On an Italian Time-lapse

One of my friends describes Italy as “one long museum.” The country offers so much that it is actually very hard to describe. Then again, being that my heritage is all Italian and with 4 first cousins and an aunt there, I admit being a bit biased. Enjoy with time-lapse of various parts of this beautiful country.

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On Wonderful Skies

I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings. (Gustave Flaubert, novelist)

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. (Coco Chanel, designer)

You cannot look up at the night sky on the Planet Earth and not wonder what it’s like to be up there amongst the stars. And I always look up at the moon and see it as the single most romantic place within the cosmos. (Tom Hanks, actor)

On Exploring the Driest

Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance. (Will Durant, historian)

You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst. (William Langewiesche, author)

No doubt about it – deserts are dry. Because all deserts are not created equal, where is the driest desert on our planet?

Surely you didn’t guess the place in the image above, which is Death Valley in California. Besides, I’m confident the Atacama Desert quickly came to everyone’s mind.

Yes, the Atacama – a 600 mile (1,000 km) high plateau in Chile. The Atacama – sandwiched between the Andes Mountains to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. The Atacama – the land of stone, sand, and salt lakes. The Atacama – a land of unique flora and fauna that is sparsely populated by people.

Unlike previous posts in this series, today’s Explore provides two short looks at Atacama – an initial drive through the desert followed by the beauty of its night sky. Enjoy this journey to a land you may not have known until now.

On the Lights of Norway

Last week we traveled to Norway to look out and around – so this week we look up.

There are worlds beyond our own—the compass will show the way. (From “The Golden Compass”, movie 2007)

No sky Leila had seen before could compare to the beauty she was seeing above her. It didn’t feel like some accident of nature but rather something that was purposefully unleashed on the world. (Adi Alsaid, “Let’s Get Lost”)

The north! the north! from out the north
What founts of light are breaking forth,
And streaming up these evening skies,
A glorious wonder to our eyes!
(Hannah Flagg Gould, “The Aurora Borealis”)

For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger;
At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards.
(William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”)

When I look at the northern lights … I see our ancestors dancing around a sacred fire, lighting the way for us when it’s time for us to cross over from this physical world and join them. (Molly Larkin, “What do the Northern Lights mean for us?”)

You cannot rob me of free nature’s grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky
Through which Aurora shows her brightening face.
(James Thomson, “Castle of Indolence”)

On to the Land of the Fjords

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. (Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood)

Shared joy is a double joy. (Norwegian proverb)

All weather is passing. (Norwegian proverb)

Everybody’s friend is true to none. (Norwegian proverb)

The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.
(Edvard Munch, Norwegian artist)

The wild and varied landscapes also serve as an inspiration for a new and notable wave of architects and designers. (VisitNorway.com)

I want to travel. Maybe I’ll end up living in Norway, making cakes. (Eva Green, actress)

I was walking along a road one evening – on one side lay the city, and below me was the fjord. The sun went down – the clouds were stained red, as if with blood. I felt as though the whole of nature was screaming – it seemed as though I could hear a scream. I painted that picture, painting the clouds like real blood. The colours screamed. (Edvard Munch)

Enjoy this visual journey to Norway. Would you visit? Have you been there? Would you return?

On Exploring Blooms

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. (Luther Burbank, botanist)

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable. (Joseph Addison, writer)

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. (Rainer Maria Rilke, poet)

The rose is without an explanation; She blooms, because She blooms. (Angelus Silesius, poet)

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet)

Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly? (Emily Bronte, novelist)

I draw flowers every day and send them to my friends so they get fresh blooms every morning. (David Hockney, artist)

It’s winter for us in the northern hemisphere. Those of us in the upper half experience cold and snow. This Explore is about the days to come … and a dose of spring for those who need it.

On a Quick Visual Trip

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. (Martin Buber, philosopher)

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet)

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. (Confucius, philosopher)

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends. (Maya Angelou, poet)

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. (Saint Augustine, theologian)

I enjoy travelling, so this Explore takes us on a 4-minute trip to 30 countries through the beauty of time-lapse photography. Sit back and enjoy because you’ll see places you recognize, places you may have been, places you may want to go, and places that you may never see.