Travel photography Murano Burano Italy
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Murano & Burano | Italy

Murano and Burano are two smaller islands that are part of the Venice archipelago and historically, Morano is where the glass-blowing factories are located and Burano was where the fishermen lived. Because of this, they are both much simpler in terms of architecture, the working class neighourhoods, so to speak, and quite a contrast to the sumptuous regality of Venice proper. Burano in particular is very pretty and colourful and, to our relief, much less crowded. People actually still live here, the fountains have water, the pace is much more laid-back and we spent a blissful afternoon wandering the tiny lanes and sitting with our feet in the water.

Murano and Burano are both easily accessible with the vaporetto public transport system, if you get a 2 or 3 day pass you can then travel as much as you like during the time period, its definitely the cheapest way to do it. Italy is also very dog friendly, like most of Europe (Portugal being a notable exception… 😦 ) and dogs are more than welcome on public transport as long as they are well behaved, so travelling with ZĂŠ was no stress.

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Travel Photographer Venice Italy
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Venice | Italy

Venice is one of those places that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with. It´s Venice, there is literally no other place in the world like it, it´s breathtakingly beautiful and so unique that you can´t help but feel the love… but so completely overcrowded and expensive and badly managed that it dulls the shine of the city a bit. But Venice is Venice, and as this was my 3rd time here we were prepared for the madness, sort-of.

I don´t think that these images do much to convey the intensity of the tourism here because we did everything we could to avoid the crowds and I have to admit… when you´re not being jostled by massive tour groups, Venice really is an enchanting place. Just remember to bring your own water (because they´ve closed off all the public fountains and buying bottled water is rediculously expensive) and give yourself plenty time to get hopelessly lost in the maze of lanes and canals.

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Travel photographer Italy
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Northern Italian Lakes

After leaving the French Alps we wandered around the lakes of northern Italy… Maggiore, Como, Orta and Lugano. Lake Lugano shares its shoreline with Switzerland so in the name of in-depth exploration we crossed the border, only to be shocked at how expensive it is there… and when an crotchety old man with more money than brains reversed his (very expensive) car into our van and then just drove off without checking to see what he´d damaged, we thought that we should really rather get back to Italy, where people are just as likely to reverse into you but at least their reactions are likely to be more… normal? So much for Switzerland.

The lakes are beautiful but not really camper van territory… there aren´t many open spaces to spend the night, so we mostly camped in parking lots in the baking sun. Summers are hot and humid here with frequent thunderstorms, which meant that the van was transformed into a sauna and some of our most unpleasant nights were spent on the shores of lake Como. On our last night the heat broke with a massive storm and we discovered a relatively remote monastery hidden in the forest near the north of the lake, which made for a slightly more pleasant overnight spot.

Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer Italy Travel photographer ItalySeveral of these images were previously published by the travel blog Mr Hudson, you can see the full article HERE.

fathom best travel photographers 2017
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Fathom | Best Travel Photographers 2017

You guys, I am so stoked… Fathom recently released their annual list of 24 best travel photographers and I made the 2017 selection! I had totally not expected this and stumbled upon it about a week after they announced the list and I am super proud, even more so because some of the photographers I most admire (and secretly wish to be) are also on the list. To be recognised on the same page as Dan Tom, Nicole Franzen and Alex Strohl (!!!!) is just beyond exciting so I just had to share this and brag a little bit. 🙂

Check out the entire selection as there is some really incredible work by photographers from all over the world, definitely worth a browse.

 

travel photographer france
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French Alps

The French Alps was interesting for a variety of reasons… first off, because the entire time we were in France, the Football world cup was on and by the time we got to the final, Portugal against… wait for it… FRANCE, while we were in France, you can imagine that the locals were somewhat ambiguous about us being Portuguese. Before we wiped the floor with them, the French were polite but quite smug in their convictions that their team would beat the Portuguese. But then, they didn´t… and their smug politeness vanished into thin air. So we decided to head to Italy, where people are less polite but at least you know where you stand.

To get to Italy, you either need to pay a fortune to use one of the tunnels that cuts through the mighty Alps, or you travel one of the many steep mountain passes. Since we are not rich and were, at the time, quite unemployed, we went with the mountain pass option, via Mont Cenis, which was beautiful but very cold (even in July, peak of summer). We decided to spend the night on the shores of Lac Cenis surrounded by brown cows and decend into Italy the next morning. Luckily we didn´t choose too remote a spot to spend the night and had the company of a few other camper vans, as it was the coldest night of the entire trip (it snowed on the mountain tops around us) and the next morning, we couldn´t get the van to start. Thank goodness for jumper cables and friendly neighbours!

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travel photographer dordogne france
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Dordogne | France

After Mirepoix, we made a bee-line north towards the Dordogne region for my best friends wedding, which was a week long celebration of friends and family with much food, even more beer, and open campfires every night. We parked the van under a shady tree and didn´t move for a week, which felt amazing. We also did about 14 loads of laundry, first time we´d washed our sheets since leaving Portugal (shocking but true) which felt more than amazing. Many thanks to the very kind and long-suffering Wendy from Quirky Camping, who I´m sure didn´t realise quite how much laundry we had with us when she agreed to let us use her washing machine…

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travel photographer mirepoix france
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Mirepoix | France

After San Sebastian, we crossed the border on the coast and then turned inland, following the foothills of the Pyrenees to the town of Mirepoix… a place we´d never heard of and wouldn´t have even considered visiting if it weren´t for the fact that a friend of ours lives there. But as is always the case when on the road, these spontaneous itinerary changes are what make travelling fun and we´re really glad to have discovered such a pretty part of France, with her lakes and mountains and medieval towns. And the markets, the French win at farmers markets! Everything is always so beautifully presented and tastes amazing… we are total suckers for a good farmers market and ended up blowing most of the months budget on saucisson and tomatine and tapenade and crusty baguettes… and fromage, oh lĂĄ lĂĄ, mon petite fromage!

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food photographer san sebastian spain
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San Sebastian | Spain

San Sebastian, or Donostia, is another city that we had previously visited but we spent a few days here on our trip because: pintxos. The Spanish lay claim to tapas but the Basques take it to a whole other level with their version: bigger, tastier and far more inventive than mere tapas, pintxos are more than just a pre-dinner snack or accompaniment to a few drinks. Pintxos eating is a huge part of the local culture and a social event in itself. Food is life in the Basque country, so we definitely weren´ t going to skip through town without eating as many delicious things as possible. It rained, of course… it´s always raining here, and if it´s not raining, it’s because it was raining and is going to rain again soon. But the food makes up for it, and the fact that the Spanish are much more dog-friendly than in Portugal meant we could take ZĂŠ into restaurants while we ate and he even got his own bowl of water… although I think he Would have preferred a few pintxos, really.

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Several of these images were previously published by the travel blog Mr Hudson, you can see the full article HERE.

food photographer bilbao spain
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Bilbao | Spain

So! After a 6 month hiatus on the blog, and almost a year after we set off on our European Van Voyager Adventure (how can it be that it´s been almost a year!!!) I have finally gotten (most) of my ducks in a  row and have some photos to share and stories to tell about our travels.

And an adventure it was! We knew, going into this, that we would have stressful days, that the van would break down and that our (incredibly limited) knowledge on mechanics and electrics would be challenged on a regular basis… all of which happened, but nowhere near as much as we´d expected (thankfully!).  But more on that later.  Our biggest challenge, which I have mentioned before, was the internet. Or more specifically, the lack of it. Which, in itself, says a lot about the society we live in currently and is actually quite sad, that a lack of internet would be such a cause of stress. But the unfortunate truth is that money makes the world go around, and we rely on the internet to be able to make money. And without money, there would be no road trip.

We also completely underestimated how hard it is to work remotely, especially when you´re in beautiful places and in holiday mode… the last thing you want to do is be chasing free wifi and trying to squeeze a weeks worth of online work into a few hours (Emails! Skype meetings! Blog posts! Downloading offline maps! Where the hell are we sleeping tonight!) If you are planning a long trip like this and want to be able to work on the road, I would definitely recommend a wifi booster arial thingie. We met a few German travellers while on the road (the Germans are always so organised) and they all had them, definitely something we would get if we ever did this again.

Anyways, this is Bilbao, a port city in the north of Spain and a place we´d been to before (see previous blog posts HERE) and most of these images were taken for a piece I wrote about the city for Mr Hudson, see it HERE.

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Dubrovnik Travel Writer Photographer
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Mr Hudson | Dubrovnik City Guide

At the beginning of the year I was introduced to the site Mr Hudson Explores by a friend and fellow photographer Emanuele Siracusa, who asked me to co-produce a a few articles with him (his photos, my text). Since then, and co-inciding with our van-life adventure across Europe, I have been able to write and photograph several pieces for the site… the latest of which is a Dubrovnik city guide. I am really enjoying working together with the Mr Hudson team and it´s been great to watch this project grow and develop over this first year of it´s existence, here´s to many more! Visit my author page to see the full list of pieces I´ve written for them.

Everyone seems to be really happy that 2016 is over (everyone on Facebook at least!) and can´t stop complaining about what a terrible year it´s been but honestly, I have to say that it´s been one of the most incredible years of my life and I´m a little bit sad that it´s almost over. If 2017 is even half as good, I will be a happy camper.

Happy New Year everyone! ❤