1. And just to keep things real….a reminder that paradise is also marred. Frigging plastic bottles in the beautiful sea kill me. And, literally kill animals.

    Also young American tourists getting drunk and loud at night in this calm working town despite signs and people telling them to keep it down give me pena ajena (embarrased for them). This isn’t Cancun guys

     

  2. My last few days in Florence were a bit on the slow side. I did a lot of walking around different parts of the city, chilling in the piazzas in the evening, watching sunsets on the Arno, and even got to see a couple extraoridnary youth orchestra concerts for free. But honestly, as much as some parts of Florence are very beautiful, at least in July it’s hard to shake off the tourism. The center is just full of tourists, souvenir shops and fancy clothing stores. Felt too much like being in an outdoor mall to me.

    Not helping matters was finding out, while in an expensive city, that my work hours in the fall were greatly reduced (aka how I was going to pay for this trip and other summer luxuries) Ah the life of contract jobs relying on registration :/

    I think the only imaginable remedy for my glum mood and money worries was to end here, in Cinque Terre.

    No museums, no cars, buses and vespas, and almost all the tourists are so relaxed that they are actually tolerable. I’m staying in Riomaggiore, the least flashy town and have yet to see a tour group.

    Here the expectations are simple: eat, swim, hike, and watch the voluminous, frothy Mediterranean smash itself against the picture perfect cliffs.This, I can do.

    And there is nothing more healing than to watch the sea. To think about how everything in life comes in ebbs and flows, things are brought and washed away. People, money, trouble, happiness and sadness. But the waves are always still connected to the sea, it is always ever one.

     


  3. Craving eggs. I’m going to have to start buying breakfast instead of relying on my hotel buffets with their croissants and juice. I’ve had like one egg in 2 weeks and I won’t be able to hike in Cinque Terre like this. I’m not made to be vegetarian

     

  4. Sometimes you’re just minding your own business in Florence and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a medieval court.
    Not a reenactment either, there were legit dignitaries on the steps, and fancily dressed older people in the procession! I was sitting on the steps when the police came and asked us to move because “the court is coming” LOL

     


  5. When I’m away, I will remember how you kissed me under the lamppost back on Sixth street. Hearing you whisper through the phone, ”Wait for me to come home.”

    (Source: mysongof-theday, via readyornotsavingtheworld)

     

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  7. Gentrification and Women’s Safety

    On my walk back to my hotel tonight I was, as usual, day or night, at home or abroad, running my multiple safety checklist on every corner I passed. This is a thing I’m pretty sure many women understand without explanation. It’s exhausting, because especially at night, alone, and in a new place it literally occupies most of the background thoughts in my mind. Maybe I exaggerate it a bit because I’m so small and generally weak and because here my phone doesn’t even work. But I doubt I’m alone.

    What’s on the checklist? #1 Are there many women on the street, in groups and alone, and are they well….not working *on* the street (yes, in Spain 2012 I found myself a couple times on streets full of only men and prostitutes. Lets just say, I backtracked fast)

    Also on the checklist: Good lighting. Diverse inviting businesses open late. Transit. Cars. Surveillance cameras. Less empty lots. Homes. Maybe some non-police security people, such as the 24/7 concierge of my apartment. Chill. But making me feel visible.

    And it ocurred to me finally that this is the little twinge I feel when I hear arguments against gentrification. I get why gentrifying is bad. But as a woman, areas that become “gentrified” also tend to start ticking more of these boxes. Sometimes the lighting, busy businesses, and services come first. Other times they follow the building of new condos, etc. Either way, the visual cues that make the richer feel more comfortable also tend to make me feel safe as a woman (though I might not afford what it becomes— I’m looking at you, Vancouver)

    Its a lose-lose it seems. The complexities of intersectionality. I’m not at peace with it myself, though now I understand what bugs me a bit more.
    Thoughts?

     

  8. Can I have a Gucci bike tho?

     

  9. Travelling during peak season usually means an eternal maze of lines and crowds….which I tend to run from as fast as I can. But today the travel gods conspired in my favour and after a half hour wait to get into the Cattedrale di Santa Maria (Duomo) when it opened, I came out to find no line at the Campanile di Giotto…..and came out of that for no line at the Battistero despite the fact that the piazza was milling with people!! Craziness! I kept looking around to see if it was real. Battistero was my surprising favourite. Since its facade is currently all covered for renovations, I hadn’t thought much of it, but its dome is even more jaw dropping than the Cattedrale one.

    After this amazing spree I head off to the Gucci museum….which was cool but slightly creepy. Hardly any other people, walls all black, and all the attendants are guys in suits. I felt like I was in some mafia movie. You’re not supposed to take pictures, but I snuck a few :P

     


  10. There’s something about Italy. You can be bored in a laundromat, or spilling melting gelato all over yourself as I was yesterday, but your feeling of “omg I am bored/I look gross” is immdiately interrupted by “I’m in Italy”. The specialness of that really trumps anything else.

     
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