20 Photos That Will Inspire You to Visit Burano Italy

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Hand-stitched Burano Lace

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Processed with VSCO with c1 presetA fisherman’s village has the best fish.

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The town where it is nearly impossible to take a bad picture. Burano is a short boat trip from Venice. Not only is it a photographer ‘s dream, it is the only place where hand stitched Burano lace is made, and had some of the best seafood in Italy. This charming town is not to be missed.

How to Visit Cinque Terre in a Day

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Where Is Cinque Terre?

Situated on the Italian Riviera, there is a rugged portion of coastline consisting of five fisherman villages, Monterroso Al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. These five towns, hence the name Cinque Terre which is directly translated to “Five Lands”, carry some of the most dramatic and picturesque backdrops of Italy while maintaining its laid-back and secluded nature. These colorful towns as well as the surrounding hillsides make up Cinque Terre National Park.

Most feel a day is not really enough time to do this beautiful stretch of coast justice, due to its hiking trails and noteworthy beaches. However traveling in the cool month of October, without a desire to hike or swim, I felt a day trip could definitely be successful.

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How To Get There:

Cinque Terre does not have an airport, therefore it only accessible by train or car. From major cities like Milan and Florence it is an easy 2 hr drive, and a little longer by train. You can rent a car depending and where you are heading next or book a tour which will take you back to you departure point. We rented and car and drove from Milan because we were heading to Tuscany right afterwards.

Now whether you decide to drive, take a tour or go by train, the best way to see the five towns is to start in Le Spezia. Its is nearly impossible and very dangerous to drive the winding roads that interlink these cliff-side towns, with many access points unreachable by car. Italy has put a direct train line that runs from Levanto to Le Spezia and down back, allowing you to hop on and off at each town as you please. They also have water taxis in place the go to most of the five towns as well as Porto Venere and La Spezia.

Getting Started:

Once you reach Le Spezia Station, the first thing you want to do is get a day pass. We got a train day pass and if we wanted to catch a water taxi at any point we just paid at the pier. If you want to do go mostly by boat, there is a day pass for that as well. They will hand you a schedule and your good to go!

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Plan Ahead:

Once you get your schedule you can plan out your stops. My advice is to start in the furthest town and work your way back the La Spezia to see the most amazing sunset in Riomaggiore. My plan was to see Vernazza, Manorala, Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre and the Castle at Port Venere if we had time at the end. We got a late start (3pm) so we didn’t have time to visit all 5 towns but it is possible if you arrive early. Also plan exactly where you going to have lunch or dinner. I recommend Nessun Dorma in Manarola, they have amazing tapas with an amazing view. We didn’t plan it in advance and passed on that place thinking we could eat in last town but when we got there most of the restaurants were closed and didn’t reopen until 7pm. I also recommend going to a small shop, buy food and drinks to go, and sit on the pier and enjoy the view. Also if you adventurous there a many hiking trail that connect the towns, however it takes a lot of time for a day trip and you will waste precious moments.

Must see and do:

I believe the 3 most picturesque towns are Vernazza and Manorala and Riomaggiore. Montaresse is flat beach town and Corniglia sit up high so it doesn’t have the dramatic decline to a the water.

Vernazza

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Manarola

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Riomaggiore

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Fried Seafood from Mamma Mia!

Tips

You must get a foccacia pizza! It was so delicious and flavorful and a great snack to eat while your walking and enjoying scenery.

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At some point you must take a water taxi! The views you get from the water does not compare to anything you will see in town and there is practically no views on the train. We took the taxi from Vernazza to Manarola and we were able to see Corniglia from the boat.

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View of Vernazza from Water Taxi
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Corniglia

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Arriving on Manarola
Arriving on Manarola

Make sure you use the restroom at a large establishment or try to go before you start the journey. You might end up using one of these…

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The sunsets in Cinque Terre are not to be missed! I believe that Riomaggare has to best but I was willing to see it other towns as well.

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Watched a perfect sunset while waiting for train back to La Spezia.

See the swimming pigs in the Bahamas

 

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Where is Pig Island

The swimming pigs are located in the Exuma Cays, a district made up of over 350 islands in the Bahamas. Pig Island’s official name is Big Major Cay. The closest, most popular island is Staniel Cay.

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How to Get There

Because this island is inhabited, the only way to arrive is by boat. You can either book a tour from Nassau, fly to Great exuma and book a tour from there or fly to Staniel Cay.

From Nassau

There are a few tour options from Nassau (which is what I did). They can be pricey and time consuming but you get to make other stops along the way. My tour, Hidden Beaches , included feeding iguanas, swimming with sharks, lunch at a yacht club and a sandbar if the tide is low enough.

Other Tour Operators:

Harbour Safaris

From Great Exuma

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From Staniel Cay

If you choose to fly to Staniel Cay, there are quick flights that depart from Florida and Nassau. From there you can hire a boat to take you directly to see the pigs.

Advice for Swimming with and Feeding the Pigs

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  1.  Never turn your back to them. (They can mistake you bum for food)
  2. Lure them into the water with food. If you want to see them swim you have to make them work for it. It also helps you get a  good picture away from the crowds.
  3. Put up your hands or splash them with water if they get too close.
  4. Only give them the recommended food. Many of the pigs have become ill or even passed away from tourist giving personal items such as snacks, and even alcohol.
  5. Be Gentle. Pigs are very smart and will react if you are overly aggressive.

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Other Activities with Hidden Beaches Tour…

Swimming with Sharks

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Feeding Iguanas

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Lunch at Staniel Cay Yatch Club

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A Fashion Story in Havana

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Models, photographers, a designer, and make-up artist all walk into a bar…..then they all plan a trip to Cuba! Well, not exactly how it this trip happened, but it did feel pretty spontaneous.

I have always wanted to travel to Cuba and with the right amount of luck I was fortunate to meet the right poeple at the right time and 3 weeks later, here I was.

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Photo By: Lance Curry

 

Organized and led by talented D.C. photographer Derrel Todd, a group of talented and creative individuals all came together to create some amazing images with Havana as their backdrop.

 

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Photo By: Tony Brown
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Photo by: Derrel Todd

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Photo by: Marcus Green

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Photo by: Lance Curry

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Photo by: Tony Brown

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Photo by: Lance Curry

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Photo by: Lance Curry

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Photo By: Derrel Todd

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Photo by: Marcus Green

Photographers:

Derrel Todd

Marcus Green

Lance Curry

Tony Brown

Damon Fleming

Make-up Artist: Melissa Michelle

Designer: Kim Elleen

 

Conquer Rome in 2 Days!

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My trip to Rome this summer was a part of a larger trip that I took to Italy and Greece. I only had two weeks and I wanted see as many cities as possible with out missing too much that each city has to offer. That left me with only 2 days to conquer Rome and I am proud to say it was a success!

Planning Stage:

First, I looked at many attraction maps to find out where everything was located. I’ve added a link below to the one that was helpful to me.

Attraction Map

Then I started with the two biggest and must see attractions in Rome, the Vatican and the Colosseum. I noticed that they are not located near one another. The Vatican is a huge area that is a city itself, and I only wanted to see the Museum. The Colosseum attraction also included Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. I realized it was impossible to see both areas in the same day, unless you really wanted to wear yourself out.

I was trying to decide if I should do the Colosseum the first day and the Vatican Museum the second or vice versa. I knew the first day we would be jet lagged and a lot of walking right way would be hard (but possible). So I started looking into night options. Both attractions offer night passes, however the Vatican Museum’s was only on certain days. It just so happened the Vatican night pass was available on the day we were arriving, plus reviews said there were no lines at night, and the price was cheaper. I knew I wanted to take pictures at the Colosseum and see the ruins with daylight since it was outdoors so this was perfect! We would go the Vatican in the evening on the first day and go to the Colosseum the next morning, which would give us the rest of the day to see everything else.

Ticket Info:

There are a lot different prices and options for tickets. I just wanted basic entry without all the add-ons and didn’t need a guided tour. (I like to explore on my own)  I got my admission tickets online from the official websites, which are linked below. We ended up purchasing the audio guide at the Vatican Museum when we arrived.

Vatican Museum Night Pass 16 euro per person with 4 euro fee (only on fridays nights, skip the line)

Colosseum Ticket  12 euro per person with 2 euro fee  (valid for 2 days, skip the line, and include Palatine Hill & Roman Formum)

The other attractions in Rome were all in the center of the city and after the Colosseum it wasn’t very far to reach to everything else. I wasn’t sure if we could walk or not so I looked up some bus routes or figured we could hop in a taxi if we were tired.

Where to Stay:

I decided to stay by the Colosseum and the Roma Termini (main train station for Rome) for a couple reasons. First, the main train station for Rome is where we were taking the train from Rome to the next city, Naples. Second, The airport where we arrived was also connected to the train so we can bypass the expensive taxi ride, or inexpensive but long bus ride into the city and take the train from the airport straight to the Roma Termini. I found a quite few hotels near the Colosseum and the train station. Found a Bed and Breakfast that was 15min walk to Colosseum and had a local subway stop down the street that could take us any wear in the city. I like the Bed and Breakfast vibe better than a hotel because you get to experience Rome like a local, the host was super nice and gives you a lot of good information, plus they usually make some delicious homemade treats for you!

My Itinerary:

Day 1

Arrived in Rome at 1030am

Figured out where the train station was and took the train from airport to Roma Termini.

Arrived at Rome Termini, bought a map and walked to our hotel (was quite a hike with luggage and very confusing!)

Met with B&B owner who took us to our room, gave us info on what was around, plus another helpful map.

Sleep, sleep, sleep. (took about a 2hr nap, set many alarms)

After we got up and ready, we took the local train to the Vatican Museum stop. We decide to find some quick food before heading in and found this amazing Pizza shop.

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The mom didn’t speak english so her son came out and helped us order, plus told us a cool area to check for nightlife after the museum called Camp de’ Fiori.

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It was beyond amazing!

Next, we walked to the Vatican Museum. After getting turned around, I found the entrance and there was no line! 😉

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This is the main square inside the Vatican Museum.

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View of the city from inside the museum.

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We had 4 hours to explore but after about 2 we had enough lol.

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Exit stairs

After the museum, we got on the wrong bus to go to Camp de’ Fiori , then decided to take a cab. At first it doesn’t seem like your at the right place and then after following a narrow alley your a led into huge cobbled stoned square with many resturants and bars.

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Had our first Italian meal and it was amazing!!

We hung out at a bar in the square, met some americans, jammed to the DJ’s tunes and even some of our own request.

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Got some amazing Gelato before negotiating prices with taxis to take us back to our B&B since we had no clue where we were lol. (They will try to overcharge tourist)

Day 2

Woke up early to get ready for the Colosseum, but the rain was ridiculously heavy. We tried to leave and halfway down the street we were soaked. We went back to hotel to wait a while. A couple hours later headed back out with fresh clothes and bigger umbrellas, the rain started to get lighter.

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After walking 15min we are almost there!

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Colosseum (buy pass from the link above to skip the line)

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Pataline Hill and Roman Forum (rain stopped and sun started to shine!)

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After exiting, we found a street with a bunch of restaurants and stopped for lunch.

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Continued to Via Del Corso, a long cobblestone road with great shopping, or in my case window shopping.

Found the Fountain of Trevi.

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Kept “roaming” around through Rome lol. Followed crowds and found some other cool attractions.

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After we couldn’t walk anymore, we headed back to hotel to relax.

We were supposed to go to a nightclub but we still had five other cities to explore, so we had dinner down at a cute mop and pop restaurant down the street and threw in the towel.

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Advice and Suggestions:

  1. When you first arrive in the city, whether by train or bus, take a cab to your hotel. Its not fun dragging all your luggage around while not exactly being sure if your a walking the right way.
  2. Get a train map, stay close to a train stop, and figure what trains to catch before you leave your hotel. I used the wifi at hotel to google map directions on train, then screenshot them before I left.
  3. Ask locals where to eat or hang out. The tourist guides don’t tell you everything, only main places they want you to spend your money.
  4. Connect with other tourist as well, they can give you advice, reviews or recommendations based there trip so far or just be fun to hang with.
  5. Don’t trust everyone’s directions, got told the wrong way to go a few times.
  6. Plan rest time in the day, wear comfortable walking shoes, and stay hydrated.
  7. Try to purchase attraction tickets from the official site for that attraction to avoid being overcharged by tour companies.

Wander, and have fun!

The Best Beach in Phuket

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One of the best beaches in Phuket is Karon Beach. Its not over-crowded with tourist, which allows you to take in all its beauty. I stayed at the Beyond Resort Karon for a few days, which sits right directly at the bottom curve of this long stretch of sand.

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This hotel is popular for its ocean view rooms, which is one of the reasons why I booked it.

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Its a great budget hotel (A little over $100/night), rooms are just okay, but the view makes you never regret staying here.

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Because our hotel sat right on the beach, we could relax in lounge chairs by the pool with direct access to the beach.

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Lunch is served! Surprisingly Thailand has some really good pizza.

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Trying to be cute. (I don’t know about that weird face though)

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After eating and soaking from sweat in this 90 degree, 90% humidity weather, its time to head in.

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So the water is definitely cold, but refreshing.

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Even the sunset view is gorgeous. Almost as great as this colada Im sipping down as I take it all in!

Phi Phi Island Hopping

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After an early morning pick up from our hotel and a long drive to the marina, we are ready to start our adventure!

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After passing many beautiful caves, we enter this enormous cove surrounded by limestone cliffs.

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The boat anchors and we all dive in for some snorkeling. The limestone cliffs that form on most of the islands are amazing. They tower over us like huge skyscrapers.

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A quick stop to feed the monkeys. They are ready to eat.

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And then we’re off!

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Finally we arrive at the most famous beach cove in Thailand… Maya Bay!

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It was a bit overcrowded and it wasn’t even the high season! If you want to beat the crowd come very early in the morning. Our tour took us mid-afternoon.

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I tried to recreate the famous travel photo for Thailand.

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Maya Bay is the most picturesque and beautiful places in Thailand, if the not the world. It is also where the movie “The Beach” was filmed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Everywhere you turn looks like a post card. I could stay here all day, too bad we only had two hours.

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The last stop was all about relaxation. A private island with no one on it but us and the bartender at the bar. Now thats my kind of island. We relaxed (and had some cocktails) for about an hour before heading back.

Needless to say I fell asleep all the on the ride back to the marina and all the way back to the hotel.