GRATITUDES + BREAKTHROUGHS 09.10.19
I’m back after almost 3 full weeks of being gone. Italy + Malta treated me well! It was the first European trip for my Mom and I feel so incredibly grateful that I got to share that with her! My sister Kensey and my Aunt Melanie also came along making it a true girls trip!
I’m going to give you the cliff notes of our time together before I do an expanded post with places we stayed, restaurants + shops we liked. We landed in Rome and by train made it to La Spezia which is right outside of Cinque Terre. We spent 3 days exploring the 5 cities by foot, train and ferry boat! Mid-week we left the seaside for Florence to walk the ancient streets and shop for leather at the market and gold on Pointe Vecchio bridge. If you followed along on my IG stories than you know I went a little overboard with bags, but I like, what I like! After a few days in Florence we went south to Rome – my favorite city – and we took in the classic sites like the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Coliseum and the forum. We crammed in a lot in 7 full days.
Kensey flew out the same day that Alicia flew in. I rented a small SUV in Rome and the second half of our trip we drove south through the country toward the heel of the boot in the Puglia region closest to Bari. That’s where Ayla + Francesco would be getting married. We all stayed at an adorable agriturismo, which is essentially a hotel and working farm. We knew with the wedding festivities we truly only had one full day to enjoy the coast so we drove out to Sant’Andrea to float around in the Adriatic across from Albania. The rest of the week for me was filled with wedding work: portrait sessions, rehearsal dinner, the wedding and a brunch. At the end of the week my Mom and Aunt Melanie flew home.
Ayla + Francesco’s wedding was truly a dream. They were married in Castello Monaci, a freaking Castle in southern Italy. To say it was beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. I have so many thoughts surrounding the day, because watching your best friend get married and documenting it bring up a lot of feels. I plan on sharing those later. But for now, enjoy this sneak peek!
After the wedding, Alicia and I caught a 6:30am plane to Malta. To be real honest we didn’t do a whole lot of research before going. We tagged restaurants, shops and must-sees on our Google Map but not much else. We were pretty surprised to find that Maltese drive on the opposite side of the road. Thankfully we didn’t rent a car, that would have been a hoot! Malta was incredible, a mix of European and Middle Eastern architecture and flair. All of the buildings were made of limestone so the city was essentially a lovely gold with pops of colored window frames. We walked all of Valletta (the capital) the first day and got our barings. We did use the bus system, which was cheap and fairly easy to navigate. We did have a huge hiccup that we just couldn’t figure out – the bus kept missing the stop we wanted. Eventually we got out and walked back tracked a mile to get to our destination. Being that was the only real problem we had I would say Malta is easy to travel through, everyone speaks English and seemingly Italian. The city feels small with lots of side streets, shops, bars and coffee shops to enjoy. I did have two full days alone in Malta and I took those 48 to relax. I sipped coffee, went to the Museum of Archaeology, wrapped up some last minute shopping, enjoyed the view, took a ferry across the harbor to swim and drank Maltese wine + Aperol Spritz’.
Nail polish over there was a challenge. I got a lovely gel manicure before I left, but it barely made it through the wedding. I think lugging the suitcases ended up being harder on the gel that I anticipated. On the flight to Malta, I couldn’t stand the peeling and the growth so I peeled them off and filed them down before we landed. In Malta I had naked nails, which I hated but learned to embrace. Once I got home I clipped and filed them again. I also did a heavy coat of nail strengthener since I peeled them off to help offset the damage I did. Toward the end of the week I’m planning on a DIY gel or embracing the fall and painting them a lovely taupe!
I’m reminded every time I travel that I truly don’t need that many things. I survived a 3 week trip with a single carry-on and a backpack. Half of that carry-on was photography gear and the other half clothes. To tell you that I packed light doesn’t even cut it. I washed and rewashed clothes so many times on this trip to make sure I had clean clothes. It worked though, I really don’t need that many things. If anyone is interested maybe I’ll post my packing list. I did have one wardrobe malfunction that resulted in throwing away one dress. The short story is I wore this lovely floral dress ALL DAY in Florence only to come home at 9pm and realize the back seem over my booty came apart at the hem. I’m talking from the small of my back to the bottom of my thigh. My cheeks were out and free all day, I’m talking 7am-9pm. A lot of Florence saw a lot of me.
I hardest adjustment for me wasn’t the time change, it was sleeping without my dogs. Ava sleeps high up on the pillows near my head and Mosby always flops down below my hips somewhere. The bed felt way bigger and I missed grabbing a dog in the middle of the night to snuggle.
Other than that I was pretty good! I’m happy to be home an not living solely out of a suitcase, to have access to a proper washer + dryer and a mattress pillow topper.
That’s it for now! As always thanks for reading!