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Memories of Greece & Italy to share.

A month ago today I was on a plane returning from what feels like a dream. Two weeks of pure European wonder spent in Greece and Italy with my guy. Swoon! After so many years spent together, the opportunity to get out and experience the world and make US a priority presented itself and we jumped at the chance. After all, you never know when the stars will align perfectly again. To say it was heaven is a total understatement. Words or pictures will never do our experience justice because it’s one of those you had to see it with your own eyes type of things…

If I’m being honest, it was the little things that made this trip for me. It was the authentic food and the countless bottles of wine and the ambiance and the company and the conversation. I brought a journal along and by the end of the trip, I had filled every single page with memories. Like watching the sunrise in Santorini on the rooftop of our room, barefoot. Hiking down the side of the island – 246 of the largest steps you’ve ever seen in your life! – to make it down to Ammoudi Bay and trespass so that we could jump off cliffs and get our first taste of the salty Mediterranean.  Eating dinner in Oia among locals and watching a woman so entranced by the live musicians that she danced with a ceramic jug on top of her head.

It was things like driving a manual transmission car, in the rain, on foreign windy roads as we made our way to San Gimignano, Italy. Sitting on the steps of the Collegiata in the Piazza del Duomo, huddled around a cup of the best pistachio gelato in the world, watching the amateur orchestra perform. Tear-filled life talks over beers in Florence. Biking along the walls surrounding Lucca, overlooking the charming city. Walking into a tiny Sorrento storefront and letting a man who spoke no english whatsoever make sandals for me with his own two hands. Or my favorite day, renting a boat in Capri driving around the entire island stopping for a swim in the Grotta Verde, parking our boat to share lunch and a bottle of prosecco and finally, driving through the Faraglioni. What a glorious day!

My favorite memory though, was one I did not expect. On our last day in Rome, Steven and I attended morning mass at the Basilica di San Pietro. I had purchased a ceramic cross as a gift for my mom and I really wanted it blessed in the Holy city. I stood in the cathedral for what felt like hours before I worked up the nerve to approach anyone. Finally, I walked up to a Priest, pulled out the cross from my bag and blurted out padre, vi benedira questa croce per la mia mamma per favore? (I don’t know where it came from, divine intervention maybe, but ask Steven, I said it in perfect Italian!) He smiled and there, in the middle of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City in Rome, the Priest, Steven and I huddled around as he blessed the cross for my mom in Italian. At that moment, I felt so much gratitude – for my life, for my family, for this world, for the opportunity to be there – that I lost control of my emotions and literally wept in the middle of the Basilica. It was such a special memory and one that is so meaningful to my heart.

Lastly, I can’t thank Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons enough for her help in planning our trip. She took care of everything for us, selecting the perfect apartments, hotels, cities. She even recommended restaurants as she followed along our journey on Instagram! She truly knows her way around the world and it was a pleasure working with someone so knowledgable about our destinations.

Here are a few of my favorite captures from our dream trip…

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  • JordanaOctober 24, 2012 - 2:24 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous darling! The blessing of the cross story brought tears to my eyes… such a wonderful reminder of how powerful travel can be.

  • LilyOctober 24, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    Ala this is beautiful. You made me relive my trip all over again. I adored your words and pictures. You and Steven are perfect 😉 BTW, you made me want to go back BAD!

  • Jody AtkinsonOctober 24, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    So beautiful! I literally just teared up. I went to Greece for my honeymoon in May and my heart aches for it now. It is such a magical place.

  • emOctober 24, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    these are perfect. i love the story of your mama’s cross – so beautiful.

    and did you do the chair lift in capri?? wasn’t it the best experience ever?!

  • Laura KleinOctober 24, 2012 - 3:06 pm

    Ala… What amazing words, memories, photos and heart went into that post. Thank you for sharing <3

  • ariOctober 24, 2012 - 3:23 pm

    gosh, those images are just so stunning. makes me want to go back asap!

  • gladysOctober 24, 2012 - 3:30 pm

    this gave me goosies. your writing, accompanied with the photographs. so wonderful to see the world through your eyes, ala.


  • Adrienne GundeOctober 24, 2012 - 4:13 pm

    I feel like I was teary-eyed the entire post… the writing and the photos are all so so beautiful! Literally makes me want to pack a bag and fly off to Europe right. this. instant.

  • CherreeOctober 24, 2012 - 6:16 pm

    WOW! I can’t believe how gorgeous everything is… this makes me want to go so much more! I love the short memories you shared with us, and your photos are a gorgeous compliment 🙂

  • NinaOctober 24, 2012 - 8:22 pm

    such simply amazing journey! i cried and got goosebumps while reading the blessing of the cross story <3. thank you for sharing.

  • JessicaOctober 25, 2012 - 6:32 am

    Gorgeous pictures and words. It made me want travel to Europe again and make Italy a priority stop. The biggest thing I gained from my travel there was to “work to live not live to work.” The travel stays with you long after leaving the destination.

  • kellyOctober 25, 2012 - 11:17 am

    absolutely perfect! love, love, love.

  • Megan WelkerOctober 25, 2012 - 2:36 pm

    I cried reading your story. In Portfolio, sitting by myself. You made me cry 😉 Ala, these are amazing. I love so many of them for so many reasons. Print that photo of you and Steve on the boat. Print it big and frame it because that’s so so special. <3

  • JordanOctober 25, 2012 - 2:44 pm

    What an amazing story you’ve shared. LOVE!

  • PaolaOctober 26, 2012 - 8:21 am

    These are beyond beautiful, and your cross blessing story made me cry.

  • NeaOctober 26, 2012 - 11:57 pm

    Wow! Love all of your photos. I feel like I was there too, kinda 🙂

  • Gabby / En Route PhotographyOctober 29, 2012 - 12:22 am

    What a beautiful beautiful trip! Santorini is defo one of my favorite places on Earth too! 😉 Next time u gotta come to spain! 😉

  • […] Greece and Italy, and enjoyed all of the charm of Santorini, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome. You can see all their photos and read the full post on her blog, but I’ve included a beautifully written excerpt from Ala that highlights how the smallest […]

  • Kacee GeoffroyNovember 5, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    What an amazing trip!!!!!!! So cool to have those gorgeous memories!!!

  • samiaNovember 8, 2012 - 8:27 am

    Beautiful pictures, what hotel did you stay in at Santorini, would love to visit one day

  • Leeka B.November 8, 2012 - 1:38 pm

    So beautiful!!! Amazing pictures, as always!

  • VanessaFebruary 27, 2013 - 9:53 am

    Hi- My finance and I are planning a Honeymoon this year with Katie Frederick from Everafterhoneymoons where I found your blog. I am so amazed at all you accomplished on your honeymoon. I would love to ask you a few questions since you honeymoon is almost right on par with what we want to experience. We were only planning on going to Mykonos and Santorini, but I feel like we need to accomplish and see a little more together as newlyweds. I almost feel like i will take whatever time needed to have the absolute best honeymoon!
    We were planning on only going to Greece specifically, Mykonos and Satorini but I loveeeeeeeee Italy and Tuscany and after I saw your blog I am SOLD!!
    1) Did you go through Katier Frederick?
    2) How many days was your honeymoon?
    3) what were you favorite places? i have been to florence, so i wouldnt do that again. I have also stayed in positano and loved every minute of it. where did you stay in the amalfi?
    4) what was your budget if you dont mind me asking?

    Thank you soo sooso sooo much!!!I look forward to hearing from you


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