a mothers and daughters' trip to remember

Surreal sums up a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip that me, a longtime close friend, and one daughter each, embarked on in the early summer days to France and Italy. A total of 18 travel days to Paris, Nice, Florence and Rome. None of us could have asked for better travel companions outside of family. Robin was our fashion and shopping guide, while Anne Lois and I translated menus and maps. We all pushed through language barriers together. I’d do it all over again (but would pack even lighter)- and now dream that there will be a next time.

A few highlights: a shopping day in the Marais in Paris with an airbnb hired stylist, top of Eiffel Tower sunset with champagne, a return to our Travel School Project apartment in Nice, taking Robin grocery shopping with a rolling cart in Nice, eating Indian food in France, Elizabeth and Anne Lois getting sunburned on the pebbled mediterranean beach, a train ride to Florence and then pulling rolling suitcases over the cobblestones to our apartment, frequenting Artiganale daily for coffees and G&Ts, eating street sandwiches on the curb with pigeons, waiting to see David, getting car sick on the roads through Tuscany, meeting up with Carla in Rome for guided tours, a group sunset and dinner bike ride through Rome and throwing coins over our shoulders into the Trevi fountain!

As a photographer, one can feel naked without a camera. Of course, I packed my “big girl” camera, but quickly realized that I didn’t want to carry it around all day. I had already traveled to our places multiple times before and this time, it was time to just soak up friendship, laughter and adventure. I did overuse my iPhone camera which worked like a champ. We now have beautiful coffee table photo books to recall the trip. A mothers and daughters’ trip to always remember.

solitude in the pitcher plant bog- Weeks Bay, Fairhope Photographer

For some time now, I've been wanting to take a fairly quick trip to a local pitcher plant bog. This is a state protected wetland preserve that is home to an usual and fragile environment of rare and diverse flowering plants. Most specimens located here, including the pitcher plant, are carnivorous- they capture and eat their nutrients. They bloom in late spring and summer. I was only finding small early patches of their blooms in the red variety. There are several varieties of the pitcher plants here, but even more varieties of orchids that come out in the summer. My walk was so peaceful. Birds, butterflies, a lizard and the refreshing cold blowing western wind hosted me for almost 2 hours. I definitely feel the need to visit again and perhaps the next time I'll see even more blooms and rare plants in action in their habit that has been protected for our enjoyment.