Pocahontas State Park 2014: Days 5 & 6

My apologies being so late. Final entries to be completed at some point this weekend! Enjoy the pictures below in the meantime…




(The lot of us with park staff at PSP… From left to right, top to bottom… Older man with mustache (unknown), Charlie, Matt, Dollian, Eden, Junghwan, Shantel, Daniel, Ed, Amanda, Maggie, Kat, David, Pete)



(Right before I pushed them all in… mwahahah)


(Play like no one’s watching, right?)


(Our team at Jamestown)



(Rev. Shantel in the pulpit)




Post-Wedding Preview!

Kylee and Josser… Your wedding was so much fun! You both are obviously invested in each other and look so great together. Hope you enjoy this little sneak peak, as I’m sure the entire day seems like a blur at this point. More to come soon 🙂

On a separate note, the new equipment seemed to work out very well. Much love for the Nikon 16-85mm coupled with the SB-700 on a D5100. Combination captured some amazing moments throughout the day.

who said laughing was contagious...
who said laughing was contagious…
sunflower seeds everywhere!
sunflower seeds everywhere!
big tree, little people...
big tree, little people…
le sorelle...
le sorelle…

Day 7: The Great Rome

Enter Thousand Sunny. Of all the places you could imagine going in Rome, Italy, ”Thousand Sunny” probably wouldn’t be the first place you’d book. We, however, are budget conscious travelers so Thousand Sunny it was for two nights… AKA a bunkbed in the home of Maurizio, Marina and Zoro.

When we got to Rome, we knew right away that we were out of place. Sarah and I had enjoyed the sprawling small-town feel of Florence way too much to have any type of high expectations after exiting Roma Termini and seeing what could have been Rochester, Buffalo, or Syracuse with Italian street signs. What we saw of Rome, which although was only a day, felt way too modern to possibly be the land of Julius Caesar, or the mighty Empire. In fact, Rome looked like a caged animal… A lion behind bars opening and closing his lifeless eyes between naps. Surrounding ”old Rome” was, first, a 10-foot-tall pointed fence, followed by modern architecture, TV screens and outrageous street performers/vendors. Without buying any type of ticket you were allowed to enter the gates to inspect that rubble that used to be. The once-mighty Coliseum especially tore my heart out. Since I was a kid and first learned of what the Coliseum stood for I had wanted to visit Rome. Dried blood in the sand, the bodies of fallen gladiators buried beneath the grounds, and the dark cages where wardens kept there tigers before they were released to the excitement of thousands of Roman citizens… just an outstanding concept for my little boy mind. I guess I was just expecting grandeur, something more raw, something not bastardized by the chatter of coin machines, jumbotron screens, and other modern (in)conveniences.

Ultimately though, it was the Coliseum and it was awesome to be there.

Back to Maurizio and Zoro. I could be pretty lengthy here, but I’ll keep it brief. Thousand Sunny is a room in Maurizio’s flat in Rome. He and his fiancé Marina (and pitbull pup Zoro) live in a 3 bedroom flat right outside of the Battistini metro stop in Rome. They rent out two of the rooms to visitors and share pretty much the whole apartment. It’s a braver life-style than I’m willing to live, constantly having people in my home, rummaging through my kitchen. No thanks. But Maurizio, a Sicilian-born comedian/performer living in Rome, was the perfect host. He would try his hardest to converse with us, though most of our conversation turned into jokes and laughing at each other for random cultural differences… and the fact the his English was the worst of any hosts we had stayed with thus far. Maurizio had named his hostel Thousand Sunny after an anime magazine that he reads… that might give you a better idea of the type of guy we were dealing with. Two noisy Chinese roommates later (and one really cool housemate from Quebec City) and here we sit… On an open terrace, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea in Positano. Oh yeah, we left Rome around 9:30 this morning and arrived in Positano at 4. Ahh, but that’s a post for a different day… tomorrow

Photos include a crazy cool street act (one monk holding up another one with one hand), the coliseum, and us with zoro (sorry coast)!!!!!




Day 6: Florence (Part Deux) and Pisa

Apologies for the late post. The following is an account of events on 6/11. Today, 6/12 will be recapped tomorrow morning!

If I only had a few words to describe our final day in Florence I would certainly consider using the term heart-stopping… As in a collection of heart-stopping moments strung together just closely enough to catch your breath. Lucky for me and unlucky for anyone reading this right now, I’m allowed far more than two words.

Moment #1: The Bell Tower at il Duomo, Fireneze

Nothing too terribly negative to report here. I mean, who actually expects to take an elevator to the top of a bell tower? Well this guy right here did and that unnaturally positive life partner of mine, referenced in a couple of previous posts, managed to convince him (me) otherwise, so the stifling stairs we went. The 471 steps to the summit proved a reasonable fee considering the opportunity I had to capture some of the most arresting images of the trip. Best views in Florence.

…literally out of breath heart stopping.

Moment #2: Pisa Junk and Esmerelda

We decided to go to Pisa against the advice of nearly everyone we bumped into that had traversed the area previously… Retrospectively I can say that it was a pretty silly decision. When you get off the train in Pisa at stazione centrale things look a little different than most other places: more garbage, more general stinkyness and way more gypsies. Suddenly I felt the same sensation I had had only a few days earlier when we almost missed our Cinque Terre trek and I did the “this had better be worth it” thing. Unfortunately, il Torre di Pisa (leaning tower) did not impress. Frankly, it’s small. Frankly, it’s boring. Frankly, it sucked. Tons of tourists all taking the same pictures (someone trying to hold the tower up and some trying to knock it down) and pick-pockets everywhere. Pisa itself we found to be the dirtiest and least interesting city of our trek. Not recommended at all… Even by other Italians which I find to be hilarious. When you travel to other large cities in Italy you often find (pardon my French) tshirts and sweaters that read “Pisa $hit”, or “I went to Pisa and all I got in return was pick-pocketed”. Even their own country has turned its back on most definitely a place no longer worth visiting. Throw in there the fact that we were literally chased… Like running on foot… By a crazed lunatic for nearly 300 meters through the main piazza in town, and it’s no contest. She was obviously a gypsy and offered to buy my camera. I told her to leave us alone and she started screaming at the top of her lungs, running after us. Eventually she stopped at a pay phone and sure enough we thought she was making a call to her gypsy posse in the train station where we were going. To our good fortune however, we made it on the train without further lunacy.

…literally “are we going to die” heart-stopping.

Moment #3: All’Antico Vaniao

I have limited words for what I’m about to say, because I start thinking about Vanaio and I lose most human capabilities… Breathe…

Hole in wall. Panini only. Freshest ingredients. Homemade, hot focaccia bread. Huge crowds. Huge sandwiches. Only 4 euro. Slabs of mozzarella. Prosciutto hanging from the ceiling. Amazing. Delicious. MUST VISIT if in FLORENCE. No excuses.

…literally wish we died and went to panini heaven heart-stopping.

Pictures include Sarah holding up Pisa like everyone else, Vanaio and the surrounding absurdity, and coast because I miss him.