Portofino, Italy

Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea

Portofino, Italy

Portofino, Italy

Portofino, Italy

Portofino is such a picturesque Italian seaside city. We took a ferry boat over to Portofino from Santa Margarita. You can easily find these ferry’s and what I just found out, you can go to multiple cities – like Cinque Terre. You can also hike into Portofino from Comogli or San Fruttuoso (a must see). I hear the hiking isn’t for the light at heart BUT you can see some really cool WWII bunkers on top of the mountains. We have promised ourselves that the next time we go to Italy, we are going to hike to all of the cities. I can’t wait!

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A big shout out to my girl, Jill Rodgers. She just became a Registered Architect. I am so proud of her!!

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ROMA

Hanschen Klein's ColoseumWell dang-it, it happened. My true love for Italy was reunited. I said I wouldn’t return for a while, and then, inevitably,  I always go back to that beautiful romantic-beast of a country. But what’s even better, my truest of loves – fell in love with it too.

IMG_2943 Unfortunately, my love cannot be shared with the Italian airlines, AlItalia. This was the last time we saw our bags… until 5 days later. Yep, we’re going to have to have a little chat.Hanschen Klein's ROMAOn another note, if you find yourself with 48 hours in Rome and you’re overwhelmed with all of the options of things that you can do… I have a fool proof first-timers trip to Rome. You’ll hit the high points and you won’t feel like you missed out on anything too historically significant.

DAY 1 (Full Day): Wander the town — There are a few things that (in my opinion) you absolutely have to see – along with every other tourist. Let your first day be the day that gets you acquainted with the city. Must see’s: Fontana di Trevi (throw your coin into the fountain), the Pantheon (because, shame on you if you don’t!), the Colosseum (go in if you have time, but if not – do a pass by), while your over that way, check out the Arch of Constantine and walk through the Roman Forum (or pass by it and look through the gates), and eat some gelato near the Spanish Steps.  This would definitely be a full day and also a cheap day. The only things you would have to pay to see are the Colosseum and the Roman Forum — and that’s only if you choose to go in!

Hanschen Klein's Pantheon

The Pantheon

Hanschen Klein's PantheonDay 2: Tackle the Vatican — Whether you’re catholic or not, you should check out the Vatican City. Why, you might ask? Are you kidding… you know you want to see the Sistine Chapel by means of the Vatican Museum. Don’t lie to yourself – you do. Let me help you out here — BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. And that’s for every major museum in Europe. I had never been to Italy during the high tourist season, so I never knew how much of a necessity it really was to buy your tickets in advance. The typical wait time is between 1-2 hours. No joke. Maximize your time – buy in advance and skip the lines!!

HanschenKlein's Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum

HanschenKlein's The Vatican

IMG_3039

Interior Walls inside the Vatican

If you’re up for it, climb the stairs to the top of the inner dome and then take another set of stairs if you want to go all the way up and look over the entire city. It’s 5 Euro’s to take the stairs and 7 to take the elevator. Do it. But don’t if you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights. The walls do tend to curve and lean a little. It’s also one-way, so it’s difficult to go backwards once you start.

Hanschen Klein's Piazza NavonaAnd once you’ve exhausted yourself, get some vino and sit down at a nice restaurant at Piazza Navona.  And for all of you Dan Brown fan’s… this is the fountain where the bad guy attempts to drown the last cardinal. I love this city. Give yourself time to get lost and discover new things around you. Live it and Love it.

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Peace and Love Throughout the World

Jetplane

Hanschen KleinYou know when you’re getting ready to go on vacation and the hours at work just seem to drag on and on… yep, that’s where I am right now. I have a whirl wind weekend coming up and then I have to come back to work and then midweek of next week, I’ll be on a jetplane… for Europe!!

We are taking a little vacation and going on a European Cruise. I’m so excited. The last cruise I went on was when I was teeny-tiny and it was a Disney Cruise right before they re-did all of their ships. I think this may be a little different.  Oh, I cannot wait! Do you have any travel tips or recommendations, favorite restaurants? My one big travel tip — ALWAYS bring blister pads and drink LOTS of wine.

See where we’ll be going below…

accunet.orgRome, Italy

Krup Street::Isle of CapriCapri, Italy

www.lonelyplanet.comFlorence, Italy

beauty-places.comPortofino, Italy

kids.britannica.comTunis, Tunisia

forum.cyclingnews.comSete, France

www.historvius.comBarcelona, Spain

Oh yeah. I’m ready to get on that plane!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Spring Break 2012

My best friend is a world traveler. AND she’s the bomb . com. I asked her to do a guest post on her most recent travels and this is what she had to share…

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Unlike most of my sensible friends who went out into the “Real World” and found a “Real Job”, I decided to hide in school for another year to give myself a little more time to decide what I want to do with my life. Nine times out of ten I think that they made the right choice because they all appear to be moving forward with their lives (read: careers) while I am slowly treading water in the deep end. The one time of year that I am sure that the decision I made wins is April. While they are all struggling through 70-hour workweeks and filing taxes because of all of the money they make, I get to go on spring break.

Since this will likely be my last spring break (my poor father may have a stroke if I tell him I am going to remain unemployed) I thought I should really do it right. To increase the fun, I brought my French friend, Laure, along. She proved very useful because she can speak both French and Spanish which got us out of a few scraps, although oddly none of the countries we visited were French or Spanish speaking.

We began our trip in Vienna (where we are both studying International Law) and took a train to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

This is a city with a beautiful city center. There is a canal that runs through the center of the city and each of the bridges that crosses it has a different design. Some were solid and industrial while others were light and artistic. There was even a bridge covered in padlocks in the ancient tradition that if you and a lover cross the bridge and add a padlock then your love will be true forever. I had never had Slovenian food before, but it turns out that it is not very different from Austrian food. A lot of meat and potatoes.

After exploring Ljubljana for a while we took the train to Bled to see Lake Bled. We were told that it is one of Slovenia’s most beautiful locations and we planned to hike around it and visit the local castle. However, as luck would have it, it was pouring with rain and we could not actually see very much of the lake at all due to all of the fog. Laure and I being the troopers that we are decided to walk around the lake anyway and we had the whole place to ourselves. Clearly, we were the only two without enough sense to stay indoors.

After returning to the hotel and drying out a little bit, we finished exploring Ljubljana. Changing into dry clothes was a wasted effort because it rained on us all afternoon anyway. (As it would turn out, we would only have a day and a half of sunshine the whole trip.)

The next day we took a train to Koper, Slovenia where we were met by my friend Jamie and her husband, Randy. The rain followed us the whole way, but even the grey weather couldn’t detract from the beautiful countryside.

Everyone should take this train ride at some point in his or her life.

The city of Koper is a lovely little place, but there is not a whole lot to do there. We had a car, so we went driving down the coast to Piran, which I enjoyed a lot. We explored the tiny town and then walked up the mountain to the church and further up to the castle. The views from there are worth the short little walk.

The next day we headed to Trieste, Italy. This is where my grandmother grew up and I felt very close to her by being there. It made all of her stories so tangible because I could see everything that she spoke of. There is a pier off the main square that she always talks about and is her favorite place in the world. Here it is on the day I was there.

Randy had to go back to work after Trieste, so the girls headed to Milan just in time for Easter Sunday. What better way to celebrate than to go to Catholic mass in Italian?

The next morning we took a plane to Istanbul, Turkey. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me because I knew that the culture would be so different from anything that I had ever experienced before. We only got to spend three days there and I know that I could have spent much longer. We saw the Hagia Sophia, the Spice Market, and the Topkapı Palace. We saw where the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea meet and we even tried Turkish coffee. In Turkey, they read coffee ground and not tea leaves. My three favorite things from the visit were:

The Blue Mosque:

The Grand Bazaar:

And taking a boat across the Bosporus to the Asian side of Istanbul for some less touristy food.

Then on Thursday we flew to Athens, Greece. The moment we landed we realized that it wasn’t raining! So quickly dropped all of our stuff at the hotel and walked up to the top of the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and catch the amazing view of the city.

Athens is such a beautiful city, but I think I am a little biased because it was the only city we visited that it didn’t rain constantly. We managed to do a lot in Athens, including: the Acropolis, Philopappos Hill, the National Archaeological Museum, the Theatre of Dionysus, the Ancient Agora, Syntagma Square and the Parliament building, as well as the Acropolis Museum.

In the afternoon we took a bus to Cape Sounio to see the Temple of Poseidon.

The next day we saw Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. This is the largest ancient temple in the world.

Then we went to the Panathenaic Stadium where you can run in the footsteps of the original Olympic winners.

Purely by accident, we were in Greece during Orthodox Easter (just like we had been in Italy during Catholic Easter). We thought this would book end our trip nicely so we went to a midnight Easter service at the oldest Orthodox church in Athens. It was certainly an experience that I will never forget.

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Today I am thankful for: receiving my passport in the mail. I don’t even think it took a week to expedite! And now it’s official. I get to see my best friend in Vienna in May!!!!

Venice, Italy: La Biennale di Venezia

I am a lover of art. And one of my favorite galleries to enjoy art is at the Biennale in Venice. The gallery is quite expansive. Part of it is located in The Arsenal; an abandoned shipyard of sorts and an amazing place to find abandoned buildings where there is some really impressive art. There is also a garden portion where there are buildings from an old world expo highlighting different countries and their contemporary architecture form around the world. This post focuses mostly on the art found in the old Arsenal. Unfortunately, I was so immersed by the art that I forgot to take pictures of the artist’s name and title. Please inform me if you know the title name and artist of these separate works. They were all so amazing!

This work, I had to show first. It was my absolute favorite out of the entire gallery. And it was literally breathtaking. This work was set up in a large room with low lights and and each of these components were made up of reflective strands that collectively made these incredible large forms. Some of the strands passed through the other forms making it so that when you moved the form would take a different shape. It was amazing. I could have sat in there for hours.

I would love to be an art collector… it’s slowly in the works; however, graduate school isn’t helping.

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Today I am thankful that: in 61 days I will be finished with my graduate education.

These pictures were taken in Venice, Italy at The Arsenal art gallery in the Fall of 2009 while I studying abroad in Italy.