Making changes, Taking chances.

Posts tagged “Italy

Lake Como – “surreal beauty nestled amidst lush mountains”

I’m very fortunate.  I travel a lot and take lots of pictures.  I’m very bad at sharing them however and in this new age of digital cameras and password protected computers, what is happening is that thousands of photos continue to occupy the hard disk of my laptop, generally without visitation rights.  Back in the day when we used traditional film and photographs were printed, at least they were sorted out in an album, tended to with more care and visited by whomever’s fingers happened upon the photo book.

I’ve therefore decided to retrace my Italian vacation city by city in an effort to share more of the photos I have taken and to find a way to document that experience so that I can return to its memory as often as I like.

We landed in Geneva and drove to Lake Como.  Arriving into the city is at first unimpressive as it is a surprisingly bigger town than one would expect and looks rather typical of other Italian cities.  As soon as the lake comes into view however, that impression is quickly transformed into one of awe.  The lake is serene and beautiful, nestled amidst lush green mountains dotted with beautiful houses.  My eyes curiously made their way up and down the mountains as I played the mental game of “which one is George Clooney’s house?”  There is not much to do in this beautiful town yet it was swarming with visitors, mostly elderly Americans and a few honeymooners.  Our hotel was an impressive structure reminiscent of Italian history and the view from our room was a breathtaking view of the lake. 

We were there for only 2 days so we didnt get a chance to see very much as Mother Nature rained down on us for a full day however you can take a ferry and discover the lakes romantic views as well as the neighboring towns around the lake.  Visit the many mansions dotting the area, walk through the old town square and see the impressive cathederal.  You can also visit the village of Brunate located at an altitude of 712 m on a hill overlooking Lake Como and reached by car or a funicolare.  The funicolare experience is wonderful as the ride up offers incredible views and the village is delightful.

Arriving in Lake Como by car – view from my window, spotted with rain drops 

From left: 1. a local hand-made keepsake from the village of  Brunate; 2. the funicolare to take you up to and down from Brunate; 3.  local fishing boat resting on the edge of the lake

Avoid September and the colder months that follow however.  We were there for 2 days.  It was cold and rained a whole day so there wasnt much to do as the experience of Lake Como is in being outside.  If you’re planning a trip and need tips and advice on what to see and do, visit


La Dolce Far Niente…

Forgive me dear reader for this prolonged absence.  I have been a nomad for the past month or so.  Since I last wrote, I have been to Geneva, Lake Como, Milan, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Rome and this past weekend, Istanbul. 

September 14th is a day that will go down in (my) history as the day on which I presented to the company CEO.  The meeting was long, intense – and a huge success and will hopefully make its mark in the ‘dana annals’ as a career maker and a life changer.  It has certainly changed my outlook on work.  If I can prepare for a CEO visit in 3 weeks, I can do anything right?!  This meeting has changed my benchmark for stress, making everything else feel so effortless in contrast.  This meeting also made me realize how far my boundaries stretch.  Not for my ability to present to a CEO but for my ability to survive an incredible amount of stress, lack of sleep, lack of food, pressure, change, frustration and political nonsense.  As for the career maker part, only time will tell..  So following the three weeks of utter torture leading up to this big meeting, I escaped on a much needed vacation on September 16th, as soon as it was over. 

In that period, I crossed the fields of Tuscany, took in the magnificent architecture and history of la bella Italia and the Ottoman empire, ate a lot of incredible Italian food and traditional Turkish cuisine and indulged in too much gelato, baklava and kunafe.  I laughed a lot, fought a lot, walked a lot, loved a lot and really lived.

You see dear reader, the happiest moments in my life somehow always fold back to one thing: freedom.  My wanderlust soul craves adventure and liberty from the corporate chains that tie me down.  With travel comes peace of mind.  Even when I am walking endlessley for hours, complaining because of my aching feet or from dragging around my over-packed luggage; somehow on vacation, the pace of life suddenly slows down to accommodate me.  The biggest decision of my day becomes what I will have for lunch and all traces of stress, frustration and anxiety that may have found various ways of etching themselves into my face are suddenly erased.  If I must be honest, food also makes me immensely happy and the discovery of food through travel is even more special.  There is much to tell you about all these wonderful places I visited but I prefer to let my photos do the talking.  I hope you enjoy this photo food journal.                                                                                                            

Italian cuisine (from left clockwise)  1. Pizza Marinara with basilico in Roma  2. Pizza il funghi in Pisa  3.  Insalata mista in Milano  4. Spaghetti il pommodoro in Roma

Italian pizza


 Istanbul (from left clockwise) 1. grilled prawns on an eggplant puree bed with frisee and a sherry vinagrette at the Istanbul Modern  2. a doner kebab vendor  3. beautiful lanterns in the Grand Bazaar  4. Turkish Delight  5. Chocolate flavored baklava  6. Coconut covered turkish delight  7. Kunafe

Istanbul, baklava, Doner kebab, Turkish Delight, Kunafe, Grand Bazaar, lanterns

During my time away time, Steve Jobs crossed over to the other side.  In homage to his positivity, perseverance and passion and in honor of the incredible change he has brought to our everyday lives, remember to “stay hungry, stay foolish” and travel. The world is a vast and beautiful place.  Earlier this year I took a trip to Paris and fell in love.   Dare to explore this beautiful worlds’ depths.  You dont know what could be waiting for you..