Italy, we meet again

After a long flight, I was back in the country of pizza and pasta. Home to one of the most influential civilizations in world history. Italy, I could not wait to see you again. Now, I had the chance to explore what I missed.

Italian hills outside of rome photo taken by Hugo Morel

Constantly reminded how beautiful this country is. The hills bring back childhood memories. The colors of the grass looked like it came from the paintings of the geniuses this country has produced. Confused and lost, could not help but adore. Something about this country was different.

Trees of the Vatican city photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Maybe it was the greenish glow the flowers had? Or probably, the exotic combination of plants. All this has become foreign to me. A sure sign, I have lived in New York City too long.

Another shot of the trees photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

Either way, I can’t stop seeing the missions of California. I was truly in a Mediterranean country again. Something about the Mediterranean always connects with me. Maybe it’s the fact that I have roots from all parts of this region. Or possibly, the beautiful climate. Mixed with all the foreign, but familiar, scenery.

A street ouside of rome photo courtesy of Hugo Morel

All I know for certain is, I’m back in Italy. I could not wait to see what I missed on my first trip. I know most countries look different the second time around. I’m sure, my appreciation for Italy will increase.

Safe travels everyone and much love!

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Another close call: escaping a 6.2 Italian earthquake

As we were waiting for the plane to take us back home, I was thinking about how much this month in Europe has changed me. I was worried about when I go back, i would not be able to relate to friends, family and my old hang out spots like I used. This is the dark side about traveling. Yes, traveling usually changes you for the good; however, the post-travel blues is an actual issue. A lot of the things you used to relate to become unfamiliar. As if, you aren’t on the same page as your friends and loved ones anymore.

Brought to you by Google “Rome’s airport”

After a few hours delay, we were on the plane ready to take us home. Little did I know, we just escaped a possible tragical and deathly event.

Brought to you by Google

My phone didn’t start to ring until around midnight when I arrived back home. I was confused to see so many people trying to get in contact with me. From ex girlfriends to friends I haven’t spoken to in years. I found out the news that there was a 6.2 earthquake in Central Italy. Places like Rome, Vatican city and Siena were hit. A lot of people were killed and many homes were ruined.

Brought you by Google

Brought to you by Google
Brought to you by Google

As you can see from the photos, I probably escaped death. If we would had stayed one more day in Italy, we probably would had been caught in all the destruction. Now as I write this having more wisdom and experience, I’m truly lucky to escape all these close calls. Being bitten in the neck by a dog in Panama, somehow random strangers traded seats with me that led me away from all the sick people on my flight back from dubai; and, not being caught up in this 6.2 earthquake. It’s as if, someone is looking out for me. As if, I’m being protected by an unseen force. Whoever or whatever it is, it wants me alive.

Screenshot from wikipedia of the death toll

If you all want to read the news article, you can click on here. Thank you for reading this article. Stay safe and enjoy life!! You never know when it can be taken away. Much love everyone!

Everything good comes to an end

Taken by Hugo Morel

As time went by, I had to come to the realization that my time in Italy was ending. It was a sad and an exciting moment. Every minute and every second meant I was getting closer to going back home.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Woke up to a foggy morning. Went outside just to have some reflection time. Thinking about how much this trip has changed and made me into a better person. During this trip, my girlfriend at the time, broke up with me. She left me for the son of an oil tycoon. I made sure to not let this affect my trip.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Although my heart was broken during this time, Italy thought me how to appreciate being in the moment. The awesome thing about traveling while being single is not having to check on your phone, to see if your lover texted you back. I got to soak in the environment and the people. Also, not having to feel guilty for eating that extra slice of pizza was pretty fun. The best moments of my trip, was being able to interact with the people around me. I made friends on that journey that will be in my life for a very long time.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Italy, oh Italy… How much I will miss you. A country that gave me an escape from my problems back home. This is a country that will always have an emotional chapter in my book called life. The thought of having to arrive back home to no one waiting for me at the gate, added salt to an already unfavorable leave. At least, another wild adventure was waiting for me in the horizon.

Thank you for taking your time for reading this post! Much love!! Have a wonderful weekend!

A step back in time: Siena, Italy

Taken by Hugo Morel

Going to Siena, Italy is like stepping into a time machine. All of the markets and alleyways have been the same since medieval times.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Walking through the streets of this city, you really feel that you are in Europe. I have not been to a city more European than this. Most of the major cities in Europe have been tainted by globalization. Here in Siena, it’s as Italian as you can get.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Although, many of the markets were obsessed with selling Assassin’s Creed gear. Guess they were proud that the games’ setting, at that time, were in Italy. Haha 😆

Taken by Hugo Morel

The more you explore, the harder it is to not fall in love with the atmosphere. Everything is relaxed and at a slower pace. Complete opposite of the all the cities in the USA. Also, all the Italian food you want!!

Taken by Hugo Morel

Make sure to stop by the siena cathedral. It’s hard to miss!

Taken by Hugo Morel

One thing you will notice throughout the city is this statue of a wolf with two human babies. At the time of me being in Siena, I had no idea what those statues meant. I had to research to find out that it was linked to roman mythology. According to the legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus. Remus is one of the babies that is on the statue. Remus was one of the twins that founded Rome and were taken in by a she-wolf. When Senius and Aschiue fled Rome, they took the statue of the she-wolf to Siena. It eventually became the symbol of the city.

Thank you so much for reading this post. Much love! Have a great weekend! PS.. We have a travel agency coming up soon 😁. So we can help you all create your own stories and adventures! Stay tuned and of course safe travels!!! We love you all!

Exploring Vatican city and the sistine chapel

Taken by Hugo Morel

The further you walk in the Vatican, the more you feel guilty by realizing how many times you skipped going to church on Sundays.

Taken by Hugo Morel

The Vatican has a wonderful collection of art. Many of the churches have many wonderful masterpieces on the ceiling. They also have a collection of art from the many different countries Rome conquered. Which is somewhat weird because Catholicism was never the Western roman empire’s main religion.

Taken by Hugo Morel

My whole thoughts on this place were very mixed. They kept showing Rome’s accomplishments; however, they are claiming that they are not a part of Rome. Also, the Byzantine empire was the first empire to accept Christianity as it’s official religion on the European continent. The Byzantine empire was considered the Eastern roman empire but, they didn’t conquered the countries that the Vatican kept art from.

Taken by Hugo Morel

We eventually made it to the sistine chapel. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos or videos of the chapel since there were many guards. Also, there was a guy yelling every minute in a bad Italian accent,”please, no videos and no photos!” So I took the picture of the next best thing. The sistine chapel was in town one day when I was back home. Took a picture of it just for you all!!

Taken by Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking the time and reading this post. Much love!! Also, just a small announcement! We have a lot of exciting things that are about to happen. Stay tuned!!

Entering the smallest country in the world

Vatican city, the home base of the Catholic Church. A country of about 1000 people and the place where the Pope lives. Do not let the name confuse you, it’s actually a country.

St. Peter’s square taken by Hugo Morel

Although, it’s not recognized by the United Nations as an actual country; Vatican city is self-governed. Besides speaking Italian, the Pope’s home is not apart of Italy nor Rome; even if it’s in the middle of Italy’s capital.

St. Peter’s square at sun rise taken by Hugo Morel

Entering this country feels more like an airport than immigration. You have to go through a metal detector. If someone acts up, they will have to deal with these guys.

The guards of Vatican City taken by Hugo Morel

To be honest, these guards I think are just for show. They aren’t really frightening nor to be taken seriously. Just look at those colors!

The entrance to Vatican City taken by Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Much love!! Have an awesome weekend and stay healthy! Next time we will be exploring more of Vatican city.

The Catacombs of Rome

When we think of Catacombs, we think of the one’s in Paris; however, Rome has a few as well. Although, they are not as dark as the ones in Paris, but they are still creepy.

Photo taken by Hugo Morel

As we were going down the steps, I truly had no idea what I was getting into. The further we went, the darker it got. I looked back and the image I saw, was something out of a horror painting.

Taken by Hugo Morel

A little history of Rome’s catacombs. The catacombs were built for the Christian and Jewish population. Since most of them were too poor to afford a proper grave, the ancient Romans just stuffed them in the catacombs. Also, the Romans back then did not believe in burying the dead. They preferred cremations.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Back to our story, the Catacombs were always at a cool temperature. As the group kept going, I somehow got lost. Being lost in a place like this was not a fun experience. You can sense something is always around the corner looking at you.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Every corner I turned, there were more graves with Latin written on them. My fight against anxiety was becoming a hopeless cause.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Eventually after running around in the dark for what felt like an hour, I found a tour guide. The guide looked at me twice, as if she was making sure I wasn’t some sprit haha. She lead me to the exit and there I found freedom from this nightmarish event.

Thank you for reading our post. Much love!! Safe travels and have an awesome weekend!

The ruins of rome

The more we explored Rome, the older the man-made structures got.

Taken by Hugo Morel edited on Instagram

Rome is such a beautiful city. However, there’s a part of Rome that makes the human life span feel inferior. To see these thousands of years old structures is something everybody should experience.

Taken by Hugo Morel

The energy of the Colosseum was out of this world and slightly dark. To know that many people and animals had died for entertainment, left me with a sour taste.

taken by Hugo Morel

We eventually went to where the battles for survival took place. It really made you think as to how far we came as people and a society. These battles to the death were truly barbaric and savage. Gladly, we replaced this violent entertainment with sports (Pun intended).

taken by Hugo Morel

Regardless of what I felt, I really enjoyed my time. Experiencing Roman history first hand, is a memory I’m proud to leave with.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Thank you for reading our post! We love you all! Stay healthy!!

Finalmente Roma!

After all this time, we are finally in Rome!

Taken by Hugo Morel

The one thing that stood out to me was all the relics from Egypt. Like, how did they get them here? What ship can carry a pyramid? These are questions the world may never know.

Pyramid taken by Hugo Morel

The history running in this city is strong. You can feel the fall of the Egyptian empire and the others Rome conquered. Below is an Egyptian obelisk. The Roman empire really interested me as a kid. To be in it’s capital was a feeling hard to put in words.

Taken by Hugo Morel

Walking around the city was relaxing and interesting. I expected Rome for some reason to be made of gold and have fashion shows on every corner. Of course, I was wrong. It seemed like a typical historical city. It’s hard to be impressed, when you been to Prague. That was my mind set.

Trevi fountain taken by Hugo Morel

Eventually, we started to get to the tourist parts of rome. The Trevi fountain was truly beautiful. I didn’t expect Rome to be so charming after being disappointed with it’s appearance at first. This city is truly like a book. You can not judge it by it’s cover.

“Angels bridge” ponte sant’Angelo taken by Hugo Morel

Thank you for taking your time to read. Next week we will be exploring more of Rome.

The saint of Assisi, Italy

After our experiences in Florence, the crew started it’s way to Assisi. At the time, I never really thought much about this city; however, it would be an unique experience.

Arriving to the city was actually exciting because we were very hungry. The crew thought it was best we did not stop to eat and just drive straight there to save time. Well of course, we got stuck in traffic. So we feed on light snacks. Once we got to Assisi, we ate like Kings and Queens.

So this city is actually the place where Saint Francis is from. My home town San Francisco was named after this Saint. It was a weird experience that is truly hard to put into words. I could see the similarities in the city and the Saint. Saint Francis to the Catholic Church is the saint of animals. San Francisco has a lot of vegans and animal rights activists. I found that to be very interesting.

Assisi itself is just a normal sized city. The buildings were nice. The narrow alleyways reminds you are in an european town; yet, the mountains in the background, reminded me of the mountains on the Californian countryside.

The city was so beautiful in a classic European way. No big skyscrapers, just beautiful Italian scenery.

The shops had everything in them. From assassin’s Creed gear to soap. It was weird to see soaps being sold right next to coats with hidden blades. There’s a joke hidden in there but I’m not going to touch it (pun intended).

As we explored more of the city, we were shown where Saint Francis was locked up by his dad. His dad was a very rich man and was angry that Francis wanted to become a priest. So he locked him in a small room similar to a dungeon. Eventually, Francis became a clergyman and later, one of the most well known saints.

(All photos were taken by Hugo Morel)

Thank you for reading, enjoy your weekend. Next time, we will finally go to Rome!!

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