• Day 4 Rome

    Day 4 Rome – Today is my last day in Rome, as well Italy.  Sad to leave as I have encountered so much beauty here and made great new friends.


    I started the day off by visiting another country and the smallest in the world in fact, Vatican City.  Such incredible history in just one large area.  I went into the Vatican Museum and witnessed some of the most amazing artworks, including of course the masterpiece Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.  Then it was onto St Peter’s Basilica the large church which is built upon the apostle Peter’s tomb.


    After the Vatican I went onto the Castel Sant Angelo.  A rather large fortress commisioned by the Emporor Hadrian (cool name) near the river.  Over the years it has had many uses including a Pope’s residence and pretty brutal prison.  Hadrian’s tomb is here and from the top of the fortress you have one of the most amazing views of Rome.  This is where I finally blew a history chip in my head.  I just couldn’t remember everything I had seen and heard.  You walk two steps in Rome and there is some unique piece of history waiting to tell its tale.  So I headed back to my hotel.


    In the afternoon I put down the camera and went for an open bus ride around all of Rome.  Was relaxing and a great way to end my time here.


    Grazie mille Italia.  Magnifico e bellissomo!

  • Day 3 Rome

    Day 3 Rome – Today was another perfect day although a tad hot.  Forced me to buy a hat, and after much bartering, got one for a massive 5 euro.


    I spent three quarters of the day at the Palatino (Palatine) and Foro Romano (Roman Forum).  They are located next to the Colosseum.  There was a bit of ground to cover and was quite exhausting, but worth it in the end as you see ancient Rome at its best.  I went into the ruins of the Emporor Augustus house with perfectly preserved remnants of Roman frescoes on the walls that are over 2000 years old.  From the top of the Palatino I was able to get a great panoramic shot overlooking all of Rome.  Hearing stories, seeing artifacts and some ruins that dated back to the 14th century BC was an eye opener.  Amazed at the skill and craftsmanship even back then.


    On the return home (and to save some leg power) I hopped aboard one of those hop on hop off buses. Was fun cruising Rome for a while on the top deck seeing the sites.  Have a 48 hour pass, so will do more touring tomorrow.


    In the afternoon I made my way along the river looking at the different bridges.  Cars now travelling over the water instead of chariots.  I went across the Ponte Sisto to see one of the most beautiful churches.  It’s the Santa Maria in Trastevere.  Looks ordinary on the outside but once inside it leaves your jaw on the ground!  Took some shots, then had to put the camera down and just sit and take it all in for 10 mintues or so.


    Tonight is out and about again shooting more various angles of Rome.

  • Day 2 Rome

    Day 2 Rome – The perfect day here in the Eternal City.   Blue skies and pleasant temperature greeted me as I started my walk around Rome.


    First stop was the Piazza Navona, then I went to the Pantheon which when inside blew my mind.  It is the resting place of the famous painter Rapheal and the open roof lets this beam of sunlight in which made for a great shot with the 10mm lens.  From there I went to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and then finally to the inside of the Colosseum.  Very impressed with all I saw, but I want to tell of a nice moment I witnessed at the Spanish Steps.  I was at the base where there is a boat fountain.  Two young men came up and stood next to me and one of them was blind.  His friend was explaining to the blind one what he could see.  The expressions of surprise and appreciation on the blind man’s face was almost like he could see it for himself.  Just made me think for a while that you should never take anything for granted and appreciate what you have.


    Whilst walking around I noted that it looks like Rome is going to be best photographed at night, so for the next two nights I will be out clicking away.  Full moon tonight, so hopefully should make for some good shots.

  • Day 1 Rome

    Day 1 Rome –  On  the train here today you could just tell you were getting close to Rome.  The telltale signs of fields of olive trees or other produce with the simple “roman” style home in the middle.  Small parts of ruins started to come into the picture and soon enough I was at Roma Termini.


    As I expected Rome is a busy city and also “touristy”.  This afternoon I went for a walk to the Colosseum for something to quickly do before dinner.  I did not go inside as I ran out of time, but it is a pretty impressive structure.  Will venture inside in the coming days with the wide angle lens.  Tomorrow I will start visiting different areas, looking forward to checking out all the history and the other delights Rome has to offer.

  • Day 4 Amalfi Coast

    Day 4 Amalfi Coast – Today was a bit more relaxed than yesterday and it is my last on the Amalfi Coast.  I cruised to different parts of Amalfi, including Positano again and stumbled across this magnificent viewpoint up near Agerola.  I took lots of shots here including some panoramas that should turn out quite well.


    From there I went back to the Torre a Mare (the medieval sighting tower) where Paolo Sandulli a local artist has his studio.  For an hour he showed me around inside including his works that you could tell he is proud of.  They are slightly Picasso-esque in style and capture Praiano and its residents quite beautifully, very heavily sea themed obviously.  Check them out for yourself here.  I now have a personally signed book of his works to add to my library back home.


    For the rest of the day I took a nature walk up into the hills behind my accom.  Once again great views, then lazed in the sun in the afternoon on my balcony.  Full moon here tonight over the sea which should make for some good shots, better get the camera gear ready.  Oh and luck is on my side once again.  Tonight there is some large festival celebrating Amalfi, fireworks, bands etc.  Better do the right thing and join in the festivities, you know while in Rome.. oh hang on, that’s the next stop 🙂

  • Day 3 Amalfi Coast

    Day 3 Amalfi Coast – Today will be remembered as the day I rode to Pompeii.  What an amazing and adventure filled day!


    It started early getting up to grab some dawn shots along Amalfi.  Beautiful morning here, no clouds, just birds singing, the waves gently rolling in on the pebble beached cove next to my accom.  I was going to catch a bus or taxi to Pompeii.  When I enquired at reception about the journey the following conversation took place:


    Adrian: “What time does the bus leave to Pompeii, or how much for a taxi?”

    Receptionist: “You have scooter no?”

    Adrian: “Si scooter, bat bike, si.”

    Receptionist: “You ride, only take one hour and half.”

    Adrian: “But what about the traffic, isn’t it dangerous?”

    Receptionist: “You have scooter, who care about traffic!”


    So I hit the road and I have to say I am glad I did.  The ride along the Amalfi coastline is something everyone should do before they leave this world.  It is breathtakingly beautiful.  I stopped along the way getting shots.


    I arrived at Pompeii early and once again beat the tourist crowds.  That gave me the opportunity to get wide shots with no one in them and to casually stroll around.  I was really moved by Pompeii.  Here I am in this other world, back when in 79 A.D Mt Vesuvius that I could see off in the distance erupted covering the entire place in molten ash and rock.  I saw bodies frozen in time gasping for air, asleep or huddled looking for protection.  Where people lived, were entertained, swam, bathed, worked, ate or shopped.  For the first time I filled my primary memory card on my camera!


    When I finished at Pompeii it was time to get back to Praiano.  Now I am not exaggerating here (and this is where the ride got a little hairy) the traffic from the Sorrento turn off from Pompeii to Sorrento itself was bumper to bumper!  Check out google maps, look at the distance involved.  The receptionist’s words started ringing in my ears, “you have scooter, who care about traffic!” (use the force Luke) – She was right, this is where the scooter has the advantage, I rode on the inside and outside lanes going past everyone, through long tunnels, dodging oncoming buses, trucks, cars, bikes.  Finally I got to Sorrento then the road from there was pretty clear and I could exhale again.  Once again I stopped along the way picking up shots (it’s impossible not to) in and around near Positano.


    I saved a lot of euros in going to Pompeii the way I did (only cost 15 euro – fuel and entry fee) but the whole experience was priceless in the end.

  • Day 2 Amalfi Coast

    Day 2 Amalfi  Coast – Today was spectacular here at the Mediterranean Sea!  I ventured with the bat bike to Positano, up to Agerola (looking down through cloud) and to Amalfi.  Along the way I stopped at caves, coves, ruins, churches, art galleries, pebble beaches and medieval sighting towers, specifically placed to help fight against invasion all those years ago.


    There is such beauty and history here and I can see why so many people from all over the world come here to relax and enjoy.  The water is a royal blue colour and the locals so friendly.


    Very happy with the shots I am getting 🙂

  • Day 1 Amalfi Coast

    Day 1 Amalfi Coast – After another exhausting day of travelling (boat, plane, bus, taxi) and going from one sea to another, I have arrived in Praiano, Amalfi Coast, Southern Italy.  Words can’t describe this place, so hopefully my photos will.  As I sit typing this I look up steep rocky cliff faces that are so high they go up through cloud.  The cliffs drop down into the crystal clear blue ocean and along the front is juttered by caves, small beach sections and boats (including large ocean liners).


    My hotel is built into the rock and I look along the cliffs and ocean all the way down to Amalfi, tough life.  When you arrive, you enter a small car park that only fits about 10 cars.  Then you enter a small elevator which takes you down to reception.  It’s almost like entering the bat cave.  When the doors open up you go along a tunnel to reveal the sea, incredible.  And as for my room, now I know what it is like to be in an eagle’s nest by the ocean.


    I have 4 days to explore here and I intend on going all over Amalfi from Sorrento to Salerno.  I can feel a photo feast coming on, paticularly panoramas – so have camera, backpack, scooter (aka bat bike) time for some fun.

  • Day 4 Venice

    Day 4 Venice – Today was my last day in Venice and it was also the best.


    It started early up at 5am and the great thing about that was I had St Mark’s Square all to myself.  That meant I could get some good wide shots without any people in them.  It also gave me the opportunity to just take in the beautiful designs on the buildings and think about the history that was attached to them.  As the sun came up it gave everything a subtle glow.  Such a contrast between when the place is full of tourists and when it is empty.  I’ll take the empty option anyday.


    After that I headed back to my hotel for breakfast.  I put down the camera, went and bought myself a one day vaporetto (ferry) pass and just went  around all of Venice exploring.  I took on the attitude of if I see any ferry (and it’s not on its side) just jump aboard and go where it takes me.  I strolled through different areas including fresh fruit and fish markets, the old Jewish settlement area and basically anywhere I felt like stopping.  Was great fun.


    In the evening I went for a 1 hour gondola ride around the central canals.  Got some great wide angle shots.  It was the perfect way to end my time here in Venice.


    * Please note – if you ever want to have some fun in Venice, just hold a flag on a stick and walk through St Mark’s Square.  You’ll find by the time you get to the other end you’ll have a hundred tourists following you.

  • Day 3 Venice

    Day 3 Venice –  Today was the best day I have had with the camera in Venice.  I stumbled upon this pretty cool spot where they keep all the gondolas overnight.  Captured some pretty good angles and had no one around to bother me as it was early.


    Then I headed off to the small island of Burano about 40 mins out of San Marco.  This place was amazing!  It had bright multi coloured houses and buildings which made for some great shots.  Accompanied by beautiful little gardens everywhere Burano seemed surreal.  Like a little paradise away from everything.


    Night shots tonight, hopefully capture some creative canal shots.