Doria Pamphilj Gallery

July 25, 2016

This is my favourite gallery in Rome. I saw a picture of Mimi Thorrison on instagram visiting Doria Pamphilj and I knew I had to go there as well.
I like my galleries grandiose! The more dramatic, the better! The Doria Pamphilj Gallery is a privately owned gallery by the Pamphilj family (super rich and famous!). 
The gallery contains medieval and Byzantine art including masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Velázquez.  I love the fact that this gallery is not crowded. It's not part of the tourist card so you won't have a big crowd bumping you while you browse the collections. I found it very peaceful amidst the sometimes chaotic Rome.
I took my time exploring each room. There is a lot to see. The only problem here is that most paintings do not have descriptions so I highly recommend getting the audio guide (it's free when you buy your ticket) to accompany you on your exploration inside the gallery. Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj narrates his family story on the audio guide. He narrates his family history and provides tidbits about the collection. 
The Gallery of Mirrors was designed by Gabriele Valvassori. This is my favourite part of the gallery. It is lined with mirrors, statues, and chandeliers. And not to mention the frescoes on the ceiling.
Wall to wall of paintings!
The gallery has gone through renovations as parts of the building has been damaged. This is one of the rooms that has been recently renovated.

Market in Naples

July 19, 2016

My first impression of Naples wasn't a good one. It was raining when I arrived by train and I was tired after a long delay with the train schedule. I saw trash everywhere on the street and people looked tough.

But I found that under the tough exterior you will find the friendliest people. I had the chance to really interact with the locals in Naples.
Our Air bnb was 5 minutes away from the outdoor wet market. We bought all our groceries from the market and cooked it in our kitchen. It was one way to save money and try the delicious produce from Southern Italy and to meet our neighbour's.

People from the market were curious about me. My boyfriend tried his best to communicate in Italian and they would ask him where he is from followed by where I'm from. They were surprised when he said Canada. But that's to be expected then we have to answer the part on where I was born.
The grocery guys were always so helpful.While I was waiting for my boyfriend to shop, I stood just behind the cashier counter and I totally forgot I had my camera slung around my shoulder when the grocery guy smiled then pointed to my camera signaling me to hide it. When I did he smiled again and gave me a thumbs up. They look out for you. You become family.
We stood in line at the bakery one afternoon. We were patiently waiting for our turn when an old man came in and started speaking Italian to the bakery clerks and telling them to help us right away. It was hilarious!

And btw, a big chunk of bread was less than 2 Euros. It was the best bread I've ever had. Crusty on the outside and soft inside. It paired well with the cheese and deli we bought.
And the local wine from Vesuvius is 2 euros. I loved the red wine and almost drank it exclusively during my trip. Nothing better than cheap but delicious wine!
I hate eating tomatoes in Canada. I find it too bland but this all changed in Naples. My boyfriend bought a basket of tomatoes and once I tasted it I was hooked! I ate it every day! I ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's almost a snack! I never ever tasted tomatoes like this before. It was so tasty! I wish I can plant the same tomatoes here in Toronto but I know it will never be the same. 

Summer Part I

July 13, 2016

Summer is officially here! I took a couple of days off after Canada Day to have an extended vacation! My very good friend from Germany came to visit Toronto. I was very excited to see him after a couple of years of not meeting up. We had a barbeque to celebrate Canada Day!

Decided very last minute to book a camping trip with my boyfriend. We ended up at Arrowhead Provincial park in Muskoka. I was surprised that we got a campsite for Saturday night. It's usually packed especially on a long weekend. It emptied out on Sunday afternoon when most people left to go back to the city.

The 2 hours drive was worth it when we saw the lake and the view. We also went hiking. We had to burn off all the barbeque's we ate.

We hiked to see Stubbs Falls and Arrowhead Lake Trail. It was fun to hike to the falls. I think it was the best part of this trip! I love searching for waterfalls. 

And this is the Big Bend Lookout point.

And I never pass up an opportunity to have Kawartha ice cream when I'm in cottage county. Delicious and super cheap too! 

My friend from Germany rented a car and we drove to Niagara Falls to meet up with his cousin. Super fun mini road trip!

I almost always go to Niagara Falls when I have guests visiting from out of town. I usually just go see Niagara Falls and Clifton Hills but this time we went to White Water Walk. I was surprised that this attraction existed. It was tons of fun to watch the whirpool of rapids cascading down from the falls.

I hope you are all having a great summer so far! Enjoy the sunshine!

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