It is just gone

I travel because I care a lot for the beauty of our world and I am often asked why I feel the need to do it all now. I am told I have all my life to see the world, that I shouldn’t feel like I am missing out on something. However, to be realistic, we don’t have time and I have already missed out!

A few years back I had made plans to travel to Syria to see the beauty and majesty of this ancient country, feel the magic of bustling souks, photograph thousand-year-old landmarks and see the smiles and happiness in peoples’ faces as they proudly walk down the streets of their cities and towns.

It breaks my heart in a million pieces that this plan fell apart due to personal reasons. So did the cities, the world heritage sites, as well as the people – they all fell apart.

And it broke my heart even more reading the four words “It is just gone” in a New York Times article, because that’s exactly what it is: Gone! None of us will ever see Syria and Iraq like it was. It does not exist anymore. It is simply gone.

Some people take pride in scars and say they tell stories, but in war, scars are just the destruction of stories, the destruction of lives, and the destruction of a connection to the past we try so hard to preserve.

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My Heart, My Life – in Genoa, Italy

“Living in Italy, enjoying Mediterranean air and cuisine, and experiencing the Italian way of life.” For some people it will always be a dream, for me this dream came true for five months.

I did my semester abroad in the beautiful city of Genoa (Italian: Genova). The Università degli studi di Genova was the place where I pursued my academic goals and the city and its surroundings was my playground when it came to one of my greatest hobbies: Photography.

Now you know why I am posting pictures of Genoa and other cities in this area.

Enjoy.

A travel story – Postcards from Tuscany

Dear travelers, photographers and Italy-lovers,

Last weekend I got to travel around Italy a little more. I left Genova, the city I currently live and study in, and took the train down south to Tuscany. Equipped with my camera, an empty SD card and two full batteries, I got on a train to Pontedera where I met with my friends Silvia and Giulio. I spent three days with both of my wonderful friends I had the pleasure of meeting in San Diego, California in 2006. San Diego was the city we all fell in love with and it was also the city where they fell in love with each other. Only 5 years later they are now engaged and have a wonderful little girl of six months, called Gemma.

The Italian hospitality is something everyone will experience once they travel to Italy. You’ll be given so much food which tastes so amazing that you won’t be able to stop eating. Italian hosts will also go out of their way to make your stay as memorable as possible.

On Saturday afternoon they took me to see the small town of Lucca, which is well known for it’s Renaissance-era city walls. Strolling through the city, you can see and feel the Medieval influence. It’s an enchanting place one must see on a trip to Tuscany. It’s an incredible feeling walking on the city walls and thinking of just how old everything is. Even though it was the end of November, we were blessed with incredible weather for the whole weekend.

Sunday we took a day trip to Volterra, an important historical Etruscan center. Volterra might also ring a bell for Twilight-fans. It’s an important place in the books written by Stephenie Meyers. Volterra as the home to the Volturi.
Aside from being mentioned in the Twilight-series, Volterra has much to offer. The town is up a hill and the view is dazzling. I will always remember the feeling I had overlooking the ample hills covered in light fog and illuminated by the warm and comforting autumn sun.

Monday was the day I left, and on my way home I stopped by Pisa. I was walking around the sweet town, which was quite empty during this time of the year, considering that “The Leaning Tower” is the most googled sight in the whole world (according to an Italian guy who randomly started talking to me while I was taking pictures—-yes, this will happen to you when you travel around Italy by yourself… as a woman who doesn’t look so Italian).
The most interesting thing you can do in Pisa is eating ice cream and watching people trying to get funny pictures with the tower. It’s just incredible how stupid a person can look, if watched from the right angle.

In a nutshell: If you ever get to travel to Italy, don’t miss out on these picture-perfect places, even though famous cities like Florence and Siena are talked about more often on travel and photography blogs.

Enjoy my photography!

Arrivederci,

Melanie