Tag Archives: Italy

Matt Edwards Photography

23 Feb

As I sit in a classroom teaching 20 little prep children how to write and read, I cant help but think back to my work at Aston Martin in London, and think how much I miss it. However I am enjoying being a teacher again and am glad that I have such awesome memories of my working time in London. I have also been busy setting up my photography business – ‘Matt Edwards Photography‘. I am enjoying getting my work recognised with more and more bookings coming in. Please check out my Facebook page and ‘Like’ if you haven’t already. Likewise, if you are looking for any photographic work please contact me. My official ‘Matt Edwards Photography’ website is currently under construction so please watch this space.

2013.02.13_Country near Wagners

VEN_0453 Facebook pic


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Two Thousand Twelve

30 Dec

Can you believe it… 2013 is just a day away. It brings about reminiscing the year that was 2012, and what a great year it was. One of the best. For us, there were many personal milestones (travelling the world) and professional ones (taking the next steps in our careers back home) with lots of very special moments in between. We’re so very grateful for all that the Universe has given us this year and the promises that 2013 brings. Here are our highlights of 2012:

London Night Out

Canary Wharf Pub

{Hanging out with good mates before they jump on a plane back to Australia.}


{Spending our second wedding anniversary in Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate it.}

D&M Hens and Bucks

{Celebrating others’ milestones and friendships – there were plenty during 2012, including Derrin and Mariska’s wedding.}

Our London Home

{Our London home was so special to us during 2012 as we tried to soak up as much as we could of the city and our suburb during the last six months of the year.}

St Paul's London

London at night

Olympic medal!

{Being one of the first to run in the London Olympic Stadium.}

London Egg Hunt

{The Great London Egg Hunt and the interesting trips into streets and suburbs we hadn’t even stepped foot in.}


{Our trip to Holland in the Spring. We will never forget the ‘amazingness’ that is the tulip fields of the country. Just stunning.}

Banstead Woods

{Our trip to Banstead Woods. The first time we heard of the bluebells that pop up in these woods, we couldn’t resist making the trip to take a look for ourselves. In the shade of the dense foliage, the bluebells make for a pretty sight.}

Ministry of Sound

{Experiencing a night at the famous nightclub Ministry of Sound.}

With Mum at Harrods

With Mum in Edinburgh

{My Mum making the oh-so-long plane trip to see us in London and experiencing Scotland with her.}

Matt playing at St Andrews

{Matt experiencing a game of golf where the game itself started… St Andrews Golf Course in Scotland.}


{Seeing one of the most beautiful monasteries in the whole world, Melk Abbey in Austria.}

Chelsea Flower Show

{Visiting the famous Chelsea Flower Show.}

London Summer Days

{Soaking up the very first Summer day rays in London for the year from one of the most beautiful spots in the city – Primrose Hill.}

David Guetta

{Seeing David Guetta at Alexandria Palace – an amazing DJ and an amazing venue.}

Diamond Jubilee

{Being in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.}


{Going to Wimbledon.}

Saying goodbye to London

{Saying goodbye to friends we were leaving behind in true British style… by dressing up in the Best of British.}


Matt at Aston Martin

{More goodbyes as we say farewell to work and our amazing colleagues.}

Last day in London

Tower Bridge

{Spending our very last day in London by revisiting those sights we will miss the most. Such a sad day!}

{The amazing countries we travelled through on our trek back to Australia…}

















Noni and Gez Wedding

{… including witnessing and celebrating the wedding of Noni and Gez in the Cinque Terre.}


{… Egypt.}


{… Jordan.}


{… Dubai.}


{… and Singapore.}

Flying over Toowoomba

{Flying over Toowoomba on our flight back home.}

Sunshine Coast

{Going back to visit the place we use to call home – the Sunshine Coast.}

Family Christmas

{Spending Christmas with our family again.}


Re-living Italy (Read: Australian Times)

11 Oct

It’s been three weeks since we arrived back to Australia. We’ve had drinks with friends, hugged so many of our family, met babies and puppies, awoken to the sound of a good downpour of rain on the tin roof, laid on the beautiful beach of the Sunshine Coast yet again, had a good number of BBQ steaks, driven the car (and the scooter!) and even managed to get back on the Australian pay roll.

Looking back to our three months travelling home, it seems like a lifetime ago that we were in Italy. But luckily, I was able to re-live it by writing about it (yes, that’s what it will resort to now!) And hopefully if you are planning on travelling to Italy anytime soon, this article will help you decide the cream of the crop experiences in the good ol’ boot of Italy.

Italy at its best

10 Sep

It seems like a lifetime ago that we were in Italy. In fact, it was only 17 days ago when we left and we’ve done so much since. Italy is one of those countries that I don’t think anyone could get sick of. We did a whirlwind tour of three weeks, covering the major bits of the country. Here’s out whirlwind blog to match:

All Roads Lead to Rome
We started in Rome, arriving from Dubrovnik. We did what anyone would do when they first arrive to Italy and set out to experience the best of everything, namely espresso, pizza and gelato (like Caffe Sant’ Eustahio, pizzeria ai Marmi and San Crispino for those who want to try!) We took in all of the sites like the Trevi Fountain (one of our most favourites), the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, Capitaline Museum, the Vatican and beautiful piazza after beautiful piazza all over the city. Rome is also full of fountains spewing out water that is as chilled as if it was straight out of the fridge, the perfect way to splash your hands and feet to cool off. We also took a day trip further south of the city to Naples and Pompeii; and Rome was where we started at least one pizza or pasta dish every day (a good idea at the time!)

Beautiful Florence
Reluctantly leaving the epic city of Rome, we then took a slow train up to Florence and based ourselves there for seven days while we travelled out to the rest of Tuscany. We explored Siena, Lucca and Pisa and of course the city of Florence itself, not only on foot but also by Fiat 500 (complete with wine, olive oil tasting and delicious Tuscan food). We also got our hands stuck in and covered in flour during a pasta making course (we have recipes to test on you all back home – look out!), shopped for leather, saw David, the Uffizi and Pont Vecchio and most importantly, set our eyes on what has to be one of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere… the Tuscan countryside with its patchwork of wheat fields, olive trees and vineyards, rolling hills and medieval villages dotted in between. Oh, and one pasta or pizza dish a day… still going strong!

Bella Ragu and Ferrari’s
Next up, we dropped by the city of Bologna for a couple of nights. We were there for two things – so Matt could drive a Ferrari and so we could all sample the deliciousness that is Ragu pasta (or Bolognese) in the town where it was invented. Delicious? Yes! Fresh? Oh yes! Fulfilling? 100 percent! Dare we say it, but it was probably the most delicious Bolognese we’ve tasted (although we’ll give it a good go following our pasta making course!) While Matt spent our only full day there speeding along the highways of Maranello (a town close to Bologna and the home of Ferrari) in a Ferrari F430 Spyder at 160km, Steve and I took a leisurely bike ride at, I would say, 5km tops around the quiet city of Bologna.

Yet another train and we arrive in Venice. Ahhh Venice… what can we say about it? It’s a city you could visit again and again. It’s romantic, fun, beautiful, historic and just lovely. We spent four days wandering around the narrow pedestrian streets, over sweet little bridges that cross over canals with passing gondolas and their gondoliers crooning sweet Italian songs. It’s a place where you come to get lost – trying to work out the labyrinth of narrow streets on a map is too time consuming – and to soak up the beautiful atmosphere of Piazza San Marco, the epicentre of the ‘floating’ city. It’s a place to take your time, stop for a canal-side antipasto picnic and watch the world go by, which we did most days. And lastly, pizza or pasta a day… starting to wane… a lot!

Milan and Eloping in the Cinque Terre
The end of our time in Italy was the beginning of a very special time for two very special friends. We made a beeline for Milan, not only to shop and enjoy some much-needed down time, but to meet up with Noni and Gez. They were sorting papers for their wedding ceremony in Riomaggiore, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre, a few days later. We were there as witnesses to this very special moment in their lives.

The cliff-side villages of the Cinque Terre (literally five towns) make a perfect setting for an eloping couple. The special day arrived and after the bride and groom took their separate ways to get ready, they met at the beginning of Via dell’Amore (lovers lane), a 1km walkway along the cliffs which connects the towns of Manarola and Riomaggiore. The day was scorching, but it didn’t stop the fun as Noni and Gez said ‘I Do’ with the colourful town of Riomaggiore as a backdrop. After their Italian ceremony and photoshoot, we slowly made our way back to Manarola for swimming. A celebratory dinner that night was back in Riomaggiore at La Pie Del Ma with a five-course seafood meal that was more than mouth-watering. We were completely honoured to be part of their day and what made such a beautiful ending to our time in Europe.

Leaving Europe
A day after the wedding, we bid farewell to the newly married couple and took the long journey back to Milan and out to Malpensa Airport for the night. We had a next-day flight which would take us to Cairo, via Athens, and what would be our very last take-off out of Europe for some time. Italy had been amazing to us but it was time to inch closer to Australia. Next stop: Egypt.

Our year through the lens

29 Jan

Two thousand and eleven – what a year it has been. Mel and I have been able to see and do some amazing things that we feel very grateful to have had the chance to do. However this was the year that I took my photography to another level. Instead of simply pointing and shooting and not giving the images an extra thought, I finally decided to bite the bullet and sign up and complete an online photography course. Last year was the year I was to start ‘creating’ my images and not just capturing them. I started an online course in January and after completing this course in December, I was able to learn many new skills on how to craft great pictures. Two of the images below were taken for my course assessment, but the other 10 were selected because I really like how they are composed and know what effort was involved in creating each shot. Each photo is a representation of something we did in each month of the year and I have added a variety of images to spice things up. Please enjoy the images and feel free to make comments as I am always learning and it helps to have extra eyes look over and critique them. Bring on 2012 with a new camera and lens, so everyone and everything better look out!

Click images for larger size.

January: Wild Deer in Richmond Park, London


February: Boario Terme, Italy


March: Carwash night club, London


April: Cappadocia hot air balloon ride, Turkey


May: North Greenwich University, London

June: Santorini, Greece


July: Portraiture, Mel with lavendar, London


August: Edinburgh Tattoo, Scotland


September: London Eye looking over Houses of Parliament, London


October: Hardknott Pass, Lake District, UK


November: Constitution Arch, Hyde Park Corner, London

December: Northern Lights, Inari, Finland


The greatest driving roads in the world!

14 Jul

Well I have finally got around to writing my blog on what was one of my best trips yet, destination – Stelvio Pass, Italy.

I appologise now for the length but there is soo much to tell. This trip was something I had wanted to do ever since I saw the Top Gear episode many years ago back in Australia and when I moved to the UK, I had begun to write a wish list of things to see and do and this was on the top of my list. Not only was it visiting another country and seeing some of the most amazing scenery, but also to drive some of the most challenging and amazing roads in the world. For this adventure I was joined by Troy who I am sure enjoyed it just as much as I did.

Our journey began with a two hour flight to Milan in Italy. This is one of the many airports in Italy and was the most central to where we needed to head to start our driving journey. We landed at the airport about 10 in the morning on a Friday, and picked up our car. I had asked the car hire company for an Alfa Romeo Mito (very Italian) but unfortunately this vehicle was not available so we ended up with a turbo diesel Fiat Bravo (still Italian so all OK). Once we found our way out of the airport, which seems to always be the difficult thing with hiring cars, we headed to our first location, Monte Cervino, Matterhorn, in Italy. Matterhorn is a 4,478 metre high mountain on the boarder of Italy and Switzerland with four straight sides that face the four compass points. Mountain climbers flock to Matterhorn during summer to climb it, but this apparently can come at a cost as 500 deaths have been documented since the first climber in 1865. We were quite fortunate to capture a couple of pics of this extraordinary mountain through the clouds that were blowing through rapidly. As much as I am sure Troy would have loved to climb Matterhorn, we unfortunately didn’t, instead we sat at a pub at the bottom of the mountain in Breuil- Cervinia, one of the many ski villages surrounding Matterhorn. While we sat and enjoyed lunch it was quite surreal to be so close to the mountains and not freeze to death and also be in a ski village that had very little visitors. We could only imagine how much of a buzzing place it would be during the ski season.

After lunch we headed for our first pass, ‘Great Saint Bernard Pass’. This third highest pass in Switzerland at 2,469 meters high, it starts in Italy and ends in Switzerland. Troy had a field day on this pass and thoroughly enjoyed driving it. The roads were nice and wide with at least two lanes which allowed for some exciting driving. Along the pass we saw some amazing sights like chunks of snow blocking roads and running rivers of freezing cold blue water. The pass is steeped in history – in 1800 Napoleon’s army used the pass to enter Italy and the Great St Bernard Hospice was founded in 1049 which later became famous for its use of St. Bernard dogs in rescue operations. If the pass is not your cup of tea due to travel sickness (one of the main reasons Troy and I were taking this trip without our wives), then don’t be afraid as there is a tunnel that travels under the mountain and has done since 1964.

After taking photos of the lake at the very top we headed back down the mountain to find some accommodation. This task ended up being more frustrating as we realised that booking beforehand may have been easier and we would have been prepared for the expensive accommodation. Note to everyone: Switzerland is expensive at the best of times, let alone travelling through towns that are ski villages that house mainly chalets. After trying a few towns we eventually found a hotel in Fiesch at checked in at 10pm. After a day of driving we wanted some good tucker so we went on the hunt. Further note: during summer time the ski villages are quiet therefore less food places are open. For dinner we ate Chicken Schnitzel on a bread roll for 8 Swiss Franks – which is a lot of money. After our ‘delicious’ dinner we headed off to bed to rest up for a very big day two.

We slept in till eight and then had a lovely breakfast as part of the accommodation before hitting the road for what was a long day, but we needed to get to Bormio that night. Today we did five passes in total starting with Furkapass (2,436m high). We saw Furkapass on the map but did not intend on driving it as it was out of our way as we wanted to travel on the Nufenen Pass instead. While we were stopped in a little town where all the houses were made of timber, our eyes were distracted by an Audi car club so we thought “lets follow them as they will know where to go”. Little did we know that as we were trying to catch up to them we missed the turnoff for Nufenenpass and therefore this is how we ended up driving the Furkapass. This did add about an extra 1.5 hours driving time but was so worth it and we could never get bored of the scenery. Furkapass is not as historical as Great Saint Bernard, but it was however used for a location in the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’. When we reached the top of the pass and stopped off at a tourist shop we realised that we may be lost as we didn’t recognise any names on the signs so we then returned to our refedex to see where we were. At this time the weather had really set in and was becoming very hard to see with fog and rain so decided to turn around and head back down and look for the correct sign to point us in the right direction.

Once at the bottom of the Furkapass we saw the turn off for Nufenen and realised it was right next to where we stopped to take photos in the small town, damn Audi’s. Once on the correct road we headed onto the Nufenenpass (2,478 metres) which again was amazing to drive and the scenery just kept getting better with snowcapped Alps, the greenest grass you have ever seen and running rapids of turquoise water beside the road. The Nufenen was a pass that we Googled and was listed in the top 10 best roads in the world and to be honest, it certainly was, but to us, all these roads were amazing and were just as great as each other and this was only the third pass.

Continuing our momentum we went onto San Bernardino Pass which was yet again a great drive but at the top we had a chance to get out and stretch our legs and have a little break. San Bernardino Pass, 2,065 metres high, is still in Switzerland and at the top of the pass was a large lake, ‘Lago Moesola‘, surrounded by large polished glacial rocks. As we pulled up we could see Inukshuk’s (rock piled on top of each other) everywhere so we couldn’t help ourselves but make one as well and for it to be the tallest one too. Inukshuk translates to mean ‘stone man that points the way’ and was meant to symbolise that someone has been here before and you are heading in the right direction. Once we completed our Inukshuk and took many more photos we hit the road again heading towards Bormio passing through the Splugenpass (2,113 metres), (crossing back to Italy), Passo Dell’Aprica (1,181 metres) and Passo Di Gavia (2,621 metres).

The Passo Di Gavia was by far the most scariest of all the passes as we challenged this one on dusk, in the clouds/fog, raining quite heavily, driving on a road only wide enough for one car and the fact only a little white painted rock on the side of the road would stop us from going off the cliff. Putting all these thoughts aside, Troy happened to mention that landslides occur when it rains, which did not help me feel more comfortable to drive in (thanks Troy). Once we reached the top, the clouds has managed to dispurse a little so we could at least get a quick photo with the sign, check out the frozen lake then jump back in the car before the rain started again. Even though it was two degrees Celsius, we still got out in shorts and shirt to mark the occasion. Descending from the top of the pass entered us straight into Bormio which is where we stayed for night two, which thankfully we had booked the night before in Fiesch. Tonight we were lucky enough to catch a pizza and pasta restaurant sill open where we enjoyed some great Italian food before getting shut eye preparing ourselves for the piece de résistance the following morning.

Our final day we rose at 7am to make an early start on the Stelvio pass as the traffic can become quite busy, and well, we came all this way to have the road to ourselves haha. After breakfast we hit the road which was about 7.30ish and headed straight to Stelvio. Just as we have seen over the past two days, the scenery was very similar with giant waterfalls cascading off the cliffs, green grass and patches of snow, but this time it felt different as I was really looking forward to driving what is considered the best road in the world by Top Gear, and I believe them.

We entered the pass from a different direction then the guys in Top Gear but this did not take away the excitement and revelation of seeing the switchbacks first hand instead of on the TV. At the top of Stelvio (2,757 metres, the highest paved pass in the Eastern Alps) there was a hotel and also skiers doing cross country skiing so we got out for a walk and to check it out. We think that it had snowed a little that night as some of the cars looked to have fresh snow on their windscreens. Once we finished having a look around and getting our photo with the Stelvio Pass sign, we continued heading along the pass to which we finally reached the switchbacks of Stelvio. Looking down on the switchbacks was amazing because at first we couldn’t really see them for all the low lying cloud so we drove down one switchback which brought us out of the clouds and wala, Stelvio in all its switchback glory. I was so excited that I can only imagine my mouth was so wide open with excitement that you could pass me off as one of the clowns you put ping pong balls into the mouth at a fair. We pulled up on one of the switchbacks and got out of the car and started taking photos, to the disgruntlement of some fellow drivers coming up who thought we were blocking the road. We stopped here on the road for about 10 minutes to get photos of us with the pass before driving down the switchbacks to witness the pass from a different angle.

Located at the bottom of the main pass, there was a hotel in which we stopped and parked the car so we could get out and just admire what we had come down. We spent about 15 minutes here taking photos and watching others drive up the pass as the traffic had started to get busier, mainly with motor bikes. For those bikies out there, even I wish I could have done it on a motor bike as it would have been AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! (Sorry scoot, but you would not have been powerful enough to go up there fast). After chilling out by the pass we then had to head off and make our way back to Milan to spend our last night in Italy. We counted on the way down (Northern Side) 48 switchbacks that you need to tackle in order to get to the top of Stelvio but to drive the whole of Stelvio this involves about 60 switchbacks in total.

As it was still quite early in the morning and we had all day to get to Milan, we drove two more passes, Passo Delle Palade (1,518 metres and used in the Tour of Italy bike ride) and Passo Della Mendola (1,362 metres) on our route to Lago Di Garda, (Lake Garda). This is the largest lake in Italy and is surrounded by mountainess terrain which formed from glaciers from the last ice age. When we arrived to Lake Garda we both became quite tired so we stopped for a quick look around in a town at the top end of the lake called Nago Troble where we chilled by the beach eating our Gelatos, well trying too. The temperature was not very hot but the gelatos did seem to melt quickly and Troy in particular did suffer with this, especially his shirt and shorts. We spent one hour in Nago Troble and then began the journey back to Milan as it was still about a 2.5 hour drive but did take longer due to traffic. Once back in Milan we checked into our accommodation to get some sleep before flying out early the next morning to meet the other halves in Greece.

Sorry for the long blog, but this adventure was truly a once in a lifetime trip for me. The scenery is something you see in magazines and something that my photos cannot do justice. I would love to drive the passes and Alps for months on end because they truly are amazing and you never get bored of the sights. So in total, we did 10 passes with the lowest being 1,181 metres high and the highest being Stelvio at 2,757 metres. A truly amazing trip that I would certainly love to do again and can highly recommend to fellow car or bike enthusiasts. I have attached link to Google maps that Troy has created which shows where we went, as much as we could remember anyway.

Until the next driving story!


today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

I am the world's oyster

Photography, Aviation, Nature, Culture, Nikon, Canon, Qantas, Airlines, Emirates, Airports, A380, 747


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