Travelling to me is freedom, broadening my horizons and inspiration for future projects. Up until now, countless photos helped me remember my travels. From now on, I would like to catalogue my thoughts and photos by means of these blog posts, maybe even retrospectively (what am I taking on?!). Those of you expecting travel tips from me will be disappointed. Pure, subjective gushing/ sometimes criticism is to come, accompanied by even more subjective photos, which embody the given country/ city for me. ☺
We got back from Northern Italy 2 weeks ago, where our destinations were Milan and Lake Como. People who know me know that I am not the type to laze around. I need to get going and explore. If we walk under 10 km a day, I feel the urge to go further. Obviously, we always visit the popular sights, but we spend the least possible time there. We’d much rather look for the more authentic parts of town, try to blend in, wander around and adapt to the pace of life.
The first thing that comes to mind about Milan is: the fashion capital. And it really is! I am not that impressed by high-fashion, I don’t swoon over their products, only their editorials. Still, what I encountered in Milan had an effect… even on me! That city is style itself; just window shopping is a full day’s occupation, not to mention the ultra-stylish men and women, who are and should be worshipped. No words can describe how gracefully and elegantly they age, without any intervention. I was telling myself they must be working in some field of the fashion industry, and this must be their business look, but no… In any case, their sophistication and mentality is admirable.
We spent 2/3 of our trip by the lake (it’s about an hour’s ride from Milan). It’s worth renting a car to race along the mountain roads by the lake and take the ferry. It’s simply mesmerizing as a new tiny and colourful village appears after every turn. You see a different side of them if you watch from the water, and if you roam the narrow streets. Fresh air, cleanliness (it’s evident that the Swiss border is nearby), lovely and outgoing people who are extremely grateful for our slightest attempt at Italian. 🙂 Time seems to move more lazily there, and we eagerly fell in line with the routine. We enjoyed the picturesque view, which never grew old. Not to mention the choices Italian cuisine, wine and coffee culture offer – let’s just say I left my conscious diet behind. 😀 In retrospect, judging by the state of my skin I may have gone overboard with the fish. 😀 Every day at dawn lakeside restaurants prepare their dishes from freshly-caught lavarello (whitefish), and they serve exclusively fish courses (Ittiturismo da Abate).
After 3-4 lakeside villages, the next ones hold few surprises (a tiny harbour, a tiny main square and a few streets winding up the hillside). Still, I felt the same enthusiasm each time we started wandering among the attractive buildings. I cannot get enough of the sight of the shadows, windows and genuine local traditions.
I’m not sure why, but the photo above will always remind me of the following scene: (some background information should be provided; the narrow mountain paths I have mentioned before are delightful for motorists, cyclists and drivers. However, they are slightly less ideal for pedestrians – they are hindered by the lack of pavements, badly lit areas and inadequate sight distances.) Back to the story and the locals’ ability to adapt: one evening we headed for a walk after dinner. Well ahead of us mother-2 kids-father were walking in a single line. We spotted a source of light moving with them – the resourceful father was holding a torch, aiming it backwards in order to make them visible. 🙂
I should note that it’s not easy to go on holiday with a photographer. I always have 1-2 cameras hanging on me, and I keep stopping in the most impossible situations (without warning), take a turn/get ahead/fall behind. Andris has learnt to handle this over the years, and at one point during the day he pops into a café to read a little while I ramble with my cameras. 😀 Taking photos from a speedboat is quite fun – I gave it a try this year with moderate success 😀 I just could not miss the film location of Casino Royale and Star Wars II (among others):
I started off by saying to myself no more than 10 photos can make it into this post. Well, I have splendidly managed to exceed this. 😀 Apart from “my own agenda” (with which I introduced this post) my aim is to conjure up pleasant memories, tastes, smells and impressions in those of you who have already been there, and to make the rest of you long to see these parts of the world with your own eyes in this life.
I making a promise here that my next travel post will feature our trip to Japan this spring. Don’t hesitate to badger me! 😀
(The author holds exclusive copyright of the photos and the text.)