[ROME] A NIGHT AT THE VATICAN

Probably the only time you can catch the night scene outside St Peter’s Square is if you spend the night at Vatican City, or if you’re reading this as I’m about to show you a couple of my night scene captures. Outside St Peter’s Basilica on the day we arrived, there was a huge preparation for an important religious mass that would take place the day after, hence in the evening and well into the night, throngs of people gathered outside St Peter’s Square, setting up temporary food stalls and flea-market style cabins showcasing collections of costume jewellery, fine jewellery, art, tourist mementos, souvenirs, little collectibles of Vatican’s finest architecture, and flowers – from fine skinny stalks to big fluffy bouquets. As midnight approached, the crowd thinned, and melancholic street-lamps were just about the only ones creating shadows on the sidewalks. This is Vatican City at night, for you.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ROME] 10 SNAPSHOTS OF VATICAN CITY

Bringing to you a quick showcase of the world’s smallest independent state – all 109 acres (44 hectares) around St. Peter’s Basilica and the palace of the Vatican. In and around are beautifully preserved cultural sites, lush green gardens, and museums which feature some of the world’s most famous sculptures and paintings. Home to architectural inputs of Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Maderno and Bernini, its chapels and homes distinctly echoes of Baroque and of the Renaissance.
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St. Peter’s Basilica:

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ROME] INNER TRIMMINGS OF THE VATICAN CITY

Be amazed at what human beings have achieved. Some dedicate their lives to creating art – intricate gold and bronze details adorn every inch of the ceiling at the St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. How did they get there, you ask. How did the people of the past achieve incredible feats like these. Patience, loads and loads of personal devotion to their craft. In short, people lived and breathed their art.

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[ROME] THE VATICAN CITY

We arrived, early summer morning, at the smallest internationally recognised independent state in the world! Dan Brown aficionados would undoubtedly link Vatican City to Angels and Demons, in which our all-time favourite Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon fights to stop the Illuminati from destroying Vatican City with the newly discovered antimatter. I loved every sequel, but Angels and Demons is by far my favourite Langdon novel. I was extremely psyched about seeing the Vatican with my own eyes!

The exterior was breathtaking – the pristine white columns, striking obelisk, and hordes of tourists snapping photos at every single picture-worthy monument. Summer is the best time for touring Rome. Sharing some of them lovely shots I took outside of the Basilica. Enjoy!

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ROME] IN ALL ITS RUINED BEAUTY

What everyone should love about Rome: its historic ruins and scatters of exquisite shambles. Much of this city appears discarded – as if picked apart by fickle historians and deemed unworthy of more than an afterthought. Centuries of time gone by lay preserved in these archived sites, untouched by restoration, that are as common in central Rome as trees are in Hyde Park. Charmed by relics as old as the gladiators, we stopped to appreciate a seemingly forgotten piece of land. Sometimes we forget how beautiful things are, if we just let them be.

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xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ROME] PIAZZA DEL POPOLO

Flanked by the Via Flaminia, Piazza del Popolo was an important entry point to Rome’s city centre for travellers entering the city via the Adriatic Coast. Today, the piazza still hums with a steady stream of travellers eager to check this off their travel itinerary. We took mandatory shots with Rome’s iconic obelisk which was initially erected to commemorate the conquest of Egypt, thereafter in 1815 the renowned Giuseppe Valadier redesigned by adding walls around the square, giving the piazza its current oval shape. The piazza’s church, Santa Maria del Popolo, located near the Porta del Popolo, contains many impressive works of art, including Rome’s oldest stained-glass windows and two famous paintings by Caravaggio.

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So much beauty and history in one place!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[ROME] THE SPANISH STEPS

We took the best part of an hour to conquer the celebrated Piazza di Spagna, otherwise more fondly known as the Spanish Steps, which rises up towards the Church of Trinità dei Monti. Summer was shrouding us all in killer heatwaves. Nevertheless we managed to revel in the refined, eighteenth century atmosphere, once home to reknowned English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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Some college dude tried to breakdance. 20140727-155530-57330360.jpg

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The shots would have turned out better if the backdrop wasn’t marred by construction in progress! But still, been there, done that. Spanish Steps – checked!

Security in these tourists areas: military personnel everywhere.
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Piazza di Spagna (The Spanish Steps)

Photo-diary: I’m in love…with Kurumba Maldives!

Unbolt your main door and this is what you see
This world is all kinds of amazing20131003-022815.jpgIt’s positively exhilarating to know that the beauty of Maldives is right at your doorstep
Complete with sea breeze and utter, remote peace.
20131003-022832.jpgI’ll always be in love with the skies and the sea.
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One of my favourite spots:
The patio to lounge around, to watch the sea from a safe distance
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Only at Kurumba, the pool comes crazily close to being as inviting as the open Maldivean sea20131003-023617.jpg

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Even the visitor lodge is so tastefully built with an air of zen.
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My room was closest to the lodge! Super safe and all, I didn’t feel scared to stay in that hugeass room at all.
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Can’t stop reiterating how much I love the Maldives.
How could anyone not fall to her charms?
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Definitely gonna be back for more.
Does anyone wanna come scuba-dive here with me?

Travel-diary: Red Square, Moscow

Hello from Moscow!
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It’s been raining a lot when we arrived, unfortunately we chose a damp, drizzly and cold summer day to go to Red Square at the heart of the city.
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BUT it was pretty much worth it.
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80% of the architecture here have that Turkish/Middle Eastern influence, or perhaps it is the other way round.
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FYI this is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
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Mandatory shot: been there, done that 😀

ladies in hats and pink poodles

eif

“The next night I went back to the sea dressed in 1950s silk travel scarves –
Paris with the Eiffel tower and ladies in hats and pink poodles,
Venice with bronze horses and gondoliers,
New York in celestial blue and silver.
I brought candles and lit the candles, all the candles,
in a circle around the lifeguard stand and put a tape in my boom box.
I came down the ramp with the sea lapping at my feet and the air like a scarf of warm silk
and the stars like my tiara.

And my angel was sitting there solemnly in the sand, sitting cross-legged like a buddha,
with sand freckling his brown limbs and he watched me the way no boy had ever watched me before,
with so much tenderness and also a tremendous sorrow,
which was what my dances were about just as much,
the sorrow of not being loved the way my womb, rocking emptily inside of me,
insisted I be loved,
the sorrow of never finding the thing I had been searching for.”

― Francesca Lia Block, Echo