Haiti 2014 vacation video

14 Sep

Hey guys!

I know it’s taking me forever to post all my vacation pictures and videos, but here is a video from our trip to Haiti. We went on the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship “Explorer of the Seas” this past July. On this trip, we chose the Malfini Castaway Beach for three hours, which I specifically wanted for privacy and seclusion. We spent 3 hours just swimming in the warm waters and never sat on the beach during those 3 hours. Later, we went to Labadee and just walked around. We rode the Dragon Tail coaster several times and watched the zip liners above us. I wish we had more time there, but Haiti is a place we truly enjoyed ourselves at. The people are beautiful, friendly and sweet.

You will see some familiar shots where I took the pictures from in my previous blog post before this one. :) One of my favorite pictures is the Cabana photo. In the video, you can see the cabanas and the curtains billowing in the wind. Total bliss.

You can change the quality of the video by changing it to either 480p or 360p on YouTube. I had trouble uploading this video on Vimeo for some reason, so I had to use YouTube for this video.

Vacation: Haiti 2014

25 Aug

Dear Haiti,

Thank you for your hospitality. Your warmth of your tour guides, the beauty of your country and the healing waters of your ocean exceeded my expectations. We both loved it so much and hopefully will return again in the near future.

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This is the beautiful cruise ship that took us to all four countries. This was the view from our boat that took us to Malfini Beach, a private Royal Caribbean cast away beach. If you ever go on this cruise, I highly recommend going to this beach. It is well worth it and you’ll fall in love with it.

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This was a fun picture to take.

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It was funny, while Adventure Boy and I were swimming, we saw this boat come to the beach. Our hosts on the beach, local Haitians, had ordered take out. You can see one of the tour guides picking up the food. The boat later turned around and left. Did they get Chinese? Greek? I bet it was a delicious Haitian cuisine. Once on the beach, we were served a special punch that tasted amazing. No lunch was served because that was going to be on Labadee Island after our 3 hour time on Malfini Beach ended.

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Our mats. We had the best time on them!

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A yacht on the beautiful waters of Haiti? Yes please!

Look at the water! I couldn’t take my eyes off of the colors of the water. The water was so warm and calm…and clear! Floating on my back, closing my eyes and feeling the sunshine on my face was one of the best feelings in the world. I let everything that caused me stress go and allowed the waters to just gently caress me. Basically, we spent 3 wonderful hours swimming and exploring the sea life under us.

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After spending 3 amazing hours at Malfini Beach, we were then whisked away on a boat to Labadee Island where we had a delicious lunch. The cords you see in the background are the lines for the zip line. I thought about going on it, but decided it was funnier and better to watch others scream their heads off as they descended. I, on the other hand, just sipped on my pina colada as I laid back on my chair enjoying the view in front of me. The picture below is my view.

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Cabanas! They are the reason why I want this type of bed in the future. I should have rented out one, but thought of that way too late.

VIDEO COMING SOON! Please check back to see if it has been posted. Thanks!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture

25 Aug

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Textures of stones by a nearby lake I go to sometimes.

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I love this picture. This was taken on the ship where they have the theater. These were the curtains which captivated me. I stared at these curtains because I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I couldn’t tell if there was a very thin veil in front of the curtains with the women or if it was just one curtain with the flowers sewed on them. It does give off a 3 D effect which I find rare in my photography.

Vacation: Puerto Rico 2014

25 Aug

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We had a very short time in Puerto Rico. After coming off the ship, we were hit with a very humid atmosphere, however, the organization of where people had to go for their excursions were much more organized than other places. Once in our little mini bus, Adventure Boy and I sat at the very front. Our tour guide was nice and talkative.

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This was a walkway to the Information Center. Very Jurassic Park-esque.

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Tall trees in the jungle! Just trees we saw on our walk through the jungle. It was great to see Adventure Boy experience a hot jungle. It will prepare him and give him a little taste of what Brazil is like. Hehe.

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This is a waterfall. Without so much the water. Perhaps we came during a drought? I think so yes. Nevertheless, it was still beautiful to see and once again, I did have to rock climb to get this picture. It does seem far way, but it was quite a interesting journey to just get close to the waterfall. Believe it or not, climbing all over the rocks in my sandals was not exactly fun like the time I did in Bermuda.

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The capital building. Puerto Rico was nice and we learned a lot from our tour guide. I just wished our time there wasn’t so short.

VIDEO COMING SOON! Please check back to see when I post up the video portion of this blog. Thanks.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Zig Zag

5 Aug

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The view from the second floor at the El Yunque National Forest information center in Puerto Rico. I’m not sure if this counts as a zig zag photograph, but I love this picture enough to let it stand on its own. I admired the symmetry of what was in front of me, I just had to capture it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

27 Jul

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Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran

On a personal level, this photograph embodies everything I love about summer. As we were standing here overlooking the water waiting for our boat to take us to a cast away beach, I took in everything in front of me. I was living in the moment. If I closed my eyes, I’d feel as if I was Brazil once again. This reminded me so much of the paradise that I grew up in as a child until I graduated High School. Paradise. It awoke that piece inside of me that longed to come out after a few years. The sun, air, palm trees, warm breeze, music, amazing water, mountains in the background and our ship that safely brought us here (Labadee, Haiti) were all being woven into a beautiful memory as the seconds passed. I was truly embracing our summer vacation and I’m glad this photo captured every element I experienced in each country I visited. This is the last stop we had, but I’ll get to that later in my future blog, because I still have to post up Puerto Rico.

Another reason I posted this photo is because on our cruise, there were many couples on their honeymoon. I’m not sure if this particular couple were on their honeymoon, but I’m sure this cruise was romantic for many people onboard. What better way to discover and have an adventure with someone you love with all your heart? I’ve never traveled to a different country with a guy before, so when that happens, it will be the first time sharing the experience of visiting a country with someone special. I saw many couples holding hands and walking the beaches together. It was lovely to see and yet I wondered when it would be my turn to do that. It was rejuvenating for my soul, heart and mind to feel the intense sun on my face and be in a tropical element. I just wish my vacation was longer. I miss that ship. A lot.

Summer still isn’t over for me, so there are still memories to make! Hope everyone’s summer is going well and safe.

xoxo

Vacation: St. Maarten & Saint Martin July 2014

20 Jul

 

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One of my favorite things about waking up was looking out my bedroom window and seeing an island off in the distance. You know these places exist, but it makes it even more real when you see it in person. Adventure Boy and I rushed out to the front of the ship and joined a group already out there. A nice Irish lady offered to take a picture of us even though it was windy and my hair resembled a troll doll. There’s something very fun about standing up front of a huge ship making its way to a exotic island. Imagine how the first explorers felt when they saw this island for the first time!

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Anyways, so here is our view from the front of the ship approaching St. Maarten. This island holds two countries. St. Maarten (where we docked) is governed by the Dutch. The other side is spelled Saint Martin and is ruled by the French. I loved seeing the mountains and hills off in the distance as it made me feel at home as you can see those down in Brazil by the ocean too.

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Once we docked, we stood in line for about 20 minutes. We had a very long line, but I didn’t care. The weather was nice, slightly humid and sunny. The sky was strange because it changed from being blue to completely grey. This affected how many of my photographs turned out–too bright, too grey or too blah. I unfortunately only had a handful of good pictures to post as a result. Life as a picky photographer. Once our line moved, we all headed to our buses for the local tours. There are thousands of people on a ship, so once we are all off, we scatter in a million different directions. Most people went to the beach, but I wanted Adventure Boy to get a good culture lesson on this tour. Personally, I’m already thinking of projects in the future in Geography class he’ll have to do and why not try doing one in a country he’s visited? Yes, I am a mom who always thinks of education when it comes to my son. There is always so much to learn from this world. I know I still want to see Aztec pyramids that I studied about when I was a child.

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We saw this sign coming back from the French side (Saint Martin).

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Imagine living down there in that neighborhood? So colorful!

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I think our tour guide said that some of these homes are time shares. It is a lovely place and I don’t blame anyone who would want to have a little piece of paradise at this location!

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For a few seconds, we the passengers in the front part of the bus were in the French side (Saint Martin), while the back side of the bus were still in the Dutch side (St. Maarten). This is the border sign of the two countries and where they meet.

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Once completely in Saint Martin, we rested on a bench and admired the boats off in the distance.

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I briefly looked at some dresses here before I realized I couldn’t look any further because I only carried my credit card and no cash. They would not take my card. :( I had wanted to buy that red dress you see in the picture for our second formal night on the ship. Maybe next time. I was ready to do some major bargaining with the merchants!

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Looking up, you can see Fort Louis. Oh, if walls could talk. What would these walls say?

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This reminds me of a place in Italy, so imagine my surprise when I saw this in Saint Martin! I love the colors, the architect and beauty of this picture. It almost doesn’t look real!

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For this photo, I used the tilt shift filter. I know I took the wrong tour, but this one was nice. The one I originally wanted to go on went to the beach where the planes land very close to the beach. I’m glad we were shown a different side of the culture that is often hidden from the immediate tourist, hopefully this will leave an impressionable memory in my son’s life. These two countries are both beautiful, yet very different from one another. Some things were sad to see and others were hopeful.

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Haha. Ok. Let me explain this picture. So, we’re driving along and suddenly our tour guide makes our driver stop the bus to see something to our right. On the wall, she pointed out an iguana just having a grand ol’ time doing something with his tongue. Was his tongue stuck? Was he tasting the cement? I thought it looked funny whatever he was doing. I grabbed my camera and zoomed in on him from across the isle inside the bus. Our tour guide cheerfully and cheekily told us that iguanas are often eaten on the island like regular meat. Our driver said that it tasted like chicken. I would have never known this if I had just taken the beach excursion. You learn something new everyday.

Here is a short video. :) For some reason, the St. Martin got mixed up before the St. Maarten part was shown. Oh well. I guess no one else can tell the difference. ;) Most of the tour was seen from inside the bus, so sorry for the two “spots” you’ll see in my pictures or video.

Up next. Puerto Rico!

xoxo

Vacation: Bermuda July 2014

14 Jul

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We arrived in beautiful Bermuda early in the morning. I had woken up at around 7 am because I was so excited to see this gorgeous country. When I saw we were approaching the island, my heart started racing and I couldn’t believe this was happening. It was a dream coming true for me! Anyways, after we all walked off the ship, we weren’t sure where to go. There was a bit of confusion because there were no signs for our excursion so we almost ended up going on a public bus to the beach. Eventually we found our group, after most of them were already packed like sardines in the vans. I was lucky enough to sit up front and take some pictures and videos. The pictures were taken through a window, so they aren’t the clearest. The excursion we bought had a van personally pick us up and take us directly to the beach, Horseshoe Bay. The ones who took the public bus from the ship were dropped off on top of a hill and had to walk down to the beach.

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Just one of the many marinas we passed. They were all over the place, obviously, yet each one was different. If you know me by now, you would know that I love marinas. They are extremely picturesque!

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Love the different colors on the hills of houses by the water. So pretty.

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Our driver told us that in Bermuda people are allowed to paint their homes any color they want. We saw every color in the rainbow except brown and black. He even said that they can judge a person just by how clean and white their rooftops are. For example, if a house has a dirty rooftop where it does not shine or gleam of white, then people are pretty sure inside the house is unkempt and therefore would not want to eat in their home. They are by law supposed to scrub clean and paint their roofs every two years with a certain white paint. They rely on rainwater for their drinks and often get it from their roofs, hence the outer appearance of a roof on a house. I did not know that and found that very interesting. It is hard to grow vegetables to buy in a big store, so most people grow their own vegetables. Much of the food in Bermuda is imported which explains why eating out can be quite expensive!

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Yes, the water was perfect and so warm! I hung around this area for about 15 minutes just allowing the current to move me gently. Laying on my back having the sun drench me in its rays and feeling like I was on top of the world was one of the best feelings I have had in a very long time. This was exactly what I wanted to do once I came here. I didn’t think about work or any stresses of life. It was perfect-until a kid splashed me and got salt water into my nose making me suddenly jolt up from my dreamy state of mind. But with a smile because I was in paradise after all.

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Horseshoe Bay is a very popular beach! It’s a public beach so it was fun to hear and interact with the locals. Except maybe one person who was swimming around. She creeped me out for some reason. She just stared at me and was talking a language I didn’t know. Her eyes were not exactly friendly as she moved closer and closer to where I was. I didn’t know if she was talking to herself or something else. I quickly swam away from her clutches and proceeded to explore other non-creepy things. From this view, you can tell I am getting farther and farther away from the masses and venturing out on my own to explore what was around the corner. Beyond the rocks was the bigger beach that several hundred people went to. I love small, intimate beaches so that’s why we came to Horseshoe Bay.

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So I swam around a corner to explore and came across this! The water was somewhat shallow, but the current was still powerful enough to knock you off your feet. The one thing we had to endure and be careful of were the rocks under the water. Some rocks were smooth and others were razor sharp. I still have scratches at the bottom of my feet, but nothing deep or alarming. The water was a light emerald color because it was in shallow waters. I couldn’t believe all the shades of blue Bermuda has in its waters! So pretty! I felt like I stumbled across a blue lagoon scene when we swam around here. People noticed and then more and more people started to swim over to where we were. People on the beach who only stayed by the beach and didn’t venture out beyond the rocks would have never seen this area. There are always benefits to exploring around a bit. I’m an explorer by nature anyways, so this was nothing new.

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From this vantage point you can see a cliff edge straight ahead. It was there that I decided to stand and take some picture. From that stand point, you can see below to where I am at from above.

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I chose a small area away from most of the crowd and put our things down there while we swam around. Once I was pulled out of the water (because if I had my way, I’d want to stay in the water forever and call it a day), we noticed a little opening to a tunnel that lead somewhere. Adventure Boy suggested we go check it out. We entered it and saw this big opening to the sky and a 60 degree angle to the top. We had seen two kids come out from the tunnel, so they must have climbed down from the top. Adventure Boy started to climb up, but decided not to last minute. I looked up and saw what looked like a slide from the top! On the cruise, they offered rock climbing. Pff. Honey please. I was going rocking climbing for real! With two cameras in hand, I began my climb up. It was hard and very slippery. It was truly rock climbing; good thing I used to be a gymnast because I felt like bending and stretching all kind of ways.

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Whew! Almost halfway there! The things I do for my lovely subscribers! ;) No, seriously. My curiosity was getting the best of me. Other people had climbed other rocks/cliffs on the other side which you will see in the video below, but I was the only one up on this one (just the way I like it). It was worth the climb though because this is the shot I got! This picture reminded me of my dream from a few posts ago that I wrote about. Remember? I was standing on a cliff looking below? It was nothing like where I was standing, but it reminded me of my dream.

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This picture looks like a huge hand with its hand cupped. Can you see the fingers? Hand of God? His present to me! See the beauty I have created before you! If you look closely, you will see a little platform at one of the “fingertips” where I sat and looked below. I wish someone had been behind me to take a picture of me sitting at that little platform.

You had to be here to feel the weather, the sun, the beauty and the moment of having a scene take your breath away. I sat here for a little while without filming or taking pictures-it was quite lovely and a moment that only my mind will always remember.

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Earlier I had mentioned that cliff. Here I am at that cliff looking down at the emerald small swimming area where I was.

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Overall, I felt relaxed, at peace, warm and saturated by the ocean that I love so much. I’ve been to many beaches in my life and the temperature of the water was unlike I had ever felt. The sun, the beach and everything that goes with it is what I am. It reflects my soul and spirit.

Here is a short video of my pictures. If you go to my vimeo page, you can click play then push “stop” until you see the buffer bar completely go to the right. Then press “play” to get a non buffered play of the video.

I was sitting up front and the passengers in the back were asking the driver some questions. I asked questions, but they were not on film. We actually had a wonderful conversation on the way to the beach talking about Brazil, soccer and Bermuda. Our driver was so sweet and informative. He told me a lot of Brazilians live in Bermuda and I saw many houses with Brazilian flags outside! Viva Brasil!

I’ll be back with more pictures of St. Maarten. It takes a while to upload and edit the videos. I took lots of pictures and lots of hours of videos of the four countries we went to, but I had to condensed it for my blog.

I highly recommend visiting Bermuda!! I am already thinking of when I will return and staying much longer. This is a place you want to bring someone very special to or a family trip to remember.

If islands could serenade me with a song, I’d want Bermuda to sing this song to me.

 

“I will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie

How I wish you could see the potential
The potential of you and me
It’s like a book elegantly bound
But in a language that you can’t read just yet

You gotta spend some time, love
You gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you’ll find love
I will possess your heart

There are days when outside your window
I see my reflection as I slowly pass
And I long for this mirrored perspective
When we’ll be lovers, lovers at last

You gotta spend some time, love
You gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you’ll find love
I will possess your heart

I finally belong to you.

30 Jun

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I absolutely love this quote. I know I’m going to fall in love with Bermuda. I’ve been wanting to go this country for a majority of my life and it’s finally coming true. The color of the water on the beaches especially is what has been tantalizing me for years, being more vivid in my imagination and dreams. To me, Bermuda was always a touch of paradise of heaven as a child and I knew I would go there someday. Do you know what it’s like to dream something beautiful, a place, and then to actually stand there in person? It’s like dreaming of someone from your imagination or real life and then to see them a few feet away for the first time. Pretty unreal. Not that I would know. I would hope it was the same feeling. I always pictured my soul mate standing before me with tousled wind blown hair, barefoot with pants slightly rolled up and the most charming smile ever- meant just for me presenting me with an aquamarine stone surrounded by diamonds. He would then ask me that very important question. Sorry, I got carried away. I want to dig my feet in the sands of Bermuda and immerse myself completely in the waters, allowing the sun to caress my face with her warmth. I am, afterall, a beach girl and always will be. The ocean calls……

Pictures and posts coming soon of Bermuda. I will be visiting 3 other countries as well.

I’ll be reporting back from Bermuda, so stay tuned!

Lots of love to all of you!

JavaGirl aka Beach Girl

P.S. Here is one of my favorite blog posts which goes well with this post.

http://landofblogging.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/i-just-want-to-belong/

Tell me about your storybook town….

24 Jun

Dear subscribers,

I was browsing online and came across some breathtaking villages that have stirred up my imagination. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to see a photograph of a place and wonder what many stories have made up that little village? It’s like time froze and these places were not affected by the fast paced society. I’d love think that perhaps in some parts of this big world, there still remains an innocence of how one sees life and the pace of life is only affected by one’s eagerness to get home for a home cooked dinner.

GASADALUR VILLAGE, FAROE ISLANDS

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Look at that waterfall! How far is the next town? Do they have a little hospital? Anyone famous come from that island? Has any movie been filmed there? If you are from there, let me know. If not, have you taken a trip to that village? I think someone has looked at my blog from the Faroe Islands. I’ll have to check.

MORRO DE SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

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Oi gente! Mais que cidade linda! I’ve been to many beach towns, but this one is very different. Most beach towns have a road between the houses and the beach. This one does not, which makes it extra quaint and special. You don’t see many small beach towns like this, but trust me, they are a gem once you find them. Nice little place for a weekend getaway.

ITTOQQORTOORMIIT, GREENLAND

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I’m afraid to even pronounce this village’s name. Does anyone know? What a charming little place. I like the way the houses are spaced out and it seems fairly easy to find anyone’s house. Look at the view every single house has of the mountains! If you live here or have visited, what is it like during the summers? Do you get many tourists here?

GOREME, TURKEY

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This place is also known as “The Underground City”. I have a feeling I would get lost in this place. I like this picture because it reminds me of that book called “Where’s Waldo”. If I ever went there, I’d wear a striped red and white scarf and situate myself somewhere and have my subscribers try to find me in a photograph. Where would you hide in this picture? Anyways, what a fascinating place. So many details, yet it all blends in together. I also get the sense that those rocks hide many secrets. Indiana Jones would totally love this place.

HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA

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Austria is one of my favorite countries in the world. I’ve known of Hallstatt for many years, but I wanted to include it here because it’s just a rad place. I look at this picture and a huge feeling of silence envelopes me. Can you feel it too? Out of all the villages, this one seems like it is the most quiet of them all. But we all know my favorite composer was from this country, Mozart, and his music would fill the air and live on forever. Look at those balconies. Imagine waking up every morning with a cup of tea, still in your robe to be greeted by the morning sun! Bliss.

Heading to bed now. Thanks for reading! Let me know if you’ve been to any of these place or if you live here in one of these villages. Goodnight! xoxo

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