This week Dan and I finally journeyed to Italy to visit his sister, Kelsey, and her husband, Fabio.  Fabio is from the scenic castle-by-the-lake town of Bracciano.  Together they opened a beer bar/restaurant, Birreria dar Toro Seduto, which if you happen to travel to that area, you MUST stop by (and say you’re a friend/client/friend :)). Their food is a legit high-brow meets Italian take on pub fair and was honestly my favorite amidst many good meals and apertifs..

Anyway, I digress.  Below I am posting the many photos I took (on Pentax 645 and iPhone) along with a brief timeline and a few notes.  Enjoy !

Day 1

We were picked up at the Rome airport by Kelsey, Fabio and his dad, Renzo and whisked off to their home which lies on the outskirts Bracciano.  A lovely al fresco lunch had been prepared, and this perfect, lazy afternoon/golden hour may have been my favorite part of the entire trip.

PINPINPINPINPINPINWe then head into the city center to our lovely Air BnB:PINPINAnd of course, a little wandering (filled with the sounds I always associate with Italy – diesel engines driving over cobblestones, pigeons flapping, church bells.. legit every time I visit these sounds are there!) and more photos as the sun set over the lake..PINPINPIN

PINPINDay 2:

The whole team traveled up to Civita di Bagnoregio – a “ghost” city of sorts set up on a hillside that is slowly eroding into the valley surrounding it.  A pretty gorgeous site, and popular with Italian tourists.  I think my favorite part of this trip was people watching!

Side note – so much smoking in Italy!  Makes for great photos..PINPINPINPINPIN(obviously related, right??)PINPINPINPINDay 3:

Kelsey and Fabio brought Dan and I to Rome (an hour 1/2 train ride).  I didn’t feel like lugging my big camera around for this trip, but still managed some fun little slices of the cafes and sights from our wanderings.PIN

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Day 4:

We hadn’t actually spent much time in the city we were staying in!  Oh and we were just a tad hungover this day.. so anyway we finally visited the castle (Castello Odescalchi di Bracciano).  This proved to be also a major highlight of our entire trip.  I love museums where you get to go inside a historic home or castle or estate or villa.. etc.  This is the place that Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes married at and I could see why they chose it – pretty breathtaking (although more sturdy and masculine than the fairy tale castles you think of).

PINPINPINPINPINPINPINPINClosing with a final photo from a morning walk before flying out on day 5.  Ciao, Bracciano!PIN

Earlier this month/Summer (been trying to get this post up for awhile – oops!), Dan and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary!  We decided to take a short trip over to Iceland, a place I had long wanted to visit due to its exotic landscaping and awesome lighting that photographers drool over.  I had also noticed on trips to Europe via Icelandair all their stylish branding and clever travel promotions.  Seemed like a cool place to check out.

So we packed our bags and traveled Northeast, leaving the beginning of our summer for something a whole lot colder (I ended up wearing my winter jacket most of the time).  And got to witness quite a mysterious and different world (and snap a bajillion photos of course).

DAY 1

Best thing we did by far was rent an SUV so we could explore on our own.  Scenes from road from airport to hotel:

PINPINPINArrived at our first hotel, Ion Adventure Hotel, located in Nesjavellir near a geothermal power plant and Þingvallavatn (which reads Thingvallavatn in English) – which we had no idea about, but was super cool because when Dan and I married we were living on Thingvalla Avenue…PINPINPINAfter dropping off our bags we started checking out sites along the Golden Circle – which was pretty touristy but cool none-the-less, and straightforward for our first day (which FYI was pretty much after pulling an all-nighter on the plane).PINPINPINPINPINPINBack at the hotel we enjoyed the geothermal pool and an amazing dinner.  I had heard that the food in Iceland was fit for foodies and it did not disappoint. PINPINDAY 2:

For our second day we booked a Super Jeep adventure.  Our rugged, handsome tour-guide named Oskar showed up bright and early and we set out!PINWe head first to the Þórsmörk valley – at the time we didn’t watch GOT but now that we do, I recognize some scenes filmed in this area..PINPINPINPIN

Oskar had to save this couple from getting swept away in a glacial river!PINPINPINPINSeljalandsfoss (famous waterfalls):PINPINSouthern coast / black sand and shipwreck:PINPINRainbow sighting as the day came to a close.  This moment was very special for me – only an hour later I learned of my aunt Kane’s passing. PINHike from our hotel:PINPIN

Day 3:  Drove out the Snæfellsnes peninsula,.  This is Buhakirkja:

PINAnd beautiful countryside.PINPINPeaks of Snæfellsnes (volcano):PINHellisandur:PINMore driving and finally a stop to pet horses!PINPINPINPINPINPINPINPINFinal stop – Reykjavik : )  Icelandair Hotel (was SO cool!):PINPINSkuli :PINWalking tour on final day (kind of wish we did this day 1!):PINPINPINPINSnæfellsnes peninsula again!PINPINMural from outside taxi drive to airport and then a shot while above Greenland.

Another mini-vaca to see Dan’s sister in Italy coming up in just a couple weeks!