Categories Italy Travel Junkie Diary of

Lea Heshme

Sunday, October 6, 2013
Lea HeshmeLike0

Destination  Italy

I’ve been to Italy twice already and fell in love with its charm, people, food, wine, landscape, diversity, history, and nature… I can go on forever!

This September I decided to explore a new side of it and go on a road trip for our honeymoon. We started with the Amalfi coast; Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Capri, went to Napoli then moved to Tuscany and stayed in a magical small village called Cortona and ended it in Florence (my favorite city on earth!) It was perfect!

Stayed at  Villa Di Piazzano in Cortona

The hotel is amazing! So charming and welcoming! It’s an old, typical Tuscan villa renovated a couple of years ago. The gardens, landscape and scenery are unbelievable. You’d think it’s fake or painted! The food there is incredible! You can even ask for your private cooking class with the chef Gabriella.

Cortona is well known for its wine, you’ll find yourself surrounded by endless hills of vines and authentic wineries. The best one to visit is Avignonesi, they have the best red wine in the region. Their passion for wine makes the tour and tasting really special

Month  September

In your suitcase 

If you’re on a road trip, don’t take suitcases and heavy luggage, it’s too tiring… make sure to take a big backpack with:

1)     Winter sweater / jacket

2)     Umbrella

3)     Hat

4)     Camera – go analog 😉

5)     Walking shoes

6)      Swimsuit

Dined at My favorite restaurant is a tiny place in Florence called La Prosciutteria. It’s like nothing you’ve ever imagined, since it’s neither a restaurant nor a café… it’s a small space where a family or wine, cheese and charcuterie makers serve you fresh and homemade products. You can even buy anything you like from there.

We ordered their specialty, the wood platter: they’ll serve you more than 7 kinds of charcuterie and cheeses with sun dried tomatoes and a basket of bread. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a table to share with someone, if not, like plenty of others, you can enjoy your delicious meal with a bottle of homemade wine on the pavements of beautiful Florence, which makes the experience even nicer!

Shopped If you’re into vintage stuff, wallpapers, letters, letterpress, old movies, newspapers etc.… you’ll love UB . It’s pretty hidden you won’t find it unless you’re looking for it, a friend of ours recommended it and thank God he did!

Diary The best thing we did in Cortona was taking a private cooking class with Gabriella the chef of Villa Di Piazzano. Waaaww! If you happen to be there don’t miss it! 1st of all she loves our food, and us Lebanese, she has friends who live here in Beirut. The class starts around 11 in the cutest little rustic kitchen, in the backyard of the hotel. Gabriella begins by telling us about herself, what she loves and her passion for food in general… once we got to know each other, we went to her private garden where she plants everything she needs to cook, it’s like we visited the vegetables heaven! You’ll find huge zucchini flowers, rosemary, basil, tomatoes, eggplants etc.… the perfect fresh and organic ingredients to cook anything you like. Around a bottle of red wine and the perfect aged Pecorino cheese, we began learning her grandma’s tips… don’t underestimate the power of grandmas, the outcome was mouthwatering! We cooked a 5-course meal:
Traditional bruschetta, grilled eggplants with fresh ricotta, porcini risotto, pork tenderloin with lemon and orange and finally the famous Italian biscotti…

So basically Cortona is all about superb food and wine!

The main character of Cortona is its medieval architecture; a walk in the Piazza Garibaldi is a must where you’ll enjoy Tuscany’s charming tiny roads, houses and churches.

You can even visit the villa Bramasole built in the 1500’s where the movie Under the Tuscan sun was filmed.

Tips Enjoy every random encounter! These are the funniest and most memorable moments of the trip. A road trip requires a lot of efforts, walking, trains etc.… if you’re looking for a relaxing trip, it’s better you go to 1 or 2 regions to avoid all that fuss especially that trains in Italy aren’t always on time *cough*.

I loved the difference between the people of the south and the north, they’re different, their food is different and even the scenery is. I loved experiencing both sides in 1 trip.

They also love honeymooners so if you’re planning yours there you’re in for nice treats!

Mode of travel We flew Lufthansa to get to Italy and took internal trains to go from 1 region to another.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 6 photo 7 photo 8 

Travel Junkie Diary

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  • It isn’t always easy for me to get those moments shots. Most of the times, I take a million pictures before getting to the right one. If you flip through them, you can get an idea on how I really looked like before looking like this photo here. Just almost like I have it all together. 
Don’t forget @rsainsuranceuae is still running a competition to give a lucky winner Dhs 20,000 for your dream vacation anywhere in the world! All you have to do is upload your photo fail and #rsatravelphotofails to your image and you could win your dream vacation 😊
  • Initially, I wanted to keep this picture for Christmas... but I’m not the most patient person. 
I had asked @dennisstever to help me out with an image I had in my mind. 
After couple of attempted shots, it wasn’t working out the way I imagined it would.
So we just gave up. 
I remember walking deeper in the forest then heard him scream from far: “Michelle, don’t move!” I paused and stood still. 
And he took the shot. 
What you can’t see, is that right behind me was a 6 meter drop to the frozen white lake, snow falling heavily and my heart beating a million beats per second and I was freezing!
I didn’t want to move, breathe or leave. The view from here was incredible. I tossed my baloon up in the air, and waited for it to slowly fall back to me. 
Travel and photography, always an incredible beautiful surprise and adventure. 
Thank you @dennisstever for the photo and for allowing me to put my camera down in subzero temperatures... even for a little while 💫
  • On the other side, is the best version of yourself you could possibly be. Now close your eyes and let go of everything else... only then will you understand 💫
  • I’m not incomplete. I've learnt to fill my own inner void; But I need to keep being inspired and deeply moved to continue forward. 
Our trips are a reflection of who we are. 
The people on TJD trips are a reflection on the energy we attract. Falling in love with their souls, their strength and the small gestures they do to make you feel so important in their lives. And I’ve felt it. 
When I leave a place like Finland, where I find magic, freedom and peace... my strength is put to test, my balance and my willingness to endure. Because, as someone who is always searching for balance, I find it there. Breaking my own limits, outgrowing myself to live the best way I possibly can, and not the life others expect of me. 💫❄️ #TravelwithTJD @ourfinland
  • {Here is how you can win your dream trip worth 20,000 dhs! Anywhere in the world} link in bio
It’s no secret that I, like almost everyone else, have to take a couple of extra (a thousand) shots before getting the right one. But the most difficult ones to take, are the ones with Chloè! 
I cannot get her to stay still!! This was taken 2 years ago unedited. You can see I was desperately trying to keep her still for the shot until she caved in! 
I’m posting this because I’m happy to announce my partnership with @rsainsuranceuae with our second season campaign after the success of the first award winning campaign: ‘The Unluckiest Traveler’ 
Today we launch #rsatravelphotofails - We want you to upload your worst travel photo fail, (because not everyone gets that perfect travel photo) and the winner will get a chance to win their dream vacation!!
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  • I have so much respect for the emotionally brave. The ones who put in the emotional work and take the real risks of being vulnerable and removing masks. It's easy to make chitchat, but it's hard to speak about what's really under the surface. It's easy to joke, but difficult to cry. It's easy to numb, but hard to feel. That’s what keeps me going with @travelwithtjd and the people I meet along the way. That’s who they are and I love them for it. My love to @dennisstever for taking this photo of me, even when we both knew the ice on the lake was super thin but we braved our way through it. 😊 #TravelwithTJD
  • I can’t find words to describe how I feel being back here in Finland. It’s no secret how much I love this place and how many times I keep coming back. We kicked off our @travelwithtjd trips starting right here and making new friends and sharing some great moments ♥️
  • If you think you’re having a bad day, just remember, there are people that have their ex’s name tattooed on their body... Happy Wednesday! ♥️🤷🏼‍♀️
  • Do you often have picnics?? I found this picnic basket in a store last weekend and, although I don’t do a lot of picnics in Dubai, I bought it, and decided to use it for this photo shoot and get inspired by Italy with the @theitalianwayuae project that I’m so happy to be part of once again this season! Where is your favorite place for picnics??#theitalianway
  • A beautiful day in Dubai with a little too much ice cream! I spent my last weekend with friends & family on the beach before flying back to one of my favorite place on earth to witness the polar nights!! Can you guess where I’m flying back to?
  • I had my doubts when I posted on my stories yesterday on how long many of you here were following my journey. 
The response I had was so far beyond my expectations. 
I got a little emotional when I found out that almost 80 percent of you are here from the very start, 6 years ago!
Your messages this past 24 hours left me overwhelmed with feelings. There are no words, that’s why it took me all day trying to write a caption, and I still came up with nothing’s close to how I’m feeling. 
Everyone I’ve interacted in my life has brought out a side of me, the ones who stuck, where the ones who brought out the beautiful parts of me. 
So, if you’re new or if you’re old here... all I can say is thank you for following my journey, my ups and downs and my job...but most of all, for trusting me and what I believe in.💕
  • Over the weekend I thought a lot about ‘purpose vs goals in life’ and ‘happiness’.
Do we define happiness by reaching our purpose in life or by reaching our goals? 
Either way, I think a lot of us put pressure on the word ‘purpose’ and ‘goals’ in life and forget the simplicity of being just happy. 
In reality, we don’t always get fully to where we want to be, because we always find ourselves wanting more of everything... Personally I know I want to be happy in every decision I make, in my personal and business life and it goes far beyond having body goals or couple goals. 
There are days that life beats me down, and days I feel I’m on top of the world. 
But my purpose?? I don’t know yet, and I may never know.... But that doesn’t matter, because I’m still trying to make every single day count. 
So what is more important to you? Goals, a purpose or simply reaching happiness regardless??