"Venice Never Quite Seems Real, but Rather an Ornate Film Set Suspended On the Water." ~ Frida Giannin

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 I was fortunate enough to visit Venice for the second time in two years  during July 2016 and this time it didn't rain the entire time!  I was there for five days following a Mediterranean cruise that left from Venice and visited Greece as well as Croatia.  I've never been really excited about the thought of visiting Venice and wasn't overly impressed with this incredible city after my first visit but definitely fell in love with this area that is like no other during my second visit!

Here is one of my very edited HDR images that I took two years ago when there was a slight break from the rain that happened most of the time I spent there:

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Going on a Mediterranean cruise was at the top of my bucket list at the beginning of the summer.  When I started to do research into this trip I realized that leaving from Rome, Athens or Venice were some of my options.  I chose to leave from Venice for two reasons.  I thought it would be easier to get to the cruise ship and I plan to spend some time at whichever port I chose to leave from.  I was most drawn toward Venice as Rome and Athens seem like a really large cities to me.  I was traveling solo and felt more comfortable in a smaller city like Venice versus Rome. 

For those of you who are interested in a Mediterranean cruise leaving from Venice it costs 45 euros to get from the Venice airport to the port.  I gave the driver a €5 tip which I could tell he was quite shocked!  I was unpleasantly surprised when I exited the ship one week later and learned that a water taxi was my only option to get to my hotel.  The water taxi cost me €80.  I didn't let it bother me too much as there was no choice at that point. 

I stayed at a wonderful hotel right on the Grand Canal that had a balcony and an amazing view.  The view was so incredible I had to drag myself out of the room to go do things as opposed to just watching the action on the Grand Canal.  The sunrises and sunsets were not a disappointment either!  The name of the hotel I stayed at is called Hotel NH Collection Venezia Palazzo Barocci.  This hotel is in the San Marco area of Venice.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to stay on the Grand Canal.  The location was great as I could walk everywhere I wanted to go, the breakfast was good, the Wi-Fi was reliable and the beds were comfortable.  The staff was also very friendly and accommodating!

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Continue reading ""Venice Never Quite Seems Real, but Rather an Ornate Film Set Suspended On the Water." ~ Frida Giannin" »


Visiting the Magical Greek Island of Santorini Again With New Eyes

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 Going on a Mediterranean cruise was at the top of my bucket list this year.  My choices were to leave from Rome, Venice or Athens.  I chose to leave from Venice as I knew I would want to spend some time there once I got back.  I had only been to Venice for a couple of days a few years ago and it rained the entire time.   

I also wanted an itinerary that visited the Greek island Santorini.  Although I visited there two years ago I was very sad while I was there.  I learned that our Black Lab named Shadow, who was around 16 years old, was extremely sick as my plane was boarding in Athens.  I could not have made it home on time to say goodbye to him.  It would've cost $3500 for a one way ticket to get home. 

I did think about just going home as I felt terrible that my husband was alone.  We knew shadow had been very ill for a long time, but I really didn't think anything (or hoped) nothing bad would happen when I was so far away. 

                                                          Here is the post I wrote about what happened: 

What Do You Do When a Tragedy or Emergency Happens at Home While Traveling?

Continue reading "Visiting the Magical Greek Island of Santorini Again With New Eyes" »


My Earth Day Post: How Becoming a Vegetarian Can Help Our Planet

Retaurant-411940_960_720I took the above photo while I was in Oia on Santorini island in Greece eating a meatless dinner.

First of all I want to say I am not trying to talk down to people who eat meat or convince everyone who reads this to become a vegetarian tomorrow.  Maybe a few people will start thinking about becoming a vegetarian one day or eat less meat such as trying "Meatless Mondays".

Continue reading "My Earth Day Post: How Becoming a Vegetarian Can Help Our Planet" »


Visiting the Black Madonna at Montserrat Abbey

Untitled (1 of 1)-134Visiting Montserrat was one of the highlights of my trip to Barcelona Spain.  Although the skies were gray that day unlike most of the days I was in Barcelona, it was so nice to take a ride out of the city into the mountains and fresh air.  It was very interesting learning about the monastery, its history and the Black Madonna.  I asked a stranger to take the above photo of me above standing next to the Black Madonna which you can't see.  I never look at my camera after asking someone I don't know to take a picture.  I don't want to bother them for a second one.

 Please remember that you can use my photos from all over the world for free and not worry about getting in trouble.  There are various sizes available here

 Here is a photo of the Black Madonna which only stands 38 inches tall. 
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Untitled (1 of 1)-134The cathedral was very beautiful and so well maintained.  It was so nice to visit this touristic area on a day when so few people were there.  That was a definite advantage to visiting Barcelona in January versus the more popular times in the spring and summer.  It got a little cool at times and there wasn't as much daylight, but it definitely was not as crowded and easier to take photos.  I did get lucky as it did not rain any of the 10 days I was there.  I think this was the only day where the skies were not bright blue.
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Untitled (1 of 1)-134 I enjoyed this trip as it was nice to leave the city and see the beautiful landscape of mountains in nature.  The fresh air was definitely welcome as I am allergic to dust and being in the city can be difficult for me.  I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone visiting the Barcelona area!
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I appreciate you stopping by my blog as always.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts and/or comments.  I hope you all have a wonderful week. 

~Michelle

 

 

 


A Historic Cinematic Trip Across Europe



  Watch any movie set in Europe and it feels like a beautiful old building that is always just a stone’s throw away.  Perhaps it’s kismet, then, that cinemas happen to be some of the most beautiful old buildings in Europe. Here are a few of our favorites.


 Cinéma du Panthéon: Paris is home to an entire host of beautiful old theaters, but the Cinéma du Panthéon is just a bit more special than most.  For over 100 years, the screen in the Panthéon has been operating daily without any interruptions, making it the oldest functioning movie theater in Paris.


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  The Panthéon is also inextricably linked to the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave, movement. One of its former owners, Pierre Braunberger, had “discovered” Nouvelle Vague icons like Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Melville and heavily promoted the movement. Today, the Panthéon regularly screens independent films.

 
 Granada Cinema, Tooting / Gala Bingo Club, Tooting - The Granada Cinema is a luxurious art deco masterpiece built in 1931 in Tooting in London. In 1991, it was renamed the Gala Bingo Club, Tooting, and became the very first cinema to be preserved and given a Grade I listing in 2000.
 


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The building’s current owners, Gala Bingo, have been ramping up  their online bingo offerings in recent years, but they don’t seem to have any plans to let go of one of the most luxurious bingo halls in the UK anytime soon -- especially since it was officially recognized as an asset of community value last year.



  Spazio Oberdan - Built towards the tail-end of the 18th century, the Spazio Oberdan in Milan’s Piazzo Oberdan lay in a dilapidated state for a number of years until it was renovated and reborn as a cultural center in 1999.

 
  Nowadays it’s more than just a movie theater.  Aside from showing art-house movies and film festivals, it also regularly features modern art and photo exhibits.  The Spazio Oberdan also houses the offices of Milan’s provincial administration.


  These are just a handful of the many breathtaking cinemas found all over Europe. Be sure to stop by when you’re visiting; it’ll be an experience you won’t forget.