europe

Textures: Cinque Terre by a zugunruhe

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Cinque Terre is a collection of five Italian cites along the northwestern coast. South to North, they are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Each city varying slightly from each other. Monterosso having that only sand beach of the five, Corniglia has an ungodly 382 steps from the train station to the town, and Vernazza has a beautiful harbor that is engulfed by the town.

All five cities are (or used to be) connected by walkable trails that guide you through vineyards and are serviced a train line that becomes easier to ride without a ticket as winter approaches. There is a majesty to the coastline and its basalt columns and rocky shores that recall the rough beauty of Iceland. Each town is very much centered around fishing and serviced by boats. It’s easy to catch workers cutting up the catch of the day and order it an hour later at a small restaurant.

Riomaggiore

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Manarola

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Corniglia

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Vernazza

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Monterosso

Textures: Pompeii by a zugunruhe

Pompeii always seemed like a staple in history books that would turn up in pop culture every once and awhile. Another place in the world that seemed as unreachable as outer space from my small hometown.

Walking around the remains of the city is an experience. The layout is eerie. It was a full on city, just gone by the whim of nature. There’s a vacancy that carries terrifying undertones that remind you how fleeting the sense of man-made structures can be. Whether physical or mental.

The walls are still decorated, the roads are still there, and some say that Pink Floyd still echoes throughout the ruins at night once the tourists leave.

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Textures: Venice by a zugunruhe

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Venice is defined by its relationship with water.

The canals and gondolas are iconic and inseparable from any thought of the city. But it’s the alleyways that amplify the charm. Meandering, aimless pathways that intersect in unpredictable ways, dead-ending into the canals with little fanfare outside of some rope or steps.

The free form jazz that is walking the city is a magical experience. You learn to enjoy and embrace something when you see it, because there’s a chance you won’t find it again unless it’s near a major landmark. The combination of of a timeless city and this need to interact with things the moment you encounter them creates a magical environment.

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Textures: Marseille by a zugunruhe

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“Marseille Is The World”

The city is a landing point for immigrants coming from former French colonies. Being so, it is one of the most diverse parts of the country. Laying just beyond the cusp of the French Riviera, Marseilles mixes the beautiful waters of the Côte de Azur with a city that has struggled with industry decline and high unemployment levels. These identities are reflected throughout the city in the people, architecture, and smell.

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Textures: Mont Saint-Michel by a zugunruhe

Mont Saint-Michel is an island off the Normandy coast in northwestern France famous for the tide which pulls itself around its walls, completely sealing it off from the mainland. Due to this unique attribute, the area was never captured by enemies during various wars.

But now, the city within is continuously bombarded with an arguably worse uniformed drove, school children on day trips. The narrow cobble stone streets packed elbow to elbow with matching jumpers bearing school insignia. The slow inclined march towards the abbey filled with those inclined to make fart jokes to test the patience of tourists.

But much like the famous tide the island is know for, eventually the children are pulled away and the area is much more discoverable. Once the water recedes, the unique features of sand and rock are brought to the forefront and allows the area to truly be seen. The snails that hang out on stalks while the water is away, the patterns of the sand when it dries, and the now useless floating warnings telling visitors of the dangers of swimming.

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