Desktop Wallpaper: October 2016 Calendar

Desktop Wallpaper: October 2016 Calendar | Sea of Atlas

It's...October tomorrow. How the heck did that happen? 

The past month has been crazy for us. Between traveling and working, we had some unexpected real life situations going on to figure out. We'll be talking about some of those changes here on the blog soon. I also want to take this time to say that we have a bunch of travel posts coming your way in the next couple months. My hope was to stay more on top of things this year so you could get recaps soon after we returned back from each trip but we've fallen a bit behind. Though I will say it isn't nearly as bad as last year when we were still posting summer travels in March—basically catching up just in time to begin our 2016 travel season. Yikes!

We've also added a few more trips into our schedule before the year ends! As if we weren't crazy enough—ha. We'll be heading to Lisbon, Portugal this month for a weekend of warm weather and wandering. Then in November we're going back to Paris to finally get up on the Eiffel Tower and also enjoy some more low key parts of the city. And, as we noted in our 2016 travel schedule, we'll take a trip to Alsace to spend time with family and get in the Christmas spirit wandering around the festive small towns and markets. Recommendations for each of these spots are very welcomed!

We're looking forward to what is ahead for us this month and the ones to follow! Hope you all are enjoying the new fresh autumn season and getting plenty of apple picking in. Sending nothing but love as usual!

Desktop Wallpaper: October 2016 Calendar | Sea of Atlas

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas

Our big summer trip was a week on the Amalfi Coast, and with the Greek Islands setting a high bar last summer, we were hoping Italy’s “coast with the most” would live up to its reputation. We flew into Naples, met up with our cab driver (thoughtfully arranged by our Airbnb host) and set off for the 90-minute drive past Vesuvius, up over the mountains at the base of the Sorrentine Peninsula and back down toward the glittering blue waters of the Mediterranean. While we typically set up home base in at least a couple of different places within a week’s trip, we opted instead to stay in Amalfi for all 8 nights. This worked out well on the Amalfi Coast as everything we wanted to see was a quick bus or ferry ride away. We did not rent a car (hence the cab ride) and, in the end, we were happy we didn’t. Transit options are aplenty, parking is scarce and expensive, and driving the busy coastal road with the plethora of unpredictable, overconfident scooter drivers darting around cars and squeezing between buses and guardrails would have been a headache! Our apartment was set a few minutes’ walk from the center of Amalfi on Via Roberto Il Guiscardo and was the perfect home base for our stay, between the balcony offering beautiful views over the water (yes, we spent many an evening there) and the calm, quiet setting.

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas
Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas

Once we dropped our bags off, we couldn’t contain our excitement to go explore! We went to Duomo di Amalfi, the town’s imposingly beautiful cathedral, to orient ourselves. As stunning as the church itself is, most impressive is what lies down below—the crypt of the apostle Andrew. From there we walked along the coast for a bit, taking in the views out on the jetties and scoping out the main beach, Marina Grande. We got to know the beach pretty well over our stay, making it a habit to go for night swims after long, hot days sightseeing and hiking. We would go to Mare di Cobalto (“Blue Beach”), one of the many private stretches of beaches in Amalfi, during the day to lay out in our chairs, dip into the water and grab quick bites to eat from the attached restaurant.

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas
Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas

Back in town, we circled Piazza Duomo (the main square) and also poked into Piazza dei Dogi, a smaller square just west from the main square. As is often the case with cities and towns blessed with beautiful squares, we found ourselves here almost every evening, usually with gelato in hand. We even grabbed our trip’s souvenir from a small paper shop right off of Piazza Duomo. Curving northward from the main square is Amalfi’s main drag, Via Lorenzo D'Amalfi, flanked on both sides by restaurants, cafes and shops. There are a handful of captivating side streets that run directly off the main road, so don’t be afraid to wander off—you may even discover the most delicious pizza on Earth (more on that in a bit…). It was our first day wandering the side streets that we met a fellow couple that are American expats living in London—and on this particular day visiting Amalfi! We have since become friends and they are now an important part of our London family. You never know who you’ll meet in your travels!

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas
Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas

Our first night in Amalfi coincided with the Euros quarter-final where Italy faced off against Germany, the winner of which would be moving on to the tournament’s penultimate games. We walked around town trying to find a good place to watch the match, settled for a bit on a small TV set up outside of a shop on the main street, but decided to go back to our apartment only 15 minutes into the game. On our way back, we heard some suspicious noises down on the beach and looked over the edge of the street to find that the town was projecting the game onto a large wall by the water and there were dozens of locals hanging out and watching! As fate would have it, we ran into our friends from earlier in the day, so we all went down to root for Italia with the home crowd. It was quite the atmosphere, with little kids running around (some of whom were kicking around soccer balls emulating their heroes), pizza deliveries by rope and basket from the beach-side street 30 feet up, and enough food and drink to feed at least twice the number of people. It was a very close match that ultimately came down to a dramatic series of penalty kicks. The crowd roared, then hushed, then jumped up, then slunk down in their chairs. Unfortunately, the game ended with everyone slunk in their chairs as Germany fired the winning kick, thus knocking Italy out. It didn’t quite go the way we, or anyone else there, wanted, but the experience was amazing nonetheless!

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas
Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas
Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas

As we do when it’s merited, we’re saving a whole paragraph at the end of the post to talk about food! We had plenty of it in Amalfi (and the rest of the Amalfi Coast which we’ll discuss in upcoming posts). We made it a habit to grab marmalade doughnuts and croissants from Panificio Apicella each morning and enjoy them on our balcony as the sun shot up from behind the mountains in the east. We also enjoyed lots of food on the beach, from raw, chilled coconut supplied by a lone man walking the beach rhythmically chanting “cocco, bella cocco!” to light sandwiches and lunch fare from Mare di Cobalto. Dinner at Ristorante L’Abside (Mama’s lasagna, tagliatelle with Bolognese, ravioli with tomato sauce, spaghetti carbonara, shrimp risotto in a lemon sauce, tiramisu—all of which we would recommend) in Piazza dei Dogi merited multiple visits and the beachside dining at Silver Moon (spaghetti Bolognese and mussels) was a nice change of pace, but nothing beat the magic of pizzeria Donna Stella. Set away from the main drag under a tangle of lemon trees, this little pizzeria served up the best pizza we’ve ever had, period. It was so good that we came back three or four times and ordered the exact same pizza every time! We are suckers for potatoes on pizza, and this was the mother of all of them: mozzarella, ham and potato. God bless us if we can ever find pizza that beats it, because it would have to be pure bliss! Finally, dessert was not spared, and as mentioned, we had quite a sampling of gelato from the various gelaterias in town. Pastries from Pasticceria Savoia and Pasticceria Pansa were very nice. We also had some of the local lemon almond candies and lemon chocolate (more lemon-flavored food to come in future posts!) which were both delicious (though Rico liked the almond candies more than Britt…).

Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas
Italy's Amalfi Coast: Part 01, Amalfi | Sea of Atlas

As beautiful and packed with sights and experiences as Amalfi was, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more from Atrani, Cetara, Sorrento, Positano, Ravello and Capri!

London Design Festival 2016

London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas

Over the past week, London has been taken over by amazing design. Scattered around the city were beautiful works to visit, take in, enjoy, and reflect on. The London Design Festival had us trekking around on the final days to soak up as much as we good with the limited amount of time we had to enjoy it with how crazy life has been lately. While we didn't make it to everything, we were able to see some wonderfully inspirational pieces on a perfectly sunny weekend.

The festival brings in designers, architects, and creative thinkers from all over the country. London comes to life with design and shows just how much of a center it is for creativity. The one installation I knew I needed to see was The Smile by Architect Alison Brooks, one of the festival's Landmark Projects. The structure, made entirely of tulipwood, is shaped exactly how the name suggests—a smile—with it's edges curving up toward the sky. Inside the light floods through the openings at either end and through the holes carved out along the longer sides. By looking at it, you would think that it would rock back and forth like a rocking chair but one of the most amazing things—the structure was built to stay solid and still as the people inside enjoy walk back and forth between its opening edges.

London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas
London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas
London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas
London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas

After visiting The Smile at The Chelsea College of Arts, we took a long stroll through Pimilco and Belgravia to end up in South Kensington at the Victoria and Albert Museum. While there were some sections of the London Design Festival in the V&A that you had to buy tickets for, there was plenty to see once you got inside with the free admission into the museum (woo!). 

While the Elytra Filament Pavilion was not technically a part of the LDF, we hadn't made our way to the V&A in quite some time so we were sure to get to the museum's beautiful John Madejski Garden to see the installation up close. Created by a team of architects and engineers, the structure is "inspired by a lightweight construction principle found in nature, the filament structures of the shells of flying beetles known as elytra." From an art and design perspective, its contrast to the red brick walls is what drew me to the piece itself. It was interesting to see it close up and see the work and details that went into creating such a structure.

London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas
London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas

As we moved back inside to the museum, we wove our way through the halls and rooms to make sure we got to each check point on the LDF map. Rather than creating a space for the LDF to call home, the V&A incorporated most of the LDF (minus the paid ticketed exhibits) into its current rooms creating interesting juxtapositions throughout—a smart tactic to bring in temporary pieces and allow visitors to see more of the museum. There was definitely plenty to see and take in. It felt good to be back in the lovely V&A.

Here are some my favorites we saw while mazing through the V&A:

After tiring ourselves out covering all 6 floors of the V&A (we are apparently crazy), we hopped on the tube to head home to kick our feet up for a little. Later on we were meeting friends at Dishoom in Kings Cross (so good!!) to refuel on energy so we knew that would be a good time to also check out just a few more LDF spots and one of my must-sees, the Cubitt House by Oktra

London Design Festival 2016 | Sea of Atlas

Overall it was a great (okay—maybe a little exhausting) day hopping around to see as much as we could of the London Design Festival. We're sad it was only around for so long but as it always is in London, there's plenty of other exciting things to do and more always making its way to the city!

Hope each of you had a lovely weekend!