Millstatt Am See, AUSTRIA

I spent the week at the Schloss Heroldeck castle for my first time in Austria. 

 

It was rainy most of the time, but I was glad for the escape from humidity. And rainy days are perfect for cappuccinos and shoots anyway. I’d been wanting to try my friend Gioele’s cappuccinos here forever, so the rain provided the perfect atmosphere.

  

 

I tend to shoot in harsh sunny weather in Arizona, so the rain and diffused light was fun to shoot a different mood. And a good excuse to be in the rain while everyone sought cover and umbrella. Spent one for the first afternoons shootig with an old friend I was reconnecting with, Tyler. 

 

The time at the castle was a great opportunity to make new friends. Like Michal and Annie who I connected with so well for our similar life stages. 

  

I often spent a meal with Michal and Annie, and one of my favorite conversations with them was just prior to this candid in which Michal was dancing. 

 

While here I got to reconnect with some old friends like Jake and Sharon who I also spent a meal or coffee with, and an afternoon at the lake with. 

  

  

  

A few days in, me and Michal walked 20 minutes into town. 

 

It was a dark and rainy day. We picked a bouquet of flowers along the way.

  

  

Michal knew the tiny town well as she’s been coming every summer for the last 17 years, so she took me around and we walked down to the park and lake.

 

 

In the center of town there was a walled in beautiful courtyard and cathedral that we wandered around and shot in. 

  

  

  

 

She then took me to her favorite ice cream spot. Ice cream on rainy days is my favorite, so I was glad for it, and to return a couple days later through the pouring rain with Jake and Sharon. 

 

  

On our last day, I got a snap chat invite from Tyler to go shooting with him and Dany around the castle. It was fun to have one last creative shoot in Austria before leaving. 

  

  

 

Treviso, ITALY

The other day my friend Jake invited me to Treviso to go shopping at H&M. Since just returning back to Italy after a two year abscence, I was glad for a chance to hang out with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile, well and, Treviso is one of my favorite small cities in Italy, and H&M is a favorite as well, so I was definitely interested in obliging. 

  

  

After I tried on every hat, and Jake had shopping success at H&M, we roamed around Treviso. 

My last stay in Italy I got to adventure a lot of small Italian cities, even one of my favorite days hopping on and off trains to see a few in one day, and from that, as much as I love Venice and Rome, I’m a firm advocate for experiencing the smaller town life of Italy. They are easy to get around quickly on foot with lots of stumble upons, and they aren’t as touristy so you feel like you are getting a more local or authentic Italian experience. 

 

  

I always love taking the advice of a local on where to eat and drink, so when Jake said he had a favorite spot to lunch, I was excited to try. We went to Bar Oasis Cafè for their sandwiches. Across the street was his favorite coffee shop, but it was closed for August. August is a big vacation time for Italians, so the smaller cities might have some spots closed, and the larger cities might be a little extra packed; that seems to be my experience so far since being in Venice the day before.

 

So after lunch we went down to the main center piazza to find a coffee shop. 

  

One of my favorite Italian experiences is sitting outside in a piazza drinking a cappuccino like today at Beltrame… Or eating pizza or gelato. It doesn’t feel more like Italy than that. And this piazza was the first one I sat in for pizza the first time I came to Italy, which is also probably why I feel so connected to Treviso. 

  

 

Next time you travel to Italy, definitely do all the famous cities, but consider hopping off the train at a random stop for an afternoon to do and experience something no one has told you about.

Venice, ITALY

I found out about a month ago that my friend Perry and his sister Shelly would be in Venice the same time as I’d be in Italy, so we made plans to meet for a day. We made plans the night before as without having international phone plans, we wouldn’t be able to communicate the next day. My train arrived at 8:18 AM so we met then on the train station steps over looking this gorgeous welcoming view.

  

Perry had read about a coffee shop for us to try, so per our typical coffee crawling/blogging ritual together, we stopped for coffee first at Torrefazione Cannaregio.

  

As we stepped into the tiny space packed with people, we felt the confusion of not knowing where to order. We assumed we were in line waiting our turn, but as Italians passed us for the bar to order, I remembered that the Italian style is to walk up to an open spot at the bar to order and drink, all while standing at the bar. There’s not always an option to sit, and rarely an option to take away.

 

We hopped into a spot as soon as it opened and when the barista approached us, we ordered a couple espressos, a cappucino and a shakerato (cold coffee). The cappuccino was one of my favorites that I’ve had in Italy. 

 

  

After caffinating, we started to roam the city. Our goal was to find breakfast, but we were more successful at getting lost and taking pictures for the next hour or so.

  

  

You could even say we were successful at getting lost at dead end roads with docks and getting kicked out of gardens by sweet smiling Italian grandmas who told us we were tresspassing. 

 

The bakeries are easy to spot as their windows are lined with pastries, and we eventually stumbled upon one for a traditional Italian breakfast.

  

We continued wandering through Venice making our way to the Piazza San Marco, the popular square often seen in pictures flooded with pigeons.

  

  

In the Piazza San Marco, there’s a museum called Museo Correr. We went inside for a view of the square, and to purchase tickets to go to the top of Torre dell’Orologio, the clock tower.

  

 

We walked through the museum and grabbed some sandwiches so we didn’t have to go back out into the humidity and crowds in search of lunch. This was also a good opportunity to take advantage of restrooms and outlets for charging phones and cameras.

  

We had a couple hours left until our tour for the clock tower, so we went to a spot recommended by Perry and Shelly’s hotel. On the map, it’s the island just south of Piazza San Marco. We found some gondolas for €2 that would take us across. 

  

  

Once on the island we made our way to the point, where there was a panoramic view of Venice. 

 

At 4 PM we took our tour to the top of Torre dell’Orologio with a view of Piazza San Marco and the cathedral.

 

  

 

We spent the evening by another famous area: the Rialto Bridge. There’s a hole in the wall pizza spot there that sells huge slices for €3 so we did that for dinner. I recommend having a plan for food: doing research and figuring out the good spots and what you are willing to spend. Venice is a big tourist city, so there’s a lot of low quality expensive food at restaurants that charge a cover. We tried to go to coffee in Piazza San Marcos and one coffee was €10 plus each person had to pay €6 for the live music, which wasn’t worth our budget.