let your thoughts wander

Category: Italy

Eiffel Tower, Trevi Fountain, Rialto Bridge, and Angkor Wat all shrouded in scaffolding.

Scaffolding, everywhere!

After several trips in which we have encountered the now ever familiar sight of scaffolding on some of the most popular sights around the world, we have come to the point where it no longer surprises us. My best word of advice to avoid these encounters is to do your research before booking tickets to a destination.

Landscape photograph of large metal tower in the distance with roads, fountains, and a park in the foreground.

Eiffel Tower

Having decided against traveling to Europe for our honeymoon in 2008 (due to lack of sufficient funds), we finally decided to revisit the idea and went for our fifth anniversary in 2013. Upon arriving at the Trocadero Gardens, we were welcomed by the discouraging sight of scaffolding on the Eiffel Tower. We later found out that 2014 was the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower and it was undergoing major renovations for the celebration the following year.

Large fountain sculpture with Roman style architecture and figurines covered in scaffolding.

Trevi Fountain

Luckily, we were somewhat prepared in knowing the Trevi Fountain had been under construction soon before our trip to Rome. We did not, however, expect that it would still be in such disarray over a year later. The fountain was bone dry with the walls still being reconstructed. As a consolation to visitors, they had small video screens playing video of the fountain in working order. Certainly not the experience I had hoped for and quite disappointing.

Nighttime photo of arch bridge over canal covered in scaffolding on the left side.

Rialto Bridge

One of the most iconic structures in all of Italy, upon approaching the Rialto Bridge we were welcomed by half of the bridge being visible, while the other half was covered in scaffolding and tarps with false facades to give the impression of the typical sight.

Vertical photo on the left of temple structure against blue sky and horizontal photo on the right of temple walls in the foreground with green trees and blue sky in the background.

Ankor Wat

While touring the main temple complex in Siem Reap, we again encountered our old friend. Thankfully, this time there was no major obstruction of what one would expect to see, and with the age of the temple, I understand the importance of its presence at that time.


Landscape photo with ocean on the left and lush mountainous coastline on the right.

Visiting Monterosso al Mare

As part of our June 2015 trip to Italy and Paris, Bill and I booked a couple nights in Vernazza in the Cinque Terre area of Italy. Knowing the Cinque Terre (literally translated to “five lands”) coastal villages are connected by trails, one day we set out for Monterosso al Mare to the west. Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised to find we were there during sagra dell’acciuga fritta (“festival of fried anchovy”).

Not knowing exactly what the signs said in Italian for purchasing food at the festival, we decided to stroll through the village looking for lunch options. While we did not find anything that grabbed our attention for lunch, we did stop at Pasticceria bar Laura and had a piece of one of the best pies I have ever eaten. I am not partial to pie, and typically do not order it, but the signs outside were very enticing so we decided to stop and have a taste. Chocolate and custard encased by a flaky crust – no regrets here!

Having not found lunch, we returned to the beach area and purchased what we thought were two larger pieces of fried fish and a plate of anchovies. We were surprised when we bit into the “fish” and it was actually just bread, but it was a delicious lunch nonetheless. This was the first time either of us had ever eaten anchovies, so we were unsure what to expect, but we both enjoyed them very much.

Two white plates. One with fried bread and the other with anchovies and lemon.

One of the reasons we had decided to go to Monterosso (as I call it) was that it is more of a “beach resort” area. Vernazza’s beach had been closed due to recent rock falls and the “beach” area that remained was very rocky and full of sea urchins. Bill had tried swimming and decided it wasn’t the ideal place to do so.

While Monterosso’s rocky sand beach was better, it was still not ideal. I briefly walked into the water, but chose to stay on the beach and search for sea glass the remainder of the time. After we were done at the beach, we walked over the bridge to the shops and restaurants that were closer to the water. When it started raining more than we preferred, we stopped into the train depot and opted to take the train instead of hiking back to Vernazza.

My favorite destinations

There are many places I have fallen in love with. Below are seven of the top destinations I have visited and a few highlights from each of them. (In alphabetical order because I can’t bring myself to rank them.)

Cairns, Australia

Daintree Rainforest

Fruit Bats (locally known as Flying Foxes)

Great Barrier Reef

Crocodile Hot Dog and Kangaroo Burger

YoMG Frozen Yogurt

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Salt Water Crocodile

Hammerhead Shark

Camping on an island more than 70 miles away from any other major land mass

Paris, France

Parc Monceau

The Louvre

Whistler’s Mother

The Thinker

Park Hyatt Vendome


Portland, Oregon

Food Trucks

VooDoo Donuts

Nike Headquarters

Ruby Jewel Ice Cream

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbor

Pie Face

Gelato Messina

Venice, Italy

No vehicle traffic


Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta to Go

Day trip to Burano

Vernazza, Italy

Ocean side serenity

No vehicle traffic

Day trip to Monterosso al Mare – enjoying Monterosso pie and anchovies while we were there


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