In September, my girlfriend, Jenny, and I took off for Europe for a much needed vacation. We spent two weeks in Italy built around one of my best friend's wedding in Florence. We started in Vicenza to visit a good friend of Jenny's who welcomed us with a stop at a local winery. We made a quick day trip to Venice and got lost in the winding alleys and mosaic of bridges and canals. Although Venice gets a bad rap, the trip is always worth it to me. It's really just a matter of disappearing into the back streets away from the crowds of tourists.
After a few days of salami and cheap wine, we met a couple of good friends from Seattle and headed North to Lake Como. We arrived to a gloomy afternoon, though the rest of our time was spectacular. We hiked above the waters, through the towns, and enjoyed the ferry ride along the lake's coast. In retrospect, I would've been completely satisfied spending the majority of our time there. Definitely on the bucket list of places to revisit.
About halfway through our vacation, a few days before the wedding, we landed in Florence. I was reunited with good friends from my college years in Seattle who I hadn't seen for two or more years. The seven of us shared an apartment, explored the city in the early morning hours without a tourist in sight, and visited foodie destinations off the beaten path.
The wedding was nothing short of magical, held just outside of Florence at an old chateau in Fiesole. The ceremony for 75 people was in a tiny garden, followed by the most lavish dinner I've ever had, and dancing until 4:30 am. By far one of the greatest memories I will carry forever.
We finished our time in Cinque Terre, in the town of Riomaggiore where we stayed in a beautiful apartment overlooking the town. I visited Cinque Terre more than a decade ago. What I remembered as quaint, quiet villages are now flooded with crowds of tourists and chaos. Even though the absolute number of visitors probably isn't that large, it's simply exacerbated by the limited space. To imagine that we visited at the tail end of the tourism season, I wonder what it must feel like in August. Although still beautiful, and a gem within its own, it saddens me to know that I most likely will never return to Cinque Terre.
It was difficult to return to home from such a beautiful destination, and two weeks with old friends. Italy will never cease to be magical.
TECH NOTE: All of the images were shot on a Fuji X100S and processed using Snapseed on the Apple iPad. All files were managed and backed up using the HyperDrive for iPad. Extremely small, portable, and secure digital asset management system for travel.