Architecture, Landscapes, Photography, photojournalism, travel, Uncategorized

Bellagio, Italy: Pearl of Lake Como

Bellagio is a beautiful picturesque village in Northern Italy. Surrounded by amazing panoramic views of Lake Como and the Alps, it is has to be one of the most romantic places to visit when in Italy. Beautiful old buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, wonderful cafes and restaurants all make up a wonderful experience. 

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Architecture, Photography, travel, Uncategorized

Montevecchia, Italy

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Entrance to the small hillside village is framed with an arch. Good start!

Montevecchia is a small village north of Milan in the (aristocratic) region of Brianza. It is located on a hilside approximately 500m above sea level, with panoramic views of the Plain of Lombardy to the South, and the Foothills of the impressive Alps to the North. Apparently there are some ancient pyramids in the mountains here.

We visited the place on a Monday morning  and the main street was empty; the place was deserted, and everything was closed. Apparently Italians like to go out Sunday nights. Luckily we stopped at a pasticceria (patisserie or bakery) and brought our own fresh pastries and focaccias – which were amazing.

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View from the cobblestoned main st. looking back towards the slightly dominating church.

We originally planned to go shopping in Milan but the thermometer was due to hit 27C that day and we had four small kids in tow, so a relaxed walk along the shaded cobblestone streets of an historic hillside settlement seemed a better idea. Northern Italy in September is beautiful. Warm enough for shorts and T-shirts and swims in the lakes.

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Amazing panoramic view over the plain of Lombardy, with the towers of Milan just visible on the horizon.

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There was a wedding ceremony in the village that morning. At the bottom of the 178 steps that lead to the hilltop church, there was this classic little Italian beauty. What a wedding gift!

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Looking North towards the foothills of the Alps.

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Looking back towards the village one couldn’t help but admire the beautiful Italian architecture., and lush landscape.

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One of many vineyards in the region of Brianza.

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Some Italian aristocrats humble abode I presume.

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Streetscape.

I would love to go back to Montevecchia someday, but only when the cafes/restaurants are open. One can imagine dining al fresco on the terrace looking out over the twinkling twilight landscape, sipping on beautiful Italian red wine, eating the finest fresh food (real Italian food is absolutely amazing) – and getting lost in the magic of Bella Italia.

I will post more soon on our trip to Italy. A visit to Beautiful Bellagio – The Pearl of The Lake, Shopping in Monza, and more….

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Photography, photojournalism, travel, Uncategorized

Christmas, Scandinavian Style: part 1

Arlanda airport, Stockholm, Sweden.

Arlanda airport, Stockholm, Sweden.

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Delays expected.

I realise this post is coming a few months late. Better late then never, right?

I love traveling and experiencing new and different cultures, and Scandinavia is no exception. I hadn’t been to Finland – home of my lovely wife – for over two years. I hadn’t been outside of Ireland for over two years, so I was pretty excited to be heading off for two weeks to experience Christmas Scandinavian style.

Our journey would take us from Dublin to Helsinki, from there we would take the night train 700km north to Kemi and across the border to visit Hanna’s dad in Haparanda, Sweden.

Exiting Helsinki terminal the cold hit me like a block of ice. I fumbled round in my rucksack for a thick woolly hat, and then thrust my aching hands deep in to my pockets. The decision to purchase winter boots and a winter coat after we arrived at our destination now seemed foolish.

At Helsinki Central station we bought some greasy chips, hotdogs, shared a beer, and waited until our train was ready to board.

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Night train from Helsinki to Kemi, Finland.

Twelve hours and a restless sleep later, we arrived at Kemi – northern Finland. The thermometer at Kemi train station read -28C. Luckily, Hanna’s Dad was waiting for us and had the inside of the Volvo nice and warm.

First port of call – after dumping luggage at the house – was the shops to get myself some proper winter clothing. Ankle-less socks and trail runners just don’t cut it in these conditions. Luckily, christmas sales were in full swing and (many) bargains were purchased.

Upon returning to the house we took some coffee (one of many obligatory daily cups), spent the best part of 15mins putting on our winter gear – long johns, woolly socks, thermal baselayer, t-shirt, heavy sweater, proper winter coat, insulated ski-pants, scarves, hats, gloves, etc, etc – and finally went out for a walk in the crisp winter wonderland.

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Hanna-Mari, Haparanda, Sweden. -26 degrees C

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I thought it was funny!

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Home sweet (temporary) home.

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Tools for work and play.

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Haparanda, Sweden.

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Joulupukki, also known as Santa Claus.

More photos to come in a follow up post. Thanks for looking.

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Architecture, Ireland, Landscapes, Photography

Traveling through Connemara

Once we passed passed through Galway, we inched our way deep into the heart of the Irish landscape that is Connemara: Rolling hills, spectacular mountains, bogs, sheep, and traditional architecture. All breathtaking. The journey to our destination took twice what it should due to multiple stops; jumping out of the car to compose, focus, and click, pause for a moment to be totally awed, then back into the car and on the road again. The kids weren’t impressed with our behavior, but understandably they were tired after a six hour car journey.

Romantic notions of the Irish countryside

Currachs moored in a small harbour.

Our trusty steed in the foreground!

An old schoolhouse typical of rural Ireland.

On the road with Croagh Patrick in the distance.

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Uncategorized

Photo of The Day #1

Sometimes I don’t have anything to say about photos and photography. I just wonder about all of the photos out there and what people do with them. The photo below, for example, has been sitting somewhere in my hard-drive for the past two years. I was always aware that it was there but just didn’t know what to do with it. I still don’t know. Maybe over time, it will become part of a bigger collection of my photos from Finland, or a totally different project. It can take on meaning by becoming an integral part of something bigger. But for now, I’ll just show it to you as a single image, and leave it open to interpretation.

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