After an intense working month, I took a breather and spent a week in Punta Cana with some great company. The Bavaro beach was just as in pictures – cushiony white sands and turquoise ocean. Beach resort vacation is definitely the most fun with a big group of fun friends. We rode dune buggies in the mud, sailed on the catamaran, played volleyball on the sands, searched for starfish in the ocean, played Resistance at night, and made deep conversations by the beach. It was meditating to shut my mind off from work and let my mind breathe completely. We all need it. It doesn’t have to be by a beach. Just give time to relax and recharge so you can take on life with a positive and energized spirit.
Every end of year we think to ourselves:” wow, can’t believe the year flew by like that!” But when I think back to all the adventures and changes I experienced the past year, the year suddenly feels incredibly long. I spent this christmas on a short trip with some close friends. We visited Montreal, ski’d in Mt.Tremblant, and made dumplings together at a friend’s house in Ottawa. These off-days were crucial for me to recharge and start thinking about new goals for the new year. One of them is to keep nourishing this blog, of course, so I’ll take an early start with the last post of the year.
Our third day in Rome was mainly revolved around Vatican city. I booked a vatican garden tour, which offers a 2 hour tour of the vatican garden and entry to the vatican museum, all for 32euros. I deserve a pat on the back for this booking, because we saw a ridiculous line that circled around the walls of the city for admission without reservation. The garden was very quiet and secluded, since all the tourists were crowded in the museum. It wasn’t exactly flourishing with flowers, but was more focused on green landscaping and monuments. The vatican museum was flooded with tourists. We did enjoy the sistine chapel in all its glory. One can spend hours with a sore neck appreciating the history and art behind the masterpiece. That’s it for now, can’t wait for more amazing adventures in 2015!
We came across some seriously unbelievable surprises in Rome – we bumped into two groups of friends who came from two different parts of the world! No, we didn’t plan this at all and didn’t even know the other party was in Rome. How amazing is the coincidence?!
The ancient remains in the Forum and the colosseum were magnificent. Though I think it’s the whole image of new structures and preserved structures combined that is most memorable. One of my favorite things is actually the mushroom (or umbrella) looking trees around the city. These tall and adorable beings make such an unique accessory for this busy city. I simply can’t get enough of them!
Today’s itinerary was roughly the Forum, capitoline hill, Colosseum, gelato/lunch break, Pantheon, and Piazza Novona. I have to admit that some disappointment was involved because all of the restaurants/gelaterrias we bookmarked were closed due to the Romans’ holidays. Well, I guess we learned a thing about their culture! Nonetheless, the day was bathed in golden sunlight and I think my favorite spot was Piazza Novona during sunset. It was so lively, filled with musicians performing, artists displaying their paintings, merchants selling balloons, and of course excited tourists such as ourselves. Hope you enjoy the pictures (and stay tuned for more!)
Finally, a full day to experience Venice’s charm. As suggested by the awesome Rick Steve, we took the vaporetto line #1 for a grand canal cruise and got off at the Rialto Bridge. The surrounding Rialto market was completely lively with people, produce stands, hectic boat-traffic, and workers unloading goods from their boats. Don’t miss out on some cicchetti (venetian tapas) lunch while you’re here! (I realized my lacking in food pictures is due to overwhelming excitement to see food and forgetting to snap pictures… Mental note to make more effort for future travels.)
We wondered around the narrow streets towards St.Mark’s square. There was a bottleneck of people stuck at one of the narrow roads that leads to the square, and once we braved through the crowd, we were welcomed by an utter surprise of a scene: A FLOODED ST.MARK’S SQUARE!!! What an unexpected highlight! Without hesitation, I took off my shoes and happily splashed around the water-covered playground of a square. After that fun episode, we headed to Doge’s palace down the square (which was infinitely better than the Correr’s museum on the other side of the square). And finally, we ended the day with a trip to top of the Campanile bell tower for a full view of the glorious Venice and surroundings basked in sunset. Definitely a rewarding day full of excitement and surprises. =D