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…the people you might have met

Yesterday was a fabulous day visiting Pisa and Lucca with friends. The sun shone, the conversation flowed, and many photographs were taken. In many ways, this is unremarkable because that is what happens whether walking through a favourite well-traversed road in Florence, or visiting another area of Italy. You cannot escape the history – which is why so many love to visit and stay.

I’ve enjoyed time this Christmas with a young Canadian cousin visiting during his break from grad studies in Budapest, walking around a number of cities now, letting our conversations flow between modern and ancient life.

And through these days there are snippets of conversation about the people who lived in these towns before… many years ago… Real people – some superstars in their own time and in ours, some humble artisans who followed their passions, some ‘everyday’ people just living their lives…

This recent post on Florence for Free by fellow bloggers Meg & Hannah speaks exactly to this point. As much as we want to understand the lives of people who’ve gone before, there are some things we simply don’t have all the facts on…

I hope you enjoy their tale about the Mona Lisa, a quiet Florentine girl who is now world-famous. What humble beginnings to such exhausted heights!

http://florenceforfree.co/2015/12/31/lisa-gherardini/

Celebrating life at 40

Turning 40 Around the World – The Finding 40 Project

One of the great joys of turning 50 was knowing that no matter what I had thought my 40’s would be, I hadn’t begun to imagine the people I’d meet and experiences I’d have. I had learned to greet 50 with respect and awe. I remember the emotions connected with turning 40 – they were a mixture of hope and anticipation.

Globally, thankfully, more people – more women – understand that most of the time the things we fear about our “0” birthdays – those ones with a zero at the end, are not as bad as we make them out to be. They will bring their own share of laughter, joy, sadness, travel, living, loving and life.

Author Amy Cebulski demonstrates in her book, The Finding 40 Project, that women everywhere are coming to their 40s with renewed energy and an openness to opportunities, whether they realize it or not.

Cebulski’s ability to welcome the reader into the interview is delightful. Her ease of setting the scene and letting each story flow allows the reader to jump between stories – skimming stories as time allows, or read page after page. As with most things, some stories will resonate more, some less. All are interesting. All are authentic. In a time when various media channels are happy to tell women of all countries what they should be doing, feeling, experiencing and striving for, The Finding 40 Project is a delight to read.

It is obvious from the first profile to the last – this project brought the joy of connecting with others, hearing their stories and feelings of comfort at knowing none of us is alone in this journey. Although our stories are not the same, the threads of emotions that weave through the lives of women are beautifully illustrated in the stories within these pages.

From public figures juggling families and careers, to those living a quieter life, the stories showcase the journeys towards an age that has long been viewed as one of life’s major turning points.

Through sharing their stories of joy and heartbreak, physical challenges, financial challenges and sometimes incredible joy, the reader catches a glimpse of themselves in a sentence or a story – a shared experience that can bind strangers.

I know that I will return to it from time to time, to remember that we are all on a journey and we each get to write new chapters. Even if they are only in changing our focus by a few degrees, we can change the story from what someone else sets up for us, and that makes all the difference.

http://www.pinkpangea.com/2015/12/turning-40-aimee-cebulski/ 

In with the new

"Be mindful of how you spend your day. The things that fill your time and your mind, and see how they flow through your year."

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Beautiful, quiet corners of Vancouver

Vancouver is a large city with spectacular vistas and quiet corners. Here are a few of my favourites I’ve enjoyed over the years… No matter the season, there are beautiful places to enjoy, wander around with friends or relax with a coffee by yourself. Any time of year you can find peace away from the busyness of life and recharge your batteries.

You’ll find it at the top of the Showcase

https://globalwanderings.ca/showcase/ 

Horseshoe Bay

 

12 dates of the Florence Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas usually starts after Christmas Day, but if that was the extent of your time in Florence, you’d miss some of the best 12 dates to celebrate in style in this beautiful ancient city. From main piazzas and streets to medieval alleys, there are parades and celebrations, markets and singing, and food with family and friends.

Christmas Tree at the Duomo

Christmas Tree at the Duomo

Starting at page 32 of the November/December 2015 issue of Vacation Rental Travels free online magazine, here are 12 ideas of dates to enjoy in Florence over the Christmas period.

http://vacationrentaltravels.com/2015-11

You can also find a link right here under my Showcase.

Chandeliers near Piazza della Repubblica

Chandeliers near Piazza della Repubblica

Cavalcade of the Magi

Cavalcade of the Magi, on Epiphany – Jan. 6

The season is certainly changing…

My first November in Florence was filled with too many new things for me to understand the significance. Last year, my land lady explained, and I listened carefully… And here it is again.

While many might think I am considering the awful flood of 1966, I must confess, this afternoon my mind is distracted with a lighter wave.

For weeks, through very changeable October weather, it struck me from time to time that I had not seen, or heard, the starlings gather before their big migration away from Florence. It is happening now, on this mild November afternoon, about 30 minutes away from sunset, their songs fill my ears and their bodies fill the skies. It is almost time. Too small and too quick to get a clear photo, their dark bodies line rooftops, antenna and treetops.

Through the heat of the summer they could be heard sheltering in the trees around Santa Maria Novella, and occasionally in the evening of a hot day, after a thunderstorm. But now, they are gathering. Their song is different – their flights are different.

A friend mentioned recently that were supposed to be heading into. Cold, snowy winter. These little birds will do well to leave soon. If the forecast is correct, they will be happier not being here.

Starling gathering light

Starling gathering light

For now, as the sun’s rays slant under the light cloud, they are my companions, and I’m enjoying their company and farewell.

Do something unusual – try something different

Visiting Florence, or Italy, in the summer is seen as ‘the thing to do’! Its summer, after all, what could be better?

Two new articles recently posted on Pink Pangea might give you some ideas to travel in the off-season, and even beyond the Tuscan capital, to savour the delights of this beautiful place.

Crossing the Ponte Vecchio

Winter morning crossing the Ponte Vecchio

Tempting your senses to life is just one of the things Italy – Tuscany – does brilliantly, gently, and deliciously!

Savouring Tuscany

Savouring Tuscany throughout the year

You’ll find them both under the Showcase tab.

Start as you mean to continue 

The Celebration of the Birthday continues – Days 6, 7 and 8 have been spent travelling, which bodes well for a travel writer! 

As a travel blogger, I am about to start day 3 of this year’s TBDI event at TTG Incontri… That is, I’m at Travel Bloggers Destination Italy – the first professional travel bloggers forum in Italy – at the international tourism trade exhibition. 

Between talking about the ROI and how to demonstrate to destinations the value of working with professional bloggers, to explaining what blogging is, I’m having a great time meeting some fabulous bloggers and talking with some incredibly passionate destination people. 

Excitingly, all of that adds up to some great potential, and most of it probable, travel and an interesting year ahead as I continue my journey from communications professional to independent freelance travel writer. 

This morning we have heavy rain – but yesterday was spectacular! All a reality of this great new path I’m on! 

 

Celebrating in style – Day 5

For many years I have been trying to find a tiramisu that even comes close to one I had in Sydney in 2000, in a small osteria in Balmain. Owned by two brothers who hailed from Rome – Fabio the chef and Gianpaolo the sculptor – they served their nonna’s recipe, delighting each time they watched a guest taste their first bite and almost immediately sigh in adoration of the dessert still on their lips. 

So it was for us. My Danish flat mate and I had decided that a certain Friday we would both be home for dinner, and it was high time we tried our new local establishment. 

Small in size with seating for no more than 30, we entered to a warm greeting and laughter from a group of 12 who were already enjoying themselves. Our main course was delicious, I remember that. We’d both thoroughly enjoyed our meals, but I suspect by the time we headed home neither of us could quite remember what we’d had. Fifteen years later, there is no chance. 

This is all because of the tiramisu. As we finished our meal, not planning to have dessert, we noticed that one of the chefs was chatting with the guests at the large table, obvious people he’d met before. Slowly walking around the group, rubbing the shoulders of people as he went, with laughter and conversation bubbling along. We both worked long days and thought we’d enjoy a quick shoulder rub, and he soon joined us to ask about our meals and offer dessert. He insisted we had to try his grandmother’s tiramisu. We agreed to a small taste, thinking a spoonful would be sent forth. That was not the case. A few minutes later Gianpaolo leaned through the hatch from the kitchen as our desserts were brought to our table. Each had a large serving, not just a taste, and we wondered what we were about to taste, not wanting to be rude. 

Slowly, carefully, we each scooped a small amount up and into our mouths. To say the flavor exploded would be unkind. It gently wrapped us in a hug eminatting from our mouths and filled our whole bodies. Each of us quickly smiled and laughed and sunk slowly into our chairs. This was a piece of heaven, loving recreated by two adoring grandsons half a world away from where they’d watched their nonna make this treat for her family. That history, love for people and passion for the craft showed in every mouthful we are. And we ate in silence, wanting to devour and savior it at the same time. 

Even after almost two years in Italy I had not had one that came close to that experience. Last night, as a surprise birthday cake at aperitivo at one of my favourite local wine bars, a large tiramisu was brought out with candles for us to enjoy.

                            
Last night at Sei Divino, I found a tiramisu to rival  that treat of 15 years ago. 

There is work to do – Day 3 and Day 4 and Day 5

There is nothing for it… Day 3 was a work day. So is Day 4 and Day 5. Three days straight of teaching, writing proposals, and time with friends. No long lunches, no pretty pictures, no grand adventure…

Why three days in one? …they are all ‘rinse & repeat’ kind of days. And although there won’t be any drives through the countryside, or strolls through the city, they will be grand days.

This is my Birthday Week …and a work week, all in one. All is okay – I am in Florence!

evening lights along the Arno

evening lights along the Arno

DreamDiscoverItalia

Discovering Italy one trip at a time

TESSEROLOGY

A MOSAIC OF BITS AND PIECES ON TRAVEL, LIFE AND TIMES

micahdoes

Living wide and eating well.

A Touch of Everything

Beauty, Books, Lifestyle & Everything In Between!

The Hague 2 Do

Explore Top Events & Attractions in The Hague

Making IT Count

There is no lack of anything in a beautiful moment. It is peace. In a beautiful moment the peace comes naturally. There is no struggle for it and the mind goes silent.

GALLIVANCE

Travel Tales With A Twist

Timeless Italy

Dream, Discover, Experience

globalwanderings.ca

Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life: passionate about food & wine | random moments | and travel

Another think coming

maremurray.smugmug.com

Florence for Free

free walks & work-arounds for rich italian adventures

SuburbanSource

…making the most of our suburban backyard

Tales & Observations of A Hopeless Wanderer

A blog about wellness, life, travel and becoming my best-self

Look Mama! Good design and funny things...

zen habits

Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Your Single Woman Travel Guide

Single or Solo, Your Guide to Traveling Your Dreams

naturaltrekking

Just another WordPress.com site

DreamDiscoverItalia

Discovering Italy one trip at a time

TESSEROLOGY

A MOSAIC OF BITS AND PIECES ON TRAVEL, LIFE AND TIMES

micahdoes

Living wide and eating well.

A Touch of Everything

Beauty, Books, Lifestyle & Everything In Between!

The Hague 2 Do

Explore Top Events & Attractions in The Hague

Making IT Count

There is no lack of anything in a beautiful moment. It is peace. In a beautiful moment the peace comes naturally. There is no struggle for it and the mind goes silent.

GALLIVANCE

Travel Tales With A Twist

Timeless Italy

Dream, Discover, Experience

globalwanderings.ca

Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life: passionate about food & wine | random moments | and travel

Another think coming

maremurray.smugmug.com

Florence for Free

free walks & work-arounds for rich italian adventures

SuburbanSource

…making the most of our suburban backyard

Tales & Observations of A Hopeless Wanderer

A blog about wellness, life, travel and becoming my best-self

Look Mama! Good design and funny things...

zen habits

Grand adventures and global wanderings. Next stop: Italy.

Your Single Woman Travel Guide

Single or Solo, Your Guide to Traveling Your Dreams

naturaltrekking

Just another WordPress.com site

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