Alex & Marianna Photography: Blog en-us (C) Alex & Marianna Photography [email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:28:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:28:00 GMT Alex & Marianna Photography: Blog 120 120 France We were excited to leave Italy and enter France. It felt like we crossed from a third world country into a modern world. The highways got wider, grocery stores had better selection, the weather was much cooler, and our mood was improved.

We had a very lovely time in Provence. The biggest contributing factor to our relaxing visit was the French Château that we stayed at. The Château was located near Avignon, nestled amidst orchard prairies with a creek running through the property and horse pastures. Every morning a rooster awoke us and every evening was concluded with goodnights to all the farm animals like the baby chickens, cows, cats, dogs and horses. The kid’s favorite animals were the two dogs, one was as Australian Shepherd named Whistler that mostly stayed with the horses, and the other was a fat lazy mutt named Kellý that was begging for food every morning at breakfast: a French breakfast of toasts with homemade jams and fruits from the orchard. The Château had a swimming pool and a game room so we didn’t need to go anywhere.

The Château itself was hundreds of years old, built out of stone and even though it had modern amenities like air conditioning and flat screen TVs it felt very antique. All the furniture and décor was vintage, the floors were cricking and there was a musty smell all throughout the house with ancient spider webs in places you couldn’t reach. Sometimes, we ate dinner at a communal kitchen that felt like a movie set. It had a massive wooden table with large ornate candleholders and chairs that took all your strength to move an inch. The only thing we were missing was period clothing. The whole experience was very unique, even our car was parked in a barn that used to store wine barrels dating back to the 19th century.

During our leisurely excursions we saw many beautiful lavender and grape fields, we visited markets, small villages with castles, and a theatrical city of Avignon with it’s grandiose Pope’s palace. 

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Wed, 29 Aug 2012 21:12:16 GMT
Italy Next stop: Jesolo, Italy. It is a seaside town on a peninsula about 45 minutes away by boat from Venice.

After a 5-hour trip and as we were approaching our destination, Jonah threw up in a car so for the last hour or so we were covered in throw up and enduring the smell.  This was not the last time Jonah threw up in the car but the next time it happened we were prepared. It turned out that he gets motion sick and now as he starts to feel sick he asks for a plastic bag :)

Our accommodation in Jesolo was a mobile home in an RV park. Well, it was more like an RV resort because it included a huge Aqua Park, lots of restaurants, beach, free toys, nightly shows, playgrounds, stores, amusement centers, bike rentals, etc.

This resort was a paradise for kids and their parents. There was a mandatory siesta in the middle of the day so the kids can nap. The cars were not allowed to drive and all the amenities like the Aqua Park were shut down. They also had workshops and activities every day making sure the kids were busy and happy. Everyone felt very at ease at this resort to a point where young kids age 3-7 were roaming around by themselves, buying snacks and playing on driveways without any supervision.

We rented a 2-bedroom home with a kitchen and a living room. Everything was very small but comfortable, furnished IKEA style. The rental included all the kitchen utensils, linens and towels so it was like renting a miniature apartment. The mobile home was in a row of many identical units so we would get lost often while trying to find it.

The resort was really big so we ended up renting bikes to get around and were having so much fun that we pretty much forgot that we were next to a spectacular city of Venice.

Well, Venice wasn’t very spectacular at least not this time around. I remember the first time we visited many years ago the city left me with an impression of something magical and unique. This time around it came across decaying and unfriendly.

The day we visited, Ender was running a fever so he was weak and grouchy (you can even see that in the pictures). The temperature outside was in the 90s and crowds of tourists were sweating up the narrow streets of the city. It was sad to see deteriorating buildings and no visible attempts at remodeling them. Venetians were unfriendly and the city was puddled with dirty ocean water. 

Aside from the view, we did enjoy a very expensive cup of coffee, chasing pigeons on St Marco Square and a gondola ride with a buff gondolier. Check the photo gallery posted here.


After Jesolo we spent three days on the rugged coast of Italy also known as Italian Riviera or Cinque Terre. The coastline has five hillside villages hence the name Cinque Terre.

We stayed in a village called Monterosso al Mare in a two-bedroom apartment. One of the rooms was upstairs and it was as hot as a sauna, and the only way we were able to stay there is with a portable air conditioning blowing air right into your face. Alex stayed in the sauna and the kids and I shared a bed in a second bedroom. Needless to say no one slept well for 3 nights. To top it off, every evening we would loose electricity so we had to use our iPhones as flashlights. And that was the only thing we were able to use our iPhone for, because we had no Internet and no SIM cards to use them as phones. We were getting desperate for some comfort and a good night’s sleep.

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Mon, 27 Aug 2012 22:16:57 GMT
To BEACH or not to BEACH That is the question...


You prepare yourself for the beach way in advance. You exfoliate, groom, shave and tan in advance so when you are at the beach it looks like you've been there for a while.


Right before going, you lather yourself with sunscreen while carefully trying not to swear the white stuff on your clothes and dutifully covering every inch of your body. You then endure the smell and the glistering of your body as you gaze at yourself in the mirror wondering if you are too old to wear a two piece suite and how many pounds you need to lose to look acceptable to a judging audience. On the plus side, you don't fell as intimidated in Europe becacuse Europeans don't really care what you look like or do on the beach. Here is a proof. In the video you'll see a topless woman laying on her back while her thighs are being massaged vigorsly by an overweight half naked man.

At the beach, you try your hardest not to get too sandy because you won't be able to reapply the sunscreen, try not to step on the sand or it will burn your feet, not to get stinged by a jelly fish or a stranger will have to pee on you, not to get drowned by the waves, and all the while trying to maintain your composure and making sure your boobs don't fall out of your two piece as you walk out of the ocean.

Side note, Dory fish from Nemo was right. Jelly fish don't sting if you touch them at the top.


After the beach, you are exhausted from being in the sun, even though you did nothing but lay on a bench that you rented for $10/hr. You are dehydrated from the lack of fluids in your body. And now you have to take a mandatory shower (as if you haven't been in the water enough that day) to remove the salt from your hair and sand from your butt crack. As you step out of the shower into a pool of sand on the floor you are reminded of all the cleaning you still have to do to remove the lingering effects of going to the beach. Oh yes, I almost forgot... you did get sun-burnt so your ears and the backs of your legs will be hurting and peeling for a while.


So why, or why do we go to the beach I ask?

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Tue, 07 Aug 2012 20:35:16 GMT
Slovenia's Video Blog

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Tue, 07 Aug 2012 19:51:51 GMT
What do kids need when traveling...  

Horses Birds

and Ice Cream

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Mon, 06 Aug 2012 21:55:33 GMT
Our stay in Lake Bled, Slovenia We loved our stay in Slovenia. The country is a blend of Germany and Croatia with rich history and picturesque landscapes.

During our short stay we were able to do a combination of active, leisurely, and cultural activities. Everyone's desires were satisfied. Jonah got to ride on a horse carriage around the lake and to chase ducks. Ender had fun swimming in the lake, rowing a boat, and exploring medieval castles. And mommy and daddy enjoyed going on a hike to a beautiful gorge, sampling fine local food (wild boar, cottage cheese pie, foie gras, etc), and visiting an underground stalactite cave with 13 mile passages that you explore by a train. 
During our visit to Postojna Cave we got really cold, and even our jackets that we were using for the first and last time during our trip didn't help, so we ended up defrosting under the hot sun for an hour afterwards. And now that I think about it the cave visit could've been a lot more enjoyable if they were to provide us warm coats, a closed off rail cart so you do't chop your head off while trying to take pictures, and of course kept the light on while we were underground. That was a real Tom Sawyer experience.
You can view more pictures here.
On the last day at the lake we finally figured out where we were going next in Italy. And it's a good thing we did because during our stay in Italy which was about a week and a half we were operating sin Internet which is not as easy as you think when you are traveling in a new country.
Next stop Jesolo, Italy...
[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Mon, 30 Jul 2012 00:00:08 GMT
First Day at Lake Bled, Slovenia After a whole day on the road we have arrived to Lake Bled really late at night, tired and cranky. The next morning, half awake we dragged our feet to the breakfast patio where we saw a strange device that turned out to be a pork's leg carving station. That morning we decided not to experiment and opted for a pre-cut plain salami. 


After breakfast we explored our hotel. It was a very charming traditional Slovenian pension with pink and red gardenias hanging off the windows. There was an adjacent garden with vegetables and a small playground so basically it was perfect. And that perfect setting set the stage for our stay in Slovenia.
[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Sat, 21 Jul 2012 23:35:24 GMT
Visiting Salsburg From Munich we made a stop over in Salzburg, Austria "where the hills are alive with the sounds of music" and tourists (you must see the "Sounds of Music" musical filmed here if you haven't). Salzburg is also known as the birthplace of Mozart so we spent a couple of hours visiting his museum and wondering around the streets admiring the intricate signs outside of stores. My favorite sign was from MacDonald's made out of cast iron.


Check out more photos from Salzburg here: Salzburg Photo Gallery

Ender's video blog about visiting Salzburg

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Wed, 18 Jul 2012 15:25:07 GMT
Visiting Munich The whole time we were in Munich we were jet-lagged and trying to get used to our new surroundings.

The highlights included:

- visiting the Audi factory and picking up the Audi Q5 we will be driving while in Europe

- meeting Marianna's aunt who lives near Frankfurt


- driving on Autobahn

- sausages and sauerkraut

The Lows:

- hot and humid weather

- Jonah's high fever


And here is what Ender had to say about that:

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:13:03 GMT
Who is traveling? A little introduction from Ender about who is travelling on this trip...

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:10:58 GMT
Our family European adventure begins... We are off on our summer European adventure for 2.5 months. Our itinerary includes: 

4 nights in Munich, Germany

4 nights on Lake Bled in Slovenia

4 nights in Jeselo, Italy (next to Venice)

3 nights in Monterosso al Mare, Italy (Cinque Terre region) 

5 nights near Avignon, France (Provence)

5 nights in Barcelona

And the rest in Marbella, Spain

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Wed, 04 Jul 2012 13:41:05 GMT
After 8 years on the job MP's last day in the office Balloon_door-open

[email protected] (Alex & Marianna Photography) Fri, 15 Jun 2012 05:49:11 GMT