.  So as we sip of drinks, we imagine a boisterous crowd, praise the quiet that we actually have, and prepare ourselves for our last half-day in London.

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) adventure aladdin harry potter london travel tripkit warner brothers studio tour west end wizarding https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/11/stepping-out Wed, 01 Nov 2017 21:20:49 GMT
Sketch out adventure https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/10/sketch-out-adventure  

8 AM

That’s 3 am for all you Westerners. Four snoozes later, we are up, out the door, and one tube stop down at the London Tower Bridge station for a bite to eat at The Breakfast Club.

This where it's atThis where it's atThe Breakfast Club's finest sign

Your yoking right?Your yoking right?The Breakfast Club's lamp

As someone who does not relish the idea of breakfast, I was shocked just how much I enjoyed this meal.  This blast from the past styled diner seemed to be the more progressive crowd local feel.  I had my second flat white and I am reminded every time just how much more I like the coffee abroad.  Could be the espresso, could be the milk, could be that I’m on vacation. 

Flat White PerfectionFlat White PerfectionThe Breakfast Club's Finest coffee

 

Eggs Benedict ala chorizo, avocado perfection.  As well as probably the best service we had the entire trip.

More, always ask for moreMore, always ask for moreThe Breakfast Club's finest benedict

Good meal, Good start.  Back to the tubes to Westminster station to visit, you guessed it

 Westminster abbey

Tube stopTube stopThis is us

This 700 year old church packs quite the line, thanks to some good advice from Rick Steves, the online ticket helps you cut the line and head right in to grab your audio guide. 

Reaching heightsReaching heightsStill beautiful on a cloudy day

Before you turn the camera offBefore you turn the camera offIt's always in the detail

Sadly, no photography is allowed inside. If you like history though, it is packed full of it.  My favorite part was the literary wing including Jane Austin, who was one of the few ladies to make their way into the Abbey without having blue blood.  It was an experience to say the least, a tad overpriced at 25 pounds a pop, but well worth the visit once in a lifetime.  Plus, I made a friend.

Feathered FellowerFeathered FellowerMaking friends

 

Off to Tea time round two! Walking around the topside of London proved to be well worth the adventure, complete with a house for ducks.

Duck heavenDuck heavenJust the perfect place and where I need to live for forever

 

The Sketch

Yup, the right placeYup, the right place

Another high tea complete with flare and finesse.  Pink Pink Pink. From the seats to the wall, with bubbly poured over the tops of heads and caviar served by a man in pink. 

From start to finishFrom start to finish BubblyBubblyBetter from high up Quail QualityQuail QualityLittle Caviar anyone? Perfect tea setPerfect tea set

 

Complete with space aged pod bathroom and an acrylic self playing piano, this joint takes tea to a fun flare.

Groovy ToiletsGroovy ToiletsWhy can't every bathroom be a pod. Bathpods. Make it so.

 This unfortunately was meet with some of our toughest serving experience, which is ironic given my utmost respect for any tea server from sea to all the shining seas.  We didn’t let the slow downs get to us, and the lack of offered cake was not so much missed having finished off two pots of tea including a 1900 Pu-erh that was hands down one of my favorite teas yet. 

Finishing notesFinishing notesGood things come in small packages

Can’t get enough avocado sandwiches, can’t get enough fresh currant jam.

PerspectivePerspectiveCan't beat this sketch

Having done two first class teas back to back, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised how much attention to detail both had for the finger sandwiches.  The sweets were in fact sweet and of course well presented, however, the sandwiches showcased the tradition of the tea experience. 

Many a course, not enough timeMany a course, not enough timeGimme all of it, twice.

Less so a Sketch, more so a full portrait of full later, we took to walking since that seemed to help round one tea.  Got a peak at Buckingham Palace or the Palace of Ham as I affectionately call it.

The palace of hamThe palace of hamThe 99 percent on-looks the 1 percenters

I found no Jekyll in Hyde Park, just a perfect hide away tree.  If we had more days to enjoy in London, I would highly recommend a picnic here.

Hide away in HydeHide away in HydeMy second new home

To complete the day, a trip to Harrods for a quick rose pedal macaroon from Laduree. 

HarrodsHarrodsFeeling extra today?

This proved to be more challenging than an offline Google may have one believe, as this maze was as complicated as the Louvre. Everyone’s definition of fun varies, eh?

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) adventure class europe food blog foodkit harrods high tea hyde park kingdom london photography pretty in pink sketch sketch tea tea tea time travel travel photography tripkit uk united kingdom https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/10/sketch-out-adventure Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:59:20 GMT
Jack and Jill cross The Pond https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/10/jack-and-jill-cross-the-pond Let’s get this out of the way as far as informative blogging goes, Norwegian Air: you get what you pay for.   As for a 11 pm flight from MCO to Gatwick, London fortunately for me, that just meant a “dreamliner” where the dreams were questionable but the flight did it’s job. Lucia tells me the food was par for the course airline delicacies and the in-flight entertainment included some snoring neighbors (sorry, not sorry).  1 kilo over on your bag can cost you a pretty penny and don’t let the conversion trick you, over means over in metric too. My bag lost its handle on the way over but at least WE MADE IT TO LONDON, and a sudo-Disney hour wait a customs, just to make sure we felt as ease, I’m sure.

London!

Much like my previous abroad forays, I like to operate on Wifi only and level up my anxiety, builds character ya know.  Unlike my previous travels, everything was in English! So beyond a bit of well intentioned “pardons” and “excuse us”, we managed our way on the train, to infamous “tubes”, and on our way to The Mad Hatter Hotel (more on that later) for a quick, throw the dress and pants in the shower to steam, brush the teeth, back out the door, change.  

The tubeThe tubeFirst trip down under London

As many travel columns would remind you, take your first day slow while you adjust! As I would remind you, fool your energy-deprived body into total emersion and go have High Tea!

To the Savoy we must go

Tea TimeTea TimeTurn the corner to paradise

Tucked in a unsuspecting corner, The Savoy is a Fairmont Hotel that was built on the river Thames in five years and opened on August 6th, 1889. As the first luxury hotel in London, it was met with much pomp and circumstance with its crowd stopping use of electricity.  Today, teatime is served in the Thames Foyer, complete with pianist and plenty of natural light.

Tea TimeTea TimeBlooming with interest

Tea TimeTea TimeThames Lounge striking a chord in our hearts forever

 

There are many words to be said here and since a picture is worth 1000 of them, I will say just a few and allow the photographic account do the rest.  It was everything one could hope from a traditional teatime.  Beyond however much blood you may of had to sell to walk in the door, the experience and the memory was well worth it.  Every crumb from the sandwiches was like edible gold to us.  We were on a cloud 9 and it was made out of clotted cream and raining delicious tea.

Tea TimeTea TimeA "proper cuppa" Tea TimeTea TimeA treat with the chef Tea TimeTea TimeDon't do it yourself Tea TimeTea TimeThree tiers plus more Tea TimeTea TimeLady-like Tea TimeTea TimeScones from heaven Tea TimeTea TimeBy this point, who has room Tea TimeTea TimeA Gentleman's Tea Tea TimeTea TimeBanana cafe is life

 

As for the rest of our first day adventures, we decided to do ourselves both a favor and attempt to walk again having just relieved ourselves of many British £’s and gained several American lbs, the best exchange rate of our whole trip

Street Adventures

Making her way downtownMaking her way downtownA stone labyrinth

Many a sidewalk, many a monument The Women of World War 2The Women of World War 2The Women of World War 2 in London style

 

As we walked our way back to our abode, the sun set the lights flickered on with their best city gleam, the Thames giving great contrast to the crisp city corners with its finest murky waters

World of watchingWorld of watchingDon't be confused by the skies reflection, that water is brown

 

We said goodnight five hours ahead of our internal sense of reasonability and set our clocks for 8 am with great anticipation for our next day’s adventure

Mad Hatter HotelMad Hatter HotelHome at last

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) adventure blog foodkit foyer london savoy thames travel tube wanderlust https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2017/10/jack-and-jill-cross-the-pond Tue, 10 Oct 2017 16:54:43 GMT
Over and Out https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/4/over-and-out Coming back to the states

Spoiler: I am safe and sound, already home adjusting to the ebb and flow of "productive living" with a an affinity for the morning (thank you time change).  But we will finish this adventure together, the way we started.

STRIKE

The best day to leave

Are you are booking a vacation or an adventure to test your determination of mind?

 If it is the former, your last night should be in a hotel close to the airport with a well traveled route.

 If it is the latter, perhaps consider booking a flight back home during a national strike of transport. Really exciting for those under utilized panic receptors. 

So this day actually begins where the last day ended, home from a trip to wonderland in Paris. Checking the route for the next day, I had my first omen for the day to come.  I registered with big brother before I left should my family need to be informed if I tried to make out of a foreign land with the royals treasures (watch less Robin Hood I know) or you know, bombings. So the US department of state sends out a little warning that the day I fly out, Paris is having a little watered down Les Mis production. Strikes of major transport sectors, beautiful.

I wake up early and head to the metro, get on one wrong train just to spice up the morning, get to the right platform and listen as over the intercom they rattle off that the strike will cause delays all day. After watching several trains leave, not bound for my stop, packed and delayed, the panic finally takes hold.  I love Paris, but I do not want to extend this trip, this way. So I head up out of the underground beehive of trains/metro and low and behold, this massive station appears to be under construction.  And its raining, double bonus.

Running in the rain with a pack, around corners and pleading with several kind parisians, I am pointed in many directions. A morning walking tour if you will.  I see a taxi.  Lights red but my pride was left several blocks ago, so I ask him to please please please and he says well well well, then finally, Oui. 

Lavazza_ParisLavazza_ParisI will miss you so good espresso

We aren't actually here yet 

But I wanted to make sure we are paying attention.  

So several euros, american dollars, and apologies later, I make to the airport with plenty of time.  The airport is a bit like the escalator edition of Hogwarts.  The perk is that there is a security check point for every like five gates, which means fast lines.  

So one final French snack and a gate change later and we are boarded

Coming_homeComing_homeShould of stuffed my suitcase full

But still grounded. 

That strike. Ya, it's at the airport too.  Thankfully Frankfurt was no Milan, God decided once was all the character building I needed for this trip.  So a nice afternoon jog through the airport later, I'm finally actually bound for home.

For the foodies, one last meal with a side of Bond

Last_supper_parisLast_supper_parisLuftansa's 5 star dinner with a little Bond on the side

Better than it looks, not good enough to miss though.

 

Home

It's been a crazy three weeks.  Really, not just for dramatic impact. 

I came back home a slim trim 142 lbs but I gained so much life in the process.

I miss the coffee, the air, the purpose behind every day. I have woken up every night since being back, confused where I am and anxious that the train station in my room is not as safe as my cat would have me believe.  So I think the stress of travel is finally catching up to me too. 

Nonetheless, I say go. Maybe not till Central Europe gets a hold on some of the current crisis.  But go. 

Or you're welcome to travel with me again because

Adventure is out there

And Kit will be finding it

 

 

 

Lastly,

Thank you to all of the massive support I've got from friends, family, and colleagues. No sarcastic hints, or sass, I found my way with your help and I am blessed. 

Once I get back and really settled, I will make formal shot highlight album from the journey for this site.  So keep a watchful eye, there is plenty of Europe to be seen yet. 

Last shout out goes to the real stars of the trip

Heavy_souls_EuropeHeavy_souls_EuropeThe true champs of the trip

I have no idea how you survived all 150+ miles of trekking.

 Thank you, from the bottom of my feet.

 

 

 

 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Adventure Europe Paris Paris Strike https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/4/over-and-out Fri, 08 Apr 2016 00:02:05 GMT
Disneyland Paris https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/4/disneyland-paris  

It's my last day in Europe!

Disneyland.

It's funny, because of my experiences to date, people seem to have the most opinions about my trek to Disneyland and there is not much middle ground.  For me it is an opportunity, maybe to a few it seemed like a waste of a Paris day.

For me though, I've spent almost a month absorbing new, historical, and cultural things.  I've trekked by every transport method except segway.  I've been consumed my Europe, running on espresso and fumes.  Disney is in many ways home to me, coming here was a compromise between the new and the familiar, setting my heart on the track for actually having to leave.  Plus, I luf disney. 

So if your disney heart strings and childhood whimsical follies are in need of a refreshment, scroll down.

If you are a sceptic, you're invited too. Or just follow the next two pictures. Or reread Cinque Uno.

Up and at it

So it was my hope to stay at Disneyland Paris the last night I was here.  But I didn't book prior to because none of my plans were firm.  Turns out, it is quite hard to do despite the best help of one of the smartest disney cast members I know.  

So, the first half of my day I took in the Parisian city life moving from one Airbnb to the next.

Boulanger_ParisBoulanger_ParisPerhaps the best sandwich of the trip Had perhaps one of the best sandwiches of the trip. 

When a french person asks you for here or to go, stay. Pause your busy tourist life, pay the extra euro and sit.  Even when the cafe's streets aren't alive with the bright light of day, your mouth will be full of the warm heat of an artisan sandwich.  

Up and off again, I continue to take in Paris.  Down in the pipes, taking in all the urine coated walls, truly majestic. 

Le_Chat_angry_parisLe_Chat_angry_parisI swear we got along, even if scratched up my whole arm

Alors, I find my next petit maison complete with Le Chat Gris, a young friend, showing affection through claws and an affinity for my right hand.

 My host drove all the way back from her work just to make sure I could drop off my bag before going out for the day.  Service. 

TO DISNEY

A couple confusing train rides later...

Je vous presente Disneyland Paris

Disneyland_ParisDisneyland_ParisYou can't hear it, but I'm screaming

The glow. Well, that's the small flood to accompany my feet for the whole day.  But the smile on my face, I hope you can feel it.

Castle_fog_disney_parisCastle_fog_disney_parisLet's talk about whimsical I literally ran around for the next 7 hours, skipping through puddles on cloud nine, featured here in this photo. 

Let's talk detail

Stained_glass_Disney_parisStained_glass_Disney_parisThe colors lit up the whole inside of the castle Ceiling_Disney_ParisCeiling_Disney_ParisThe details, incredible

Disneyland is broken down into two parks, I did not have time for the Studios.  

Disneyland itself is a lot like a condensed and intense Disney world.  Every corner to every ceiling, full of detail. I could probably spend the day without going on a ride.  That is not today however.

Skip around with me

Indiana_jones_disney_parisIndiana_jones_disney_parisHeadache anyone?

Indian Jones Mine Cart

Walked on to this one, staggered off.  A bit like an outdoor space mountian, but with a literal twist. 5 star

Phantom_manor_disney_ParisPhantom_manor_disney_ParisNot to be confused with the haunted mansion

 

Phantom Manor

Step sister of Haunted Mansion. Follows same story of the husband killer wife, a real go-getter.  But with a much darker twist.  The majority of the ride is spent in the underworld of sorts.  French disney isn't afraid of using real skeletons. Dante comes to life, well death I suppose.

Small_world_paris_disneySmall_world_paris_disneyIts a small world

It is a small world.

Well a smaller world.  Same song, same beloved cross nation characters, in a smaller arena with more detailed touches. 

Teacups_disneyland_parisTeacups_disneyland_parisRound and round we go

Teacups! 

Just as dizzy, promise

Maze_Alice_disney_parisMaze_Alice_disney_parisThrough the rabbit hole

Through the rabbit hole

A little hedge maze in case you need to keep your fitbit doing it's job. Snow_white_disney_parisSnow_white_disney_parisSee, I'm in france, I can prove it

Snow White

See, french words.  I am in Paris I promise

. Also a bit darker, follow the witch to her mischievous ends.  The french seem to enjoy the scarier sides to the old tales.  Which really is more accurate, not many off our happy water down endings were in the children's books.  Don't believe me? Read the real little mermaid. 

Side note, the churches in Europe also take in this approach.  Many of the old master paintings featured in the cathedrals anyone can stumble in brought life to the hellish demise they warned against.  Reflective and a tad momento mori, it brought a distinctive contrast though to life.  Something to not take for granted. 

Back to Disney Space_mountian_disney_parisSpace_mountian_disney_parisSteampunk Disney

Steampunk Space mountain

SO GREAT

Not just cause I'm a sucker for the decor.  You are blasted off into the galaxy in steam pipe.  Space meets rockin' rollercoaster.  Gravity is lost, fun is had. Captian_nemo_disney_parisCaptian_nemo_disney_parisAll aboard the Nautius

The Nautilus 

Walk under and explore Captain Nemo's original Disney Cruise.  Full geek out mode.

Jeti_disney_parisJeti_disney_parisI think I'd be a french Jeti

Eat some fast food and train to become a Jedi. 

Only truly let down here was now few young female Jeti I saw being trained despite their presence in the audience.  Come on Rae's of the Europe, get up there. Come on parents, get over yourselves and your gender binary. Jeti is not a masculine word. 

Performances

There was a parade, It was amazing and warmed my heart even through the water logged frozen shoes, thanks Elsa. 

I will not buy an umbrella, I am that stubborn. 

A spring show with Mary Poppins, Bert, chimney sweeps, and penguins

And a very odd show called the Enchanted Forest.  Great singers, complete with French accents. Odd odd odd forest friends with some featured beloved disney movie characters mixed in. 

enchanted_forest_disney_parisenchanted_forest_disney_parisEnchanted Forest with random disney charcaters

Colors of the night

Castle_disneyland_parisCastle_disneyland_parisThe castle at dusk Mainstreet_disneyland_parisMainstreet_disneyland_parisMain street's glow Light up your dreams with Peter Pan as you follow his shadow through the projected castle show including animation, fireworks, water cannons, and fire blasters.  

I feel like they just said, what should we do?  Everything, yes. Let's use everything

Fireworks_disneyland_parisFireworks_disneyland_parisThe second star to the right, and blow up the sky till morning

Best castle show by far.

Such a magical day.  

Worth every second I was there. Got home around midnight with time for packing up and getting ready to head home.  Which means only one more post to go for this blog!

Today I leave you with my favorite part.  Under the Castle. THEY HAD A DRAGON

Dragon_ParisDragon_ParisA dragon, they have A DRAGON

Yes, it's real. 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Adventure Disneyland France Paris https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/4/disneyland-paris Mon, 04 Apr 2016 15:10:14 GMT
Paris je t'aime https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/4/paris-je-taime It's another full day

Under, up, and over Paris 

Caffeinated, today was a day for Le Metro.  Even with some extra speed under the city, it was still an eleven mile day.  So hold tight and perhaps grab a snack.

Eiffel Tour 

sky_view_le_tour_eiffelsky_view_le_tour_eiffelSky high

It's not just the wide angle lens, looking up at this massive genius of a structure, line seem to bend and the mind with it.  In the modern era, it would be challenging to get on through life not knowing what The Eiffel Tower was.  Iconic.

As always, the full effect of taking in a monument is difficult through only words.  So I'll do the best I can through some images to give you details and put things into place.  While you adventure though, try and recall that feeling of just waking up from a really bizarre dream.  Somewhat lucid but questioning, was what I just saw real?  That might make the next couple minutes more authentic for you.

In full

Le_tour_eiffelLe_tour_eiffelThe grand tour d'eiffel

In parts

Detail_le_tour_eiffelDetail_le_tour_eiffelCross over and up in Paris Connections_le_tour_eiffelConnections_le_tour_eiffelTwists, turns, treasures

The View

Sous_Le_Tour_EiffelSous_Le_Tour_EiffelBottoms up Paris

Oh wait, I mean, The View...

Top_Paris_Le_Tour_EiffelTop_Paris_Le_Tour_EiffelThe view from the top

It is a puzzle of intersections like 3D etchings, while at the same time being a captivating viewpoint to take in the bloodlines of Paris.  

Worth not just staring at from afar but climbing all about.

Le_Fleur_EiffelLe_Fleur_EiffelSpring in Paris

From the Metro to the sky, now to the water.  

Feeling so moved by the rushing winds of tourism, I ventured out onto a little hour tour down the river to get a little more perspective for the city.  Although not as entertaining as the Jungle Cruise, it did have a rather nice finale vantage point.

Notre Dame

Notre_dame_water_ParisNotre_dame_water_ParisNotre Dame by the river

Those threatening looking clouds? Take note.

Off the boat and with a little snack..

Crepe_ParisCrepe_ParisAfternoon snack

Despite his face, there in nothing to fear in this photo.

Crepe in belly, threatening clouds now making good on their promises.  Its back to walk around Europe in the rain and stopping to soak in some of it's treasures

The_Pont_Alexandre_IIIThe_Pont_Alexandre_IIIPont Alexandre Paris Don't be fooled by the sunny exposure.  

Paris wants you to think, go out, it'll be fine. 5 lbs of water logged socks later, many a happy local are out with bags of umbrellas to greet you which honestly is a nice relief from SELFIE STICK SELFIE STICK

Nonetheless, it was time to return in doors.  What better place then the Musee D'Orsay

Musee_d'orsay_ClockMusee_d'orsay_ClockTime slows staring at art

This gallery looks over at it's sibling Louvre as equals in my opinion.  They are very much their own distinctive characters and where the Louvre might be the more robust in size and history, Orsay brings the life to a whole other chapter in Art's history.  Most noted for the featured impressionist works, however it is still quite diverse.  The naturalist piece's in the large format galleries floored me.  

Going late in the day and with a bit of luck, the museum was not as crowded as it is known for.  Also having a bit of patience, I was able to grab some shots without onlookers elbows and pleasant side stares. So here are some of the highlights from around the gallery, I'll save you the walking. 

Monet_Eiffel_musee_d'orsay_ParisMonet_Eiffel_musee_d'orsay_ParisMonet catching the light change Manet_dancers_Musee_d'orsay_ParisManet_dancers_Musee_d'orsay_ParisManet dancers Van_gogh_musee_d'orsay_parisVan_gogh_musee_d'orsay_parisVan Gogh Claude_Monet_Musee_d'orsay_ParisClaude_Monet_Musee_d'orsay_Paris Aurore_Denys_Puech_musee_d'orsayAurore_Denys_Puech_musee_d'orsayAurore by Denys Puech Large_work_galleries_musee_d'orsay_parisLarge_work_galleries_musee_d'orsay_parisLarge format gallery Musee d'orsay It was another full day of adventure.  Tomorrow, a little more tourist in a different kind of way.  

A side feature for the curious.  Chez Kit while in Paris.  

Le_chambre_chez_moi_ParisLe_chambre_chez_moi_ParisMy little Chambre in Paris Le_toillette_Chez_moi_ParisLe_toillette_Chez_moi_ParisLe toilette de paris

Time for a good soak in a petit tub. 

One more day left, soaked socks and all. 

 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Adventure Le Tour Eiffel Musee d' orsay Paris https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/4/paris-je-taime Sat, 02 Apr 2016 21:56:44 GMT
Half marathon at the Louvre https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/half-marathon-at-the-louvre Ready Set Art

My first full day in Paris

It's spring time in Paris, which similar to Florida means completely unpredictable rain.  In its manic episodes, the sky opens with gusto, making the local vendors very profitable on their umbrella sales.  Not a great place for ponchos, as the depressive state of the sky only likes to casually consider the idea of rain in a very existential way. 

Since I have such a limited time here, I am only hitting the big points.  For today that is The Louvre. So I arrive having pre-booked, saving quite the line at the main entrance in the variable weather conditions.

Having been soaked and freezing in Budapest, I did not subject my camera to the same risk of my laissez-faire lack of umbrella approach to tourism. So it's an i-phone journalism kind of day.

Going in, down, to get to go up.

Pyramid_LouvrePyramid_LouvreIt's a glass house actually The Louvre has of course a great deal of very important pieces of art, I'll walk you through some of my favorites.  However, the building itself was also very distracting.  Which is not helpful when you are trying to see all of the things but a pleasant ambiance nonetheless.

Entry_Louvre_ParisEntry_Louvre_ParisCome down to go up into the Art

Now, on to the Art. 

There is no way to describe the feat of walking though this museum.  Beyond the fact that by the end of the day I had actually walked close to 13 miles. Also, the fact that the museum splurged and uses Nintendo 3-D players for their audio guides, I am convinced solely to less the amount of lost tourists as they had a very helpful location service I found myself using often. 

The frozen history

Artemis_with_a_doe_louvreArtemis_with_a_doe_louvreArtemis and her doe

Artemis with a Doe

This museum has a very very comprehensive statue collection. I found much more of my time disappearing in the eyes of those that do not see then I would of thought prior to my visit.  

Some of the heavy hitters, pun intended.

Venus_LouvreVenus_LouvreIn all her glory

Venus

I'm not actually sure how I got this shot without people in it, this statue was pretty constantly surrounded.  Being near this piece in person allowed me to finally do what many have done over the years and imagine the statue in it's full glory.  That is perhaps why now over time, it has remained such an icon.  What it lacks due to damage, it gives like a dialogue of possibility. 

Venus_Mars_LouvreVenus_Mars_LouvrePreparing for battle Lesser known, Venus preparing Mars for battle.  It captured a moment, an interaction, and a feeling within two figures in such a simple but impossible way.

Winged_victory_louvreWinged_victory_louvreYou can feel the wind just by watching The Winged Victory

At the top of the staircase, this statue I could of practically spent the day with.  The amount of movement and life in this piece is clear in the photograph but felt in person.  This is one of the only pieces I let myself sit and use precious time to really take in.

Cupid's_Kiss_LouvreCupid's_Kiss_LouvreMy favorite statue of the Louvre

Cupid's kiss was a surprise to me.

 It is not a statue I knew much about, but by far was one of my favorite from the entire day. This is the moment where Cupid is literally kissing his lover back to life, the full story is even carved into the details from behind like his arrows and potion vase. It calls for the viewer to continue to encircle it, being completely wrapped up into the moment

Let's throw in some paintings, here are three I really enjoyed despite their lack of crowd winning approval

Flandrin_louvreFlandrin_louvreSit with me Harbor_LouvreHarbor_LouvreNot enough time to take in all the detail The_young_martyr_louvreThe_young_martyr_louvreStopped me in my tracks

And of course, the biggest crowd draw

Mona_Lisa_LouvreMona_Lisa_LouvreThe Mona Lisa is constantly in the company of about 100 very pushy guests

Just to get this close took a lot of determination and less than southern hospitable shoving.  I would say she enjoys the attention though.

It was quite the day to be had, only leaving because I was walking a very dangerous lack of nutrition line that I did not want to cross.

So the rest of my first day I spent outside enjoying the sun and the view when I could get them

Louvre_park_ParisLouvre_park_ParisTaking in the sun outside the Louvre sienne_Paris_eiffel_towersienne_Paris_eiffel_towerView on the Siene And the walks in the rain through the iconic streets

Arch_de_triumphArch_de_triumphThe triumph here was not getting completely soaked to the bone

It was yet again, a very full, but rewarding day of exploration. Including a dinner in a little streetside cafe blanc where I enjoyed listening in on a french couple who were less then thrilled that I was not speaking french. The waiter actually told them basically "I'm sorry"  or "excuse me" every time he used English with me. Fascinating and entertaining. Most importantly, the food was amazing, more rewarding yet was the couple that sat down next to me when I was concluding my meal.  I ended up staying and talking to the charming pair for about an hour.  They were inquisitive, authenticate, and the perfect conclusion to my day.

With my socks hung out to dry, a prayer for sleep

 I will say Bon Nuit!

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Louvre Paris https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/half-marathon-at-the-louvre Wed, 30 Mar 2016 15:40:00 GMT
Bonjour! https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/bonjour It feels a lot like one very long day

When does a day even really begin?

If it's when you wake up, then my day started and stopped all across Italy, Switzerland, and France.  The TGV was another experience of it's own.  The view may be no different from first to second class, but the luck of the draw seating might have been worth the set back.  Not that my travel companion for the day wasn't nice.  All 60 of so pictures of him on the Alps were in fact very nice.  Fitting together in the seats, not as nice.  But a truly tired traveler makes for a great napper. 

Since you might of gathered that I am not in fact on a night train, the one plus side to a day time expedition were some great mountain views.  Switzerland, I'm hiking you next.  With proper shoes. 

The biggest take away from this journey was probably the difference in the general tension. Being in Europe since the attacks, particularly in regards to travel, it just feels intense.  And it's not just my paranoid American self.  I watched as one man was taken off the train by police. More fun yet was to be had as at one point a man left a bag after just getting on the train and the disappearing. I watched as other travelers did the same little check to make sure he was still on board.  I did not sleep much after that, heart in my throat, travel companion basically in my lap. 

Alas! We arrive in PARIS

I booked a cozy little place in the Opera district via Airbnb and it took almost everything in me not to instantly sleep.

Food first, a good rule of thumb.  

So to resume the more pleasant side of my journey, I will visually walk you through the fanciest meal of my trip.  Good contrast to the last twenty four hours.

Welcome to the 

Brasserie Julien

Brasserie_Julien_menuBrasserie_Julien_menuDinner in Paris, a night to remember

These are cell phone pictures, and I was basically drunk with tire. Je m'excuse.

Alors!

Brasserie_Julien_decorBrasserie_Julien_decorDinner in Paris, a night to remember

TINY Tables. So close in fact, they pull the table out just to sit you down.  The waitress worked with my broken french and although the service was slow, it was enjoyable in that I received fantastic food and I don't really enjoy the small talk anyways. 

To begin!

Brasserie_Julien_onion_soupBrasserie_Julien_onion_soupDinner in Paris, a night to remember

The real thing: French Onion Soup

The only regret here is that there is no way to eat this in a classy manor.  The cheese gets everywhere, just like God intended. 

Not as salted as American look a-likes. Certainly brought me back to life.

The main course!

Brasserie_Julien_seabassBrasserie_Julien_seabassDinner in Paris, a night to remember

Sea bass with a mushroom risotto 

They were even nice enough to save my weak american stomach and pre-cut the head off.  No guilt served here.

At this point I'm stuffed, but we must carry on!

The Finale!

Brasserie_Julien_creme_bruleeBrasserie_Julien_creme_bruleeDinner in Paris, a night to remember

Creme BRULEE

Literally Brulee

Not as sweet as the American counter part, making it even lighter and next to perfection to one very happy, very full traveler. 

It was a treat of it's own to watch the place fill up and chaotically run its course.  I think the waitress was surprised I left her a happy extra tip (yes, I am aware it's included as a service charge in Europe), but they really earn it here. Again, not so much for the talking, more so for the staying afloat. 

Now for a real bed and a hard sleep.  

Tomorrow, adventure is out there!

 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Brasserie Julien Foodkit Paris https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/bonjour Wed, 30 Mar 2016 00:45:00 GMT
One more day in Paradise, One night in quite the opposite https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/one-more-day-in-paradise-one-night-in-quite-the-opposite  

The gray skies rolled away in the night and I woke up to a bright and ready blue morning

Some places in the Cinque Terre you can book ahead of time online. They are hard to find, trust me.  Air bnb opened a few more options but most places are found simply by wandering the streets and looking for rooms open signs.  Being the type A that I am, I did not like this quite as much and managed to book via email with the one place I could find in Vernazza on the Interwebs. The leap of faith proved rewarding, clearly.

Quite a view to wake up to 

Good morningGood morningWhat a view to open the door to in monterosso al mare Last night I also ate in the little dinner place that the runs the rooms they rent out.  Stuffed mussels, a plate of meat, a full basket of bread, and a 1.5 liter of water.  I literally ate everything in front of me. 

 Which proved helpful today for the next hike. 

 But both we change towns, lets explore a tad more around Vernazza which is also known for it's petit, yet high perched castle. 

Castle turnsCastle turnsThe way up

Naturally, I found the strange little staircase deserving of the feature shot.  

Pulling me back alwaysPulling me back alwaysGoodbye Vernazza That little cylinder on the hill, that's what I'm inside.  

Now, back down on the break water

Out on the waterOut on the waterOn the break water in Vernazza

A clear blue sky, bright sun, and off far away in the distance, our next destination. 

So pack up your bag

Italy turtleItaly turtleTurtling through the Cinque Terre

Grab a model citizen cat

Cats of the CInque TerreCats of the CInque TerreThe model citizen

And we are off! 

Hiking today, a Saturday, came with a little more local traffic but no less views.  Including some tucked away little treasures worth taking the shoes off and romping around a bit

Bridge over peaceful watersBridge over peaceful watersThe treasures on the trail

Oh and about those cats, the people love them too.  So much so, they created a little safe haven for them on the mountain.

I am convinced I actually found cat heaven.

Cat HeavenCat HeavenTucked into the mountains, it is found

And you know how Italian's love their football?  Well why not hike on a trail through the mountains with your favorite ball.  Just a little passing around the switchbacks, fun?

No? 

Risk your life to retrieve said ball, of course!

Featuring, one arguably good dad

Persistant ItaliansPersistant ItaliansWhat one man would do to save a "football"

Thankfully, I left early.  The wait just to hike going the other direction was longer that trying to get on Test Track in Epcot in July. 

So we arrive in...

Monterosso al Mare

Just around the bendJust around the bendThe way into monterosso al mare This town was probably the best way for me to end my journey because to me, it felt the most tourist. Had I hiked the opposite direction, I am convinced nothing could of pried me off its walls.

 This town has the big beach and also is really the only flat town therefore the most public ready.  I say this like a real Cinque snob I suppose because it was still a sight to behold full of its own little flares.

monterosso al maremonterosso al mareLittle details of monterosso al mare

To finish out my Cinque Terre exploration, I choose to honor the day with a meal in the honor of and in great gratitude of my friend Delayne who would not let me leave Florida without promising to eat pasta.  

And I did, and it was gooooood

The perfect mealThe perfect mealLeaving Monterosso al Mare in style Homemade ravoliHomemade ravoliThe tastes of the Cinque Terre

So concludes my fun in the mountains and by the sea of Italy.  This trip has allowed me to feel life again in a way that only true adventure can.

The second half of my day was a different experience all together. 

I was a tad nervous but excited to board a night train to Paris.  Perhaps my nervous energy was so compelling my first train (that I was safely two hours early for) to try and compensate and pull into Milan 25 minutes late, 10 minutes to late for my 11:15 train for the evening.  

The train station also had just enough wifi to get through a few panic texts but no internet to be had for the researching.  So relying on others web connected eyes, we worked out that the best course of action was probably to wait it out till the earliest 10 hour train out in the morning.  

Let me introduce you to CHEZ KIT OF MILAN

Homeless KitHomeless KitMy night spent in the train station of Milan

I am actually quite proud of my little corner, it took awhile to find.  The elegant marble really proved to be the fanciest of ice box beds for the night.  A few hours restless hours later, I was thankfully heading out of Milan towards Paris.  

The experience in the moment was not a pleasurable one in the slightest. I do feel however that it allowed a great contrast to the amazing experiences I've had up onto this point. As well as another humbling moment of insight into the lives that a great deal of people have to bare.  

I am blessed to say the least

Now, off to PARIS

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Foodkit Italy Vernazza cinque terre hiking monterosso al mare https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/one-more-day-in-paradise-one-night-in-quite-the-opposite Tue, 29 Mar 2016 18:25:38 GMT
Walk with me https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/walk-with-me This was a day for hiking.

Backpacking across the countryside, yes

Backpacking in the city, yes

Backpacking while trying to fit into a tiny gelato store, yes

Today had it all and then some.  It was a cool, grey day outside.  Maybe the pictures have less of that high dynamic range without editing but my face also has much less sun burning.  So it's a fair trade. 

My first hope was to hike through all the towns.  Sadly, the first two coastal pathways were closed, the more famous ones, also the shorter ones haha! So, I still got plenty of walking in.  Added by the actual exploration of the towns and it was a very long day. 

Hello Manarola!

Manarola_streetManarola_street

This is the smallest of the five towns, known for being much less interesting.  However in hindsight, I think I will stay in this town next time to get the photographic night advantage because in my opinion this add some of the best flare even for being so tiny.

 And great locals

Manarola_catManarola_cat The cats of the Cinque Terre will be my next adventure I think.  One even took over my lap as I was trying to make this post at night sitting in a little indoor\outdoor lobby.  

But back to town.  This town has a vineyard walk, a hike within itself

Manarola_vineyardManarola_vineyard

The Cinque Terre produces its own wine, oranges, and lemons. The groves along the mountain side were a favorite of mine.

This little walk led me all the way around to one "swimming spot" better titled as the tourist make out spot.  While an Italian couple enjoyed each other's faces,

I enjoyed the crashing water views

Manarola_tideManarola_tide More so, from this spot you can see where my hike leads to.  That little cluster of houses up to the left in the mountains, thats a short train ride away.  That tiny speck of lighter yellow in the top left corner.  That's where I'm hiking to today.

But before we leave, this was the highlight of my day view wise

Manarola_harborManarola_harbor The water was pure, the town bright, and my heart was lighter than its been before.  

On to the next town.  Tucked in the mountains, Corniglia is the only town the doesn't on the sea level.  Which means about 385 steps just to get into town.

Which means, my first stop was here

Corniglia_gelattoCorniglia_gelatto

Gelato made from local honey is hard to beat.

Refreshed, the walking around town was much easier to enjoy the details. For example, everyone's laundry out to dry in the warm sun tucked behind the clouds.

Corniglia_cornersCorniglia_corners

I even hiked down to what used to be the coast of this tiny city

Corniglia_coastlineCorniglia_coastline And found some more detail to appercaite

Corniglia_doorCorniglia_door Beyond the colors and the location, the Cinque Terre also had a way of feeling real, tactile.  Gritty, it is a place that shows the labor that goes into keeping it alive, the pulse is in the very stonework.

Now for the hiking hiking which was quite challenging.  Up's and down's, stairs and rocks, tourist and tight walkways

R

ewarding however

Corniglia_Vernazza_hike_viewCorniglia_Vernazza_hike_view Corniglia_Vernazza_hike_flowersCorniglia_Vernazza_hike_flowers

I carried my camera on my chest strap, and my water by my shoulders and hiked for about two very difficult but worth while hours to... 

Vernazza

Corniglia_Vernazza_hike_rolling_inCorniglia_Vernazza_hike_rolling_in

This city stop was bursting with life, from the kids playing in the streets to the loud fishermen pulling in their boats

Vernazza_boatsVernazza_boats

Honestly, my favorite part of this town was the platter of meats I choose for dinner but I was a tad biased from lack of nutrition. 

The views are probably the majorities highlight.  

Vernazza_top_shotVernazza_top_shot Waiting for the sun to set, I even had time to play with a filter

Vernazza_bwVernazza_bw

One more hike to go tomorrow, one more town to see, then it's off to Paris!

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Corniglia Italy Manarola Vernazza cinque terre hiking https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/walk-with-me Mon, 28 Mar 2016 22:28:39 GMT
Cinque Uno https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/cinque-uno Get ready for a real culture shock

I thought I was prepared.  I was not. 

Leaving Florence was not easy. I got my last 1.20 E espresso at my favorite little local bar, knocking over locals with my increasingly huge pack and was on my way. The trains, also not the most simple. Thankfully there are young Italians literally waiting on the trains for lost tourist, there to bustle you over to validate your ticket, run back in a panic, and reseat you in a tram where there is no assigned seating.  All for a lovely "donation" for a service you didn't really know you were asking for.  So even being preyed upon, I still learned a lot on my way out to La Spezia.  Rolling past Pisa, the entire territory starts to change.  Mountains.  Not the space or thunder kind I'm used to.  Epic and breathtaking mountains to your right, vast open beaconing sea to your left. 

Paradise is real

bright_riomaggiorebright_riomaggioreQuite the first impression Welcome to Riomaggiore

The first of the five towns making up the Cinque Terre.  For day one, this is the only town I focused on and I'm glad I did. 

Let's back up, when you get off the people sausage press aka, the train, you can go up and over the city, which of course I did.  Or under the tunnel. Both are rewarding

 Local art is everywhere

station_riomaggiorestation_riomaggioreMural tunnel

Turning towards the harbor, you start to notice everyone's calves.  These towns are literally carved into the mountain. The chiseling equally applicable to the townsfolk.

To the harbor!

heart_riomaggioreheart_riomaggioreMore boats on land than sea today

Seeing how it is March, this little oasis is more in the in between stages between down season and a summer harbor oasis for Italians.  I found the weather perfect for the trekking, cold for the sleeping, and a little too real for swimming. But, that's not to say local's don't. It was a bright and sunny day and as my air b&b host forcefully suggested, GO OUTSIDE.  I climbed rocks.  They tan on the rocks.

Welcome to the Cinque Terre beaches

beach_riomaggiorebeach_riomaggioreThis is the actual beach, these Italians are not messing around about getting to mess around

Now the last town has sand but honestly people were out on these rocks having a day of it. 

I did more rock jumping which proved rewarding

work_riomaggiorework_riomaggioreGet a load of this work out. The seagull's were really buff too looking_in_riomaggiorelooking_in_riomaggioreThank you wide angle lens

tied_riomaggioretied_riomaggioreTie me down here, I'm not leaving

And as the night sets in, the colors come out.  

I went out on the break wall to get these next shots.  It was slippery, loud, and probably pretty dangerous.  Good thing two very drunk, 21'st birthday, American girls were in the there to slip on some rocks and provide entertainment. They very much wanted me to come have drinks with them, I very much wanted to stay to get these shots

sunset_riomaggioresunset_riomaggioreSunsets in paradise looking_out_riomaggiorelooking_out_riomaggioreI may have not been the most graceful getting to where I needed to be to grab this shot. But you can't tell in the photo. paradise_riomaggioreparadise_riomaggioreEven with the pulse of the ocean breaking against the wall to my left, there was a stillness here watching the colors change

Zero editing or enhancements, just a lens, a cold Kit, and a perfect little Paradise.

Tomorrow is a day for hiking! So tonight was a night for the best pasta with fresh mussels. Happy, happy, so very happy.

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Italy Riomaggiore cinque terre https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/cinque-uno Sun, 27 Mar 2016 20:59:22 GMT
Lets talk about stairs https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/lets-talk-about-stairs Last day in Firenze 

Up up and away

So, if you've been tracking with me, you can probably see I've been going pretty non stop.  I understand now the need for the siesta. So I could slow down, but that would be no fun. So lets ambitiously climb through my day.

DUOMO

This is the artsy angle shot.  Don't worry, there will be another later. Notice though the backdrop, Let's go in!

But to go in one has to go up 

463 steps, 92 meters to be exact. 

Before the grand reveal and the view, quick shot in the dome with the ceiling and stained glass.  Yes its a insane angle, no I did't really have a choice seeing is how we tight rope walk over to the next set of stairs while being enclosed in plexiglass.

Now from here, the stairs get more narrow and the tourist get sweater.  And even though the presence of Disney can be felt and seen everywhere still here in Europe, the Duomo's line execution sadly was not one of those places.  I'll spare you the claustraphobic rant and just say, things got tiny, tight, and tricky. 

But the view

One of a kind experience. Well, sort of.  See that bell tower?  Remember that for later. 

Back down and roaming through the streets, I found lunch in a place with an indoor view that was actually prettier than outside

Indoor garden, open flower shop, and yes my coffee in a wine glass.

The fancy smfancy shopping district is on a bridge called Ponte Vecho. Here, like many a bridge in Europe we find lover's promises marking the metal. 

Too lovey dovy? Ya, I thought so too. MORE STAIRS

Lets go back up that bell tower eh?

414 steps, 82 meters. Need a break? Me too, here's a photo on the way up

Now check out the Duomo from this angle

My favorite explanation for this wonder is a Church in Pajama's. 

Yes Yes Yes Florence. 

Now, Let's to it after dark because who needs rest, not me.

Also fascinating were the carts was the keepers head home for the night.

They crank open and close. The lemonade stand for tourist.

Let's conclude back at the pretty Florence. 

It's a gem of a city. Beauty in all the cracks. 

Yes, Sammi and I did see someone hit by a car (don't worry, he got up)

Yes, we were yelled at and insulted once or twice. But I'm not holding it against you Florence. We part ways as friends.

 

Now coming to a blog near you

The Cinque Terre!

Oh I'm so excited, I guess I should do some sink laundry and gets me some clean socks

So Fresh So Clean

Here I come Coast!

 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Arno Duomo Florence Italy https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/lets-talk-about-stairs Sat, 26 Mar 2016 16:55:00 GMT
A long day, a quick post https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/a-long-day-a-quick-post Two galleries, a touch pass with the Duomo, shopping

When I say I average at 10 miles a day on foot, I'm not kidding.

Sammi's ankle can be the true marker if you don't believe me.  After today, it was melon sized.  

We walked back and forth and through and up and over Florence today, soaking it all in before Sammi has to head back to the state's.  Since a good majority of the day was spent inside galleries, I'll spare you the art in art and just give you some samples. 

First of, the Santa Maria Novella 

I saw this church in my dream last night.  I'm not making it up I swear.  

I mean there were some structure differences but this is the church I saw.  Either my Italy has taken capture of my subconscious or I've seen a lot of churches in Italy and they are merging.  Either way, this church in all its painted light luster was a great way to start our early morning.  

Then it was off to the Acadamia to see an old pall David

Oh, look at that butt

I mean look at it! It's not the shot you were expecting I'm sure.  You can shop that shot on google.  I took this one because what baffled me time and time again was seeing these Michaelangleo's in person and noticing the vein work.  They really were frozen in time.

Quick! Run inside the Duomo!  

Look familiar? Apparently more than one of us artist type had similar dreams.  Wanna go to the top? Not yet, that's for tomorrow.

Now Uffizi time.  Do your U-feet-zi's hurt like ours yet?  Ha!

SO MUCH HISTORY SO MUCH ART NOT ENOUGH TIME

So here is an art to prove we were there

Even though there was more walking and eating involved let's wrap it up for the day.  But for now, here is a really really bad joke 

What do you do with a bad statue?  Stick them in the corner with a perfect view, and turn their heads away

I'd be making that face too if I was frozen in time with a stiff neck and a bad view (that bad view being inside the Uffizi, how tragic)

It was a great day and the time with Sammi was amazing.  Join me tomorrow as Kit goes back to solo Europe for more walking, more Florence, and of course more adventure!

 

 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) David Duomo Florence Italy Uffizi https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/a-long-day-a-quick-post Fri, 25 Mar 2016 21:29:17 GMT
Firenze https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/firenze Wine country? 

Not for Kit, but the infinite land of good espresso

Good Morning Florence!

The first massive difference was actually last night finding the hotel in almost complete silence, I guess Rome is also good at stealing all the noise. And trash. 

The streets are clean, we are not in fact the only ones here as we come to realize on our way to find a late breakfast.

caffe_curtatone_florencecaffe_curtatone_florence2 EURO ONLY 2 EURO. I LOVE THIS PLACE This was 2.5 EURO. ALL OF IT. 2.5 EURO. HOW.

Shocking! I believe both Sammi and I also managed to shock the merchant with our reactions to this shocking discovery. Shocks all around!

And it wasn't just here, as expensive as Florence can be, espresso flows practically free in the streets. Bene!

Caffeinated, we set out to explore with our Firenze cards in hand. They were practically the biggest purchase (besides gifts), but got us into basically everything with skipping the lines.  Truly a good purchase when you have a limited time to art, eat, and shop here.

arno_florencearno_florenceEven if you stop to stare, the water keeps on Look Look Look

Our first day was for wandering around and getting our bearings. One of my favorite finds if you brave the outdoor Central Market, is the upstairs indoor Central Market. 

Outside Market: going to be yelled at. alot.

Indoor bottom floor: so much meat and various parts of animals I didn't know could be consumed. 

Top floor:  food paradise. various vendors offering everything from cheese, wine, bread, seafood, pizza, burgers, gelato, everything.

mercato_centrale_florencemercato_centrale_florenceUpstairs= perfect food everywhere. Downstairs = chaos

Meanwhile outside

duomo_florenceduomo_florenceLots of Marble under a little moon The Duomo, more on this later I promise.  It's kinda a big deal here.

san_lorenzo_florencesan_lorenzo_florenceFavorite little detail found in a church yet, pretty unique to boot.

Different church actually, I was just making sure you were paying attention.

This is San Lorenzo. Well technically, that is Jesus in San Lorenzo.  But look up.  The church was massive and had plenty of other sites to offer however, this was my favorite.  It's the first and only star map I've seen in a church.  Go ahead, scroll back up and give it a second look. 

Back outside!

fiume_arno_florencefiume_arno_florenceSky glows, City echos

There is no mistaking it, this city is beautiful. So why not hike up a mountain and see it in full.

view_piazzale_michelangelo_florenceview_piazzale_michelangelo_florenceMichelangelo's David (replica) has nice view at night

This is the view from the Piazzale Michelangelo

Which of course comes complete with a David Statue replica.  He gets the best view of the city and I'm fairly positive the Italians pay the moon to light him up.  

piazzale_michelangelo_florencepiazzale_michelangelo_florenceFlorence pays the moon to light up Michelangelo's David (replica)

Tomorrow is for all of the things.  And I mean ALL the things. 

Feet up and tuck in time. 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Florence Italy caffe curtatone central market piazzale michelangelo https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/firenze Wed, 23 Mar 2016 21:57:38 GMT
Blast from the past https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/blast-from-the-past I'm going to be honest

I really didn't put Ancient Rome up on any kind of pedestal. My dad (mostly probably my dad) and I made a wax figurine of the Colosseum in the 7th grade, really grade A material stuff. That is about where my true interest in Rome has held its roots,  a wax figurine and of course the one scene in the Epcot ball where Rome burns and everything smells like bbq. 

Good thing Kit is growing up and traveling

First, about traveling. Taking the metro to get to the Colosseum proved educational in that we witnessed a phone being stolen out of a tourist pocket literally one person over from us.  The culprits, a group of three youth's working as a group.  Shoving their way into the tightly packed tube, they push grabbed the phone and spread into the train.  Once our victim realized his loss, two of three culprits spent the whole 2 minute interlude arguing who had stolen the phone while member 3 remained silent, only to rejoin the pack safely on the platform after our tube shot off the next station.  Sad, educational, glad it wasn't us I guess? 

Now for Rome!

The Colosseum was a good start, walking in circles in mops of people staring at a very clever place to hold 118 day massacres while cheering. Massively terrifying for a history, pretty dang neat as a structural feat. 

Colosseo_romeColosseo_romeHard to take in the amount of fore thought the romans had to put into murder

Looking through the archways, we got a hint of what was to come

Piazza_del_colosseoPiazza_del_colosseoA view within a view

On to Palantine Hill!  Up the way, nice chance to stop to get a drink of the fresh clean water flowing throughout the city.  Yes, I did. No, it was not graceful.

Palatino_romePalatino_romeThe well spring of life was in every corner of the city, even at the top

On to the Forum.  Ok so here is when it really hit me, just what I was looking at.  A glimpse into a world that really existed and that brings life to the statement

All roads lead to Rome

foro_romano_romeforo_romano_romeA city within a city

I was taken back in all ways here.  It is just massive and the pictures don't do it justice.  I tried taking a detail shot up close that might make you feel a bit more like the ant one is while standing here.

foro_romano_detail_romeforo_romano_detail_romeThere is no way to feel the size of this place unless you get close to the details.

Ok, two more to bring my point home

foro_romano_chunkforo_romano_chunkUnder the rumble campidoglio_romecampidoglio_rome

Looking back at my own photos, I still don't feel like there is a way to show just what standing here felt like.  It really shifted my own perspective in a way, almost like weaving in my thoughts and experience into a past that I share with humanity. Cheese, I know.  But hey Italy sports some great formaggio.

Before jumping on the train to Florence, two more important things. Well three, if you count even more gelato.  

Seeing Michelangelo's Moses

Michaelangelo's_Moses_RomeMichaelangelo's_Moses_Rome"If you can't hear his heart beat or see the blood pulsing through his veins. Stand there until you do! Pay no attention to the crowd."
-Delayne Charvat

One of the people I respect most in this world gave me some great advice for my trip about this statue 

"If you can't hear his heart beat or see the blood pulsing through his veins. Stand there until you do! Pay no attention to the crowd."

The crowds came and went, I stayed. 

Lastly, some advice I also followed from my sister.

rome_groundingrome_groundingGrounding Kit to Italy Grounding myself to Rome, also proved staggeringly rewarding advice. 

These feet are off to Florence!

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Ancient Rome Italy Rome https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/blast-from-the-past Tue, 22 Mar 2016 21:24:50 GMT
The Heart of Rome https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/the-heart-of-rome Cobblestones and thin-souled shoes are a match made in heaven, its time for another 10 mile plus day

So I invite you to enjoy this day with me visually as there was a lot for the seeing and less for the talking. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I'll explain away.  Hopefully the visual tour will be less tiring but just as rewarding!

Hidden Steps 

Borghese_hidden_steps_RomeBorghese_hidden_steps_RomeMy favorite find of the morning in the Burghese gardens

Golden Geese of the Tempio Di Esculapio

Tempio_di_esculapio_RomeTempio_di_esculapio_RomeMary poppin's like lake complete with geese and whimsical attitudes.

Piazza Mignanelli

Piazza_mignanelli_RomePiazza_mignanelli_RomeShe gets flowers for Palm Sunday coming up tomorrow

Trevi Fountian

Trevi_fountian_RomeTrevi_fountian_RomeFavorite I think so far even with the masses

A little proof of the crowds I've been mentioning

Trevi_fountian_crowds_romeTrevi_fountian_crowds_romeEvidence of crowd

Pantheon

pantheon_romepantheon_romeCrowd surfing anyone? Pantheon's Behind

pantheon_backside_romepantheon_backside_romeEven the edges take notice

Caffe Break

caffe_tazza_d'oro_romecaffe_tazza_d'oro_romeIf I could have this every day....

Piazza Colonna

piazza_colonna_romepiazza_colonna_romeA whole story ran down this like a chiseled novel.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

santa_maria_sopra_minerva_romesanta_maria_sopra_minerva_romeThere's not enough time in the world to take it in.

Lighting Detail

light_santa_maria_romelight_santa_maria_romeLight even in the darkness

There's no place not to be paying attention to really

Details_romeDetails_romeLife has a way of leaving marks

Campo de'Fiori

campo_de'Fiori_romecampo_de'Fiori_romeFlowers lining the streets

Just stumbling in random doors

One_more_church_romeOne_more_church_rome

Street Life

 

street_life_romestreet_life_romeCan you hear them?

Back once more for good measure

trevi_fountian_night_rometrevi_fountian_night_romeAlmost more majestic at night

 

As for the city of Rome, it is loud but more so robust.  Full of people selling selfie sticks and pushing past you to stop three seconds later to take their picture.  There is trash on the streets, not many waste bins and sheer chaos. I'm 1000% convinced that the game Frogger was based solely on the street crossing, near death experiences of this city.  But the chaos has a beat, and once you learn when to jump in the street and how to say no to strangers, it really has a charm that grows on you. Honestly when I first arrived here, I was massively overwhelmed. A few pizzas later, Kit is a happy Roman. 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Italy Rome https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/the-heart-of-rome Tue, 22 Mar 2016 16:30:00 GMT
Holy Holy Holy how is this real https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/holy-holy-holy-how-is-this-real Kit goes to the Vatican

Rome is huge, there is life everywhere.  

Since today is a holy day of sorts, let's start with a confession.  I am a tourist. Much of me stumbling around Europe has been in the good graces of Rick Steve's Italy book, google maps, and trip advisor. Today however, my love and adoration goes out to a man named Mario. Being the concierge for the fine hotel we were staying in, he managed to find me a ticket to the Vatican on the same day pre Holy week in the Holiest of places. I therefore was able to jump in to my next jump culture shock head over feet and avoid the two hour line wrapping the gates. 

The walk over of course proved yet again worth it.  Even with a seagull guarding the gates, this castle was a nice prelude to my trip to holy land.

castel_sant'angelo_romecastel_sant'angelo_romeThis seagull is the gate keeper

But seeing how I am in Italy, first Gelato before Art-ing

musei_vaticani_gelatomusei_vaticani_gelatoThe holiest of Gelato Then we get holy engulfed in art

musei_vaticanimusei_vaticaniEven the corners were treasures musei_vaticani_raphael_vaticanmusei_vaticani_raphael_vaticanLike a slice of the Sistine Chapel Raphael's little real estate in the Vatican was just the pre cursor to the Sistine Chapel. Although there was no photos allowed, after about a half hour of just starring straight up, it was a sight myself and my neck will never forget.

To skip even more lines, the true slippery tourist, I snuck in with the "group only"  exit and the Me Myself and I tour group marched directly into St. Peter's Basilica. 

basilica_di_san_pietro_vaticanbasilica_di_san_pietro_vaticanWhen the crowds are too much, just look up and everything else falls away

Even though the crowds were massive, it was easy to feel somehow alone standing here. 

Not to worry, there were crowds outside too

piazza_san_pietro_vaticanpiazza_san_pietro_vaticanGrace can fall to the masses

I promise I paused longer then it took to snap these shots. I did most of my processing on the 2.5 mile walk back because I do like to walk, even if my knee's are crying, the cobblestones can handle the water works just fine I guess. 

The walking pays off

I found a bridge, I found a Vista, I am finding myself the longer I get a chance to see life as part on a bigger event happening across a world I have only seen in books and dreams. 

piazza_del_popolo_romepiazza_del_popolo_romeStumbling up staircases is worth it river_tiber_romeriver_tiber_romeThe walk back was worth all 2.5 miles for this little moment of peace

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Italy Rome Vatican City https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/holy-holy-holy-how-is-this-real Mon, 21 Mar 2016 20:13:11 GMT
Wake me up before you go go https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/wake-me-up-before-you-go-go Hop, skip, and a jump 

ROME

Woke up for a 6:00 flight over to CIA airport in Rome, which is about the size of the McDonalds in Orlando's I-Drive. Now of course, I read about transportation, I googled mapped it, took pictures, did all the things I promise you but there is nothing like a quite like trying to figure out public transport with a language gap and no caffeine. How this translates? Kit got on a bus to a train station, thus derailing the google map plan (pun intended), and kicked into gear Kit's survival skills.  Finding the train station, check.  Getting to the right platform, check.  Fitting into a tiny tube with 6000 strangers and a full backpack, such a delightful check.

So my first impression of Rome, love what I've nick named Puffy Pine trees, not in love with public transportation. Also, what every guide book will tell you about Rome being dangerous for belongings? Very true. Stepping off the train felt a little like stepping into a hunting ground and Kit with a large pack and a map had to be at least 12pts to the happy hunters of the Termini Station.

At this point I firmly believe that Google, bitter that I did not use her directions to the Termini Station, decided to pay me back in kind with phony bus directions.  Or much more likely the case, I took the right bus going the wrong way.  Long story short, I got to the hotel about an hour later with a couple of kilometers of practice hiking under my belt.

This first day was more for the experience less for the pictures.  However after meeting up with my best mate Sammi, we did do the needed exploring to redeem the sense of adventure. We found ourselves eating the best meal of my life at Bernini Ristorante with server Toni, on the cobble stones of the Piazza Navona.

Pasta PleasePasta PleaseWords really can't do this justice. I will only offer up the additional detail that the reason the phone camera lighting here is so tinted is because naturally we were sitting next to a personal fireplace. Stop it Italy, I can't handle you. But wait there's more

Chocolate Gelato Cream X3 HeavenChocolate Gelato Cream X3 HeavenThey even powdered imaginary fork and knife. So naturally one eats this by gently laying ones face down as close as possible and inhaling, no?

To top it all off, while Sammi is running a conference, we are also staying at the "Aldrovandi Villa Borghese" which roughly translates to the "hotel of Kit's dreams". 

The fairest of them allThe fairest of them allThe slippers came in little bags, and yes that whole wall is a mirror. Gave it my swankiest smile.

So here I will leave day one Rome on a happy note and promise that the rest of Rome comes in a more visual bundle 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Italy Rome bernini ristorante piazza navona https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/wake-me-up-before-you-go-go Sat, 19 Mar 2016 22:17:55 GMT
Bye Buda Bye Pest Bye Kit's feet https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/bye-buda-bye-pest-bye-kits-feet 10 + Miles, One Day, GO!

So this day was so full of walking, hopping Metro's, and navigating language barriers, that we are gonna tell the story in the language of thousand word photo style.

Fisherman's Bastion 

Fisherman's Bastion aka Kit's castleFisherman's Bastion aka Kit's castleSo there is a giant church, Matthias Church, that the Bastion flanks. The church was beautiful, but I found myself like a kid in a castle. So I my focus stayed on the flare, go figure.

Growing up on Disney, it still baffles me that castles can be real things and this was just pretty garnishing to the Matthias Church. I climbed on all the nooks I could fit into. 

Exhibit A 

The Bastion View

 

Bashful BastionBashful BastionNo need to be shy Fisherman's Bastion, we all know you like to watch the Parliament I'm the King of this Castle. I'll take a paper crown, just let me stay here please. 

Ok so down the river, on a tram, off a tram, and over the way God decided to apologize for trying to kill me yesterday with the weather with this little backdrop 

Raining lightRaining lightAgain, I've done zero editing on my blog shots. This is all God's light work showing off

Now let's get up close and personal to that big building that has been hogging up all the skyline

Parliament

Look up up upLook up up upParliament really didn't need anything to make it more jaw dropping. Being open would of been nice, but every country gets to have their revolution holidays I guess

Still closed from all the countries festivities, probably better off that way cause Kit DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME

Metro over to the Opera, grab a ballet ticket, Metro up to... 

Hero's Square

Hero's square soaked it up I swearHero's square soaked it up I swearSo march isn't quite season for Budapest yet, apparently they even flood about twice a year. This is not that time clearly

Included in this package

A Castle!

Hero's Square has curvy edgesHero's Square has curvy edgesCastle tucked away on the outskirts of the city, sure!

Down a Metro, over a tram, and into the rabbit hole of market life complete with actual cooked rabbits (probably) more so duck and Goulash which both are actually worth the try. 

Central Market Budapest

PaprikaPaprikaCentral Market, Chaos with food, tourist traps, and perfect lighting

Hungarian official spice, Paprika.  As my tour guide confirmed, "We spice everything with Paprika and salt, lots of both". My kind of people.

My night then finished out with a trip to the Opera house to see a ballet.  Which was one of the most beautiful things I've seen, until about the second act, when a member of the audience cried out in agony in what I later came to decide was probably a heart attack.  To be honest, it was probably the most scared I've been in a long time.  Being in a foreign country with the current state of affairs and hearing screaming followed by people running out of the theater, very hard to discern what is actually a threat or just tragedy.  The ballet however was not phased in the slightest and continued to perform without even a glance in the direction of the body being carried out.  Maybe they are accustom to their art having such a powerful effect, hard to say.

So let's end on a happy note, cause I did actually despite the fear. 

These feet

Kit was hereKit was hereIn case you didn't believe me, here I am in Budapest I promise These feet got me across a new country and a city that I wish I could of glued myself down onto. 

Next up, 4 am wake up call ! And preview for Italy, sardines! No, not the kind you eat...

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Budapest Central Market Danube Fisherman's Bastion Hero's Square Parliament https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/bye-buda-bye-pest-bye-kits-feet Sat, 19 Mar 2016 10:28:17 GMT
It's a three shot kinda day https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/its-a-three-shot-kinda-day JO REGGELT!

It's almost 10 am here to my internal 5 am and espresso is the name of the game today.

To a great deal of the folks back home, I promised a food blog and there's no time like the present when your hotel feeds you. 

They had a bit of everything, from fruit to liver paste (I'll get more adventurous I swear) 

Food Kit Food Kit

Important: Cheese yes wow always

Meats: Salami is surprisingly the least threatening of the deli, such a turn of events

Desserts: Light and not over sweetened. One for moment and three for the road. 

The two espresso's shown above, one is happily featured on my desk now as I write this and convince myself to suck it up and get out of bed! Time change is a struggle haha!

Finally up and at it for a rainy 38 degree day

Although I had my camera for the three hour tour, yes a three hour tour in the rain Gilligan, these photos were from my iphone and I'll add some of the professional shots when I get time

View from BudaView from BudaRainy, freezing day? Hike to the top of Capitol Hill? But of course!

So I found a free walking tour by HostelCulture lead by a cool guy named Andris who was finding a use for his master's degree in Hungarian history. Our massive group, four people including the guide, we braved the freezing for some stunning views and fun stories. 

My favorite part of the day seems to be the wandering though

The space in-betweenThe space in-betweenProbably my favorite detail of any city are the details in the way's and where's of it all.

Oh I forgot to mention, that today was a big day in History for Budapest Revolution, so Eddie Izzard here's your flags. 

Once back to the hotel with a life saving hot shower, I ventured back out for some food and stumbled into some unusual places.

My favorite a private square where this picture does no justice

Hidden CornersHidden CornersSome of the happiest accidents come from being brave enough to just wander in

And two, a organ concert in none other then St. Stephen's Basilica  

St. Stephen's Basilica

No words can describe how amazing it was.  No words can describe how tired I am.

 

 

 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Budapest FoodKit Rain St. Stephen's Basilica https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/its-a-three-shot-kinda-day Tue, 15 Mar 2016 09:07:26 GMT
TripKit https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/tripkit Let's go to Europe!  Plan it, Squeeze it in

Starting out

Pack weight: 35lbs

Kit weight: 145lbs

Location Location Location?

Budapest Italy France

Since fine european wine is sadly off this trip's agenda, it is my intention to eat my way through this tri-country trip.  Despite my ambitious caloric agenda, I offer up my starting poundage with every hope that I'll still weight over 100 lbs when I get home. My pedometer has accepted the challenge. 

Night flight and sleeping pill, what a cocktail for Kit.  I sat window side with a free middle seat (hello Kit's leg room) and a lovely American lady to my right that promised to kick me if I slept through the landing.  Such the friendly neighbor. In short, the usual turbulence, the unusual included staircase, and the much needed drool stains. Keeping it classy America.

Osprey 46 Kestrel fit overhead like a champ, however, many a comment on how I managed to bring it on. I don't think people are acquainted with the size of their own rolling luggage, or perhaps spacial awareness en general. No Matter! I made it barely to my second flight and two hours later, happily in Budapest, sipping coffee and googling the Metro system.

Time for another photo to keep you engaged

Spring is even hereSpring is even hereTip toe through the Violas? Bus, Metro, and a lot of walking later, I had checked in successfully to Hotel Carlton.  My lobby attendant speaks English and seemed genuinely surprised that I am genuinely excited to be here.  First impressions are always a fun merry go round.  The fun stops when Kit forgets how to read signage and can't find the room.  But then again, we all know my awkward red face, Europe deserves the change to meet it too, no?

First major impression for the day

Danube

Water under the bridgeWater under the bridgeThe Danube is a quick flowing river, but the views are worth stopping for. The bridge that connects Buda and Pest actually made me choke back some feelings.  It was that first real, woah, Kit is not in Disney anymore moment that I've needed for a long time.  Later crossing back, I stopped to watch very stubborn seagulls fly up and float down in great quantities and alarming nautical knots for hollow boned creatures. Many a stranger now also knows my awkward laugh. 2 for 2!

Paneer CheeseburgerPaneer CheeseburgerYum! Who doesn't love cheese. I got this at an outdoor market called Kravan. I wandered! Half lost and hungry, half excited and google map seared into my working memory, all the way out to a street market that was called the Karavan.  A little space between building with a gravel lot and food trucks.  This Paneer cheeseburger.  This Paneer cheeseburger.....

Happy.

When in doubt, follow the sun set home.  Traced my sets back but not without picking up an extra treat. 

Gourmet Ramen So naturally, I also found some Ramen to compare.  One glass mug, water heater, 30 seconds, and pink spoon (thanks mom) later, I've got to say their ramen manages to be a tad saltier but just as satisfying to this soup-blooded creature.

 

Close out the day.  

It's been a crazy 24 hours.  I make no promises on what the rest will bring.  If it's anything like today,  I'll be lucky if I weigh as much as my bag coming home. But I will be one happy Kit, that I believe. 

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mohrkit@gmail.com (Kit Mohr Photography) Bridge connecting Buda and Pest Budapest Karavan Market Smack Ramen Noddles https://www.kitmohr.com/blog/2016/3/tripkit Mon, 14 Mar 2016 20:11:44 GMT