Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Thursday, June 30, 2016

//Lake Maggiore + Venice, Italy Trip//

We were waiting for this trip for over a year. And finally it happened.

It was all started almost 2 years a go when my best friend in school "Dina Yassin"  whom is now living in Dubai texted me that she was going to get married and the reception will be in Italy - near Milan. I was shocked because I have not heard from her prior to that texted I received from her. Right away a happy tears started to form in my eyes because one I am very happy to hear the great news and second she still wanted to invite me to her wedding day after all of those years without any contact. Immediately I said "yes" that Steven and I will be there.

The wedding was postponed as she initially planned. But a month a go was the big day and Steven and I were very excited to go and be there for her big day in Lake Maggiore, Italy. We also planned that after the wedding reception, we were going to visit Venice. None of us had visited Venice before although I visited Italy several times before.

Lake Maggiore was beautiful beyond words. Just like I imagined it would be. Beautiful villas and hotels on the side of the lake a long the narrow winding road  that goes on to the mountain top. In the middle of the lake are several small islands with red terracota stone building seen from a far. It was so enchanting and poetic to have witnessed such beauty. 

Upon arrival in the hotel room I immediately took out my water color and painted the lake seen from our hotel window. 

We spent the first two days by ourselves but it was raining almost everyday so we were taking it easy and enjoy the small town surrounding the hotel eating pasta, pizza and ice cream.

Long before the wedding day - Dina told me that I could take pictures of her during the reception. And I was very excited about this. This is a golden opportunity for a photographer.

And when I walked in the room where Dina was waiting to come out from the room for the reception - I could not believe how beautiful and elegant she looks. I wish I had more time to take pictures of her. But I did not want to overwhelm Dina with poses I wanted her to do. Because I knew she had so many things in her mind already. So I left and took pictures of the dining room and table setting.

We really enjoyed Dina and Silvano's wedding reception. The location could had not been perfect - the setting by the lake Maggiore was just lovely.  Everything was really beautiful. It was a night to remember and definitely a beautiful wedding of east meets west.

A day after the wedding reception we left for Venice. We drove to Malpensa airport - dropped the car there - took a bus to Milan's train station and went to Venice. 

And oh my - Venice was like a dream. This was the first time for Steven and I in Venice. We could not believe what we saw. Steven kept on saying "I can't believe the whole city is on top of the water!" I was so very happy that I was in Venice, finally. This city is magical. I could not even begin to describe the feel of the city; the canal, the narrow street with beautiful ancient stone buildings one after another  on each side of the street - the bell rang and heard from a far.  It was like going back in time where before I could only see in a movie. I think I am in love with Venice.

The highlight of Venice trip for me was to paint at least two sites - which I did. One is a random building and the other one is our hotel. I had been wanting to do it before we departed. I was very happy that I got to do it. 

The gondola ride was so much fun although we thought it was over priced - 85 Euros for half an hour! At least we tried it out for once.

Lake Maggiore and Venice, Italy  trip is always in our heart. We definitely will come back.

Here is the small island in the middle of the lake that I painted upon arrival the hotel room.

I found a quiet place where I can paint a small building of Venice.

Then I also painted our hotel.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

//LA & Palm Springs - California Trip//

I had only been in LA twice for a short period of time.  The last time I was there before this trip, spent only a couple of days. So when my husband Steven asked to me join him a trip to California for business and a tennis tournament for a week - I said yes!

We stayed in Beverly Hills LA. It is an undeniable beautiful place. I love  the Spanish style homes and what I love most is that each homes has beautiful landscape with mostly roses grown on the front garden. Not only in front  of private homes - you can find roses growing on the side of a street where hundred people walk by.  What I do not like about LA is the traffic. It seems to be a problem here because during rush hours traffic is really bad.

I also took the opportunity to see a good friend of mine who lives and works in Beverly Hills. She took  a day off and took me lunch in Malibu Beach and went to Huntington Beach after. It was so much fun to see her because we have so many friends that are now living in the US and Australia. So our conversation always about these people, how they are doing, and good old memories when we used to live in our country, Indonesia, etc.

From LA, we drove to Palm Springs. Our hotel was in the middle of a desert. I was immediately disappointed because it was ugly with grey and dry desert of sands as far as eyes could see. The hotel itself "The Agua Caliente Spa and Casino Resort" was nice. It is a resort with a spa and a casino. I wanted to see the pretty homes, town and landscape just like people told me, but where is it? One day, Steven and I drove around Palm Springs and found the strip where stores and restaurants are located in one boulevard. It was fun. Then we found an area called Las Palmas where the stars used to live back in 1970s I think. They are, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Liberace, Ronald Reagan, Dinah Shore, and many more. All of the stars that used to live here are deceased now even their children has grown old like Michael Douglas. This area is very pretty although the homes are small with a very low roof. I guess that is the style at the time. It is so different than a star's home these days. But it was very interesting to see. You can not see the house but only the gate because the plants grows very tall and the high wall between the beautiful entrance door. With the mountain in the background, no wonder that this area was popular back in the days. And I am sure still is.

Unlike Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage is a new town. And the homes located surround the little town are beautiful, big, gated and new. You can see that this town built exclusively for rich people.  Because all building looks new and some constructions are still going on. There are a lot of high end restaurants, shops, high end car dealers and hospitals. A sign that this town would be a popular destination in the future. We drove up in the mountain and saw some beautiful homes overlooking the sprawling hills of desert mountain. I can only imagined how it is being in the inside with swimming pool over looking the hills. But most of the homes are gated community which we can not go and see the inside.

The climate was very hot the three days when we were there. It was 96 deg  and someone told us the climate could reach up to 120 deg. I must be honest that I am not  fond about a desert. May be because I am used to a dry land with a hot climate for being born and raised in a tropical country. All and all it was a fun and interesting trip.

The Ocean.
This is Malibu Beach. My friend Tineke took me here to have lunch. You probably know already that there are many restaurants along this beach situated overlooking this beautiful beach/ocean.

Farmers Market, LA (here)
If you happened to be in LA, please do stop by at the Farmers Market. It is so much fun. This place is a traditional market with food, fruit and many other vendors inside and under one roof top.  There is a Singaporean and Indonesian food vendor which a must for me to stop by as I was craving for Indonesian food. There are stores specifically sells tea, hot sauce, candy, chocolates, etc. What a fun market this is.


Adjacent to this is market you can walk through a promenade into a row of modern fashion stores like Banana Republic, Top Shop, Zara, etc. And there is a beautiful fountain in the middle. It was a beautiful day that day since it has been a cold day when we arrived. So while my husband Steven went check out the stores I saw a small grass field right in the center where people were laying down. There is a booth where you could get a free blanket to lay on. So I helped myself and laying down for a while. It was nice. I then stole some portrait of the people sitting around me.

Palm Springs, California. (here)
Where the "stars" used to live.

Flowers around Palm Springs desert. 
Some of these flowers are grown by man and growing wild on the desert.

Rancho Mirage.
Mission Hills Country Club is one of the most prestigious country club in Palm Springs. This is where the most important golf tournaments and tennis tournaments take place. And this is where Steven  battled the tennis game under the grueling 96 deg sun of Palm Springs.

The Ritz Carlton Palm Springs

Thank you so much for reading!