My last afternoon in frigid Paris I walked all through the Luxembourg Gardens, taking pictures. So many of the pics I found online were taken the other 3 seasons. I found it to be peaceful. There were other people walking, talking, exercising, playing, reading, laughing.
The journey continues.
P.S. If you want to use any of these pictures, please ask first. And credit me.
Just a few choice memories from my recent trip to Rome and Florence, Italy, with a couple of my travel photos. There are also a few tips for travelers included.
I will no longer skip over the Italian wine section at home. I have a much better appreciation for Italian wines than I did before this visit.
Many key museums here are far less expensive than in the US. Why don’t we let children go free here in the US? Note that it often helps to buy tickets ahead with a set entry time. And skip all of the obnoxious hawkers at the front of every tourist destination.
Limoncello is considered a digestive aid. It is often given freely at the end of the meal. I had it served as a shot, on the rocks, and sipped. Room temperature or iced, it all tasted splendid.
Using a printed map can be challenging in older cities that are not set up on grids. (Ie. like Chicago or New York). Having some phone data can help you find your way.
Keys were my nemesis before this visit.–no longer! I worked a lot of very fussy keys in the two flats I stayed.
Wash cloths and tissues can be hard to find. Bring your own.
Renting a “first floor flat” often means walking 1 to 2 flights of stairs before you reach that flat.
The doors. Huge. Heavy. A presence.
I can get a lot accomplished working remotely, as long as I don’t need phone calls. No distractions wherever my office was.
The many “cuts” of the meat in the window is appealing to shoppers, but that I can do without.
For the cheapest meal in Florence, grab an aperitivo. It’s a flat fee for one drink (make it a special one!) and unlimited buffet of delicious food.
Gelato can be eaten at any time of day. And found on every corner.
Churches abound around every bend. It is NOT obligatory to visit every one, but pick a few. They are inspiring, humbling, surprising, awe-inspiring, or forgotten.
Wear comfortable shoes. There are a lot of uneven steps and many sites to see.
Finally, if I wasn’t a pushy bitch before this trip, I am now! You have to be, with all the groups clogging sidewalks, tour and tchotchke hawkers, people trying to sell, sell, beggars, distracted walkers, and potential pickpockets.
As we get ready to start a weekend, this reminder is for me leave some unscheduled time. And you, if you are interested.
Last Monday morning our pantry was desolate, the laundry baskets overflowing, the garden needed weeding, pictures still needed to be hung,I had yet to pay mid-month bills, and I had to work. But you know what? I didn’t care one iota. Some weekends—especially gorgeous summer Midwestern days– are perfect days to play hooky.
The to-do lists, the chores, the having-to-fill every-moment with something productive hours can turn weekends to drudgery. Those 2 precious days can start to feel like the overburdened week days, if we cram them with minutia and busy work.
Last weekend was filled with entertaining surprises, as I tried to grab my free time with gusto. Memories of my kids and friends could have skipped right by, if I had spent all my time on things I think I should have been doing.
Here is a short list of some of the fun, unanticipated moments to store in my memory bank.
–Sushi dinner with my kids, followed by going to see The Big Sick (highly recommend this movie!) where my daughter and I brought down the average age of viewers by about 20 years.
–Northwestern college tour followed by stunning, perfect views of Lake Michigan.
–A 20 mile bike ride with friends. This workout was definitely about the destination, not the mediocre views along the way. The highlight was the stellar beach on Lake Michigan we didn’t plan to stop at, putting our toes in the sand.
–The former followed by an unplanned dinner al fresco with neighbors.
–Unexpected trip to the Chicago on Sunday afternoon. We were excited to finally lunch at the inviting 3 Arts Club Cafe While waiting for our table, we wandered a neighborhood I can only dream of living in, and joined in on the Dearborn Garden Walk. Worth the wait!
Who wants to remember yet another trip to the grocery store? Boring! Go quickly, move along.
Not every weekend is as open as the last one, but hopefully you can accept some last minute invitation for FUN. Projects can wait for another day. Be spontaneous!
The day before the wedding we attended last weekend in New Orleans, I got a call asking if I wanted to shoot pictures of the girls in the bridal party getting ready for their Big Event.
Gulp–that’s a lot of pressure. But always up for a photo adventure, my daughter Tara and I had an impromptu photo shoot while Devon (my other daughter) and the rest of the girls primped and prepped.
What fun we had! Tara also has a very artistic eye, so we took turns acting as assistant, shooting the girls and still lifes of the flowers, the dresses, the house. We tested lighting and aperture settings, and I explained some of the technical adjustments you can make with the DSLR.
What fun we had! So, take on that new challenge presented to you. You never know what you might learn, and hopefully the experience will exceed your expectations.
I will send Alexie and Will–the new couple–the photos this week. But, here is a sneak peek of a few that I think came out well. Enjoy.
Note: all photos copyrighted by me, Cindy Kennedy.
Last Sunday was an incredibly beautiful autumn day in the Chicago suburbs. With a few absolutely free hours, a bike, and my Pentax K-3, it was time for a workout and then some mind release. What a way to get lost, while finding myself, biking in Lakewood Forest Preserve.