This is my first blog post about our travels in Italy since being back from Tunisia. It’s been decadent, heavenly and good for the soul after spending 3 long months living in a developing country. It’s been so nice being anonymous again (that is, not the only westerner, which seems to translate as “I am rich please come and ask me for money or whisky”) in Tunisia. The one downside is that I’ve put all the weight back on that I lost in Tunisia due to their lack of cheese. The best part is gorging ourselves on all the cheese!
Mike and I have taken our photography to the next level by learning about “HDR” – High Dynamic Range photography. I was inspired by the blog of Trey Ratcliff – Stuck in Customs – to finally take the leap but had been a bit in awe of what I’d seen around the interwebs for a long time as well. I originally learnt how to use Photoshop because I was very interested in blending my paintings with photography. In a similar vein, the particular style of HDR photography that I am interested in results in a “painterly” looking photograph. However, my main motivation for learning more about this technique was the realisation that we’re seeing some pretty amazing places and things and if we put a little bit of effort into learning more and improving our photography we could build a fairly impressive portfolio. I had a stabby fear when I thought about coming to the end of our travels and thinking “huh, we really could’ve taken better photos“. I would never be able to forgive myself for that. No regrets!
As they say, a picture says a thousand words so here’s a before and after HDR photograph to give you an idea:
Chieti Good Friday Procession
There have been many highlights since being back in Italy. Often it seems like each day is better than the last. An absolutely unforgettable experience though was the Good Friday Procession in Chieti. It’s an ancient tradition and going by the strange garb and bewildering symbology I suspect it hasn’t changed much since ye olde times either – apart from the glow sticks, of course.
I believe each of those doodads attached to the cross symbolise one of the 14 stages of the cross.
I haven’t the faintest why they wear those hoods, but man were the little children creepy. What really set the atmosphere though was the hundred-strong marching orchestra – mainly violins – and all-male choir booming their hymn through the mediaeval streets.
Now for something a bit more cheerful. We stayed at an agriturismo place just outside of a town called “Penne” for a couple of weeks. They had this gorgeous lawn filled with tiny white flowers and strewn all over it were these brightly coloured miniature play-things for children. I spent one sunny spring day snapping away and probably getting some very strange looks from the owners as I got down on hands and knees to capture the perspective I wanted.
To wrap up, here are some miscellaneous pretties for you. An Umbrian field:
And a very sexy tree in the back yard of a lovely Italian couple who had us over for a thousandth course lunch, dinner, and breakfast!