Year: 2016

Pamplona: City of Bulls and Fortifications

Pamplona is the capital of Navarre, a province in northern Spain just 82 km from San Sebastian, and the city where Sanfermines is held each year. The eight day festival celebrates some of Spain’s most popular traditions, most notably el encierro, or the running of the bulls. More than a million people visit Pamplona during Sanfermines making it the biggest festival in Spain.

La Ville De Lumiere – Paris, Part 2

MUSÉE DU LOUVRE The Louvre Palace was built around 1190 as a fortress by King Philippe Auguste’s engineers to protect Paris from invaders. The Louvre remained a fortress until the reign of François I, when the King wanted to regain control of the capital and decided to make the Louvre his main residence. The Louvre underwent extensive renovations during the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XI; however, the later moved to Versailles and the Louvre was abandoned for nearly a century. By the late 1800s, the Louvre had become a site dedicated to arts and sciences, and during the French Revolution, officially opened as a museum to the public. World-famously known for its glass pyramid, this was the latest addition designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei in 1989. My day began early – I would be visiting the Louvre by myself (as many people recommended). I bought tickets online the night before, which made my waiting time a quarter of everyone else’s. Map and camera in hand, I was ready for my adventure through …

La Ville De Lumiere – Paris, Part 1

I had dreamed of visiting Paris since I was a little girl. Movies, TV shows, novels, and even non-fiction textbooks read in high school had filled my mind with images of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Paris is a long (and expensive) way from Panama City; it took me exactly twenty-two years to find myself strolling through the romantic streets of the city of lights, and I felt completely enamored with the culture, architecture, and gastronomy of this place. One of my best friends studies in Paris, and I stayed six fantastic-yet-short days with her. Helena lives in the most charming apartment in the 6th arrondisement. Down her street, Rue Mazarine, is the world famous École des Beaux-Arts de Paris (National School of Fine Arts). A quick twelve-minute walk across the Seine, and you’re at the Louvre. From her living room window, you can see the tip of the Eiffel. I WAS IN HEAVEN. There is truly just something about Paris. From Helena’s window, the chimney pots that adorn the …

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa is a 13th century inspired Italian castle located in Calistoga, California. It was an awfully cold morning when my family and I pulled up at the magnificent 30 acre vineyard, after a twenty minute drive from our hotel in downtown Napa. Once inside, we signed up for the guided tour and premium wine tasting which was lead by a nice, young man – Tomaso, who spoke enthusiastically for more than two hours with his thick Italian accent. Tomaso began by giving us some historical facts of Castello di Amorosa, most specifically, of its owner Dario Sattui. Sattui grew up in San Francisco, and is the grandson of wine pioneer Vittorio Sattui. Dario was fascinated by the wine making process and purchased over a hundred acres of land in Calistoga over 25 years ago. He had a vision of creating a beautiful Italian-inspired winery. Today, Castello di Amorosa is an architect’s dream and can even be booked for weddings and other events. It’s hard for me to imagine a more dreamlike wedding location! …