Category Archives: Travels

The Venice Hands

Nubby Twiglet | Venice Hands Support Sculpture

Venice is full of museums packed with amazing art including the Peggy Guggenheim but one of the most recognizable pieces is out in the open and impossible to miss from the vantage point of a water taxi.

Simply called Support, it is made up of two giant hands rising from the water to touch the walls of the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. The sculpture was installed in time for the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Artist Lorenzo Quinn created Support as a visual statement of the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels have been an issue in Venice for a long time, where living on the water is a way of life.

Nubby Twiglet | Venice Hands Support Sculpture

I’m finishing up a longer post about my Venice experience but this sculpture deserves a spotlight of its own as scientists predict that if more isn’t done to reverse the effects of climate change, the city could be nearly submerged by 2100. And that would be tragic.

Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

After a few weeks of traveling, it’s so good to be back! I just spent two weeks in Italy and another in Morocco and though the backup of work and jetlag has been much harder to get over than I expected, it was completely worth it to get away from the daily grind and explore.

This visit to Italy was very different for me — I spent a lot more time in museums and of course, everything the Italians do is on another level. The sheer amount of art to take in can be absolutely overwhelming. When you’re faced with hundreds of busts and oil paintings in a single museum and then, oh, there’s a Michelangelo masterpiece in the next room over, it can be a visual overload.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

I lost count of the number of museums and churches and ruins we visited over the course of those 21 days away but one piece of art stands out most in my mind: the Colossus of Constantine.

Located right inside the Capitoline Museums in Rome, I was completely awestruck by its sheer size. It looks large in photos but in person? You really wonder how such a massive piece of art was even carved.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Constantine the Great (how’s that for a title?!) was a Roman emperor and as such, it was totally normal to have a 40 foot high statue of himself carved from white marble and bronze with a brick core.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

When I saw Constantine, I wondered how he ended up in pieces. The theory is that the most valuable bronze cast portions of his body were pillaged during the Late Antiquity era. The remaining marble fragments you see here weren’t rediscovered until the late 1400s.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Even in his imperfect state, Constantine still has a massive visual impact.

I’ll Be Your Mirror: Mirage Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Doug Aitken Mirage Palm Springs

I’d seen this mysterious mirrored house popping up in magazines and on my Instagram feed and I was intrigued.

The story behind Mirage is that it was created by artist Doug Aitken to resemble a typical suburban American ranch-style home with a twist. This style of house was common along the West Coast and popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright starting in the 1920s.

Both the interior and exterior are covered in mirrored surfaces and it sits atop a hill by itself, reflecting the endless desert landscape around it. When I arrived, visitors were gathered around in every corner, taking selfies and looking through the window-free openings.

Nubby Twiglet | Doug Aitken Mirage Palm Springs

There is no ideal time to view the installation — I went right as the sun was setting and was soon enveloped in darkness as the house reflected the stars and night sky.

Perhaps the most interesting part about finding Mirage is that there is no address. It’s located at the end of a long road in what appears to be a new housing development that was never completed. To find it, you can either use the coordinates (33°50’59.6″N 116°33’57.5”W) or directions provided on the website.

Nubby Twiglet | Doug Aitken Mirage Palm Springs

The installation will be staying up through October 31st so if you’re in town, add it to your must-visit list!

Learn more about the installation on the Mirage website.

Fear and The Mountain

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

Most of us have fears lurking just beneath the surface.

Some are totally rational.

But others? Completely irrational.

One of mine is extreme heights. When I’m in an enclosed space like an elevator, in a plane or taking in the view from the top of a tall building, I’m fine. I feel safe when there are walls, windows or a guard rail. But on the occasions when there’s not? I imagine myself looking over the edge, losing my balance and falling. Forever.

Fears can hold us back from living fully and enjoying once-in-a-lifetime experiences and that’s what bothers me the most. I don’t want to miss out because fear gets in the way, only to look back and wonder “What if I’d just tried?”

A few months back in Morocco, I was faced with my worst fear, made it through and am much stronger because of it. I hope this story inspires you to do the same.

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

August in Marrakech is no joke: the temperature on this trip wavered between 105 and 110 degrees every. We awoke early for breakfast and got ready for the day ahead: our Dar Jaguar itinerary mentioned that we’d be visiting a waterfall. I got camera-ready in a long black dress, false eyelashes and gold sneaker wedges and grabbed my purse. We piled into a big van, heading towards the Ourika Waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains.

As the van pulled up an hour and a half later, I hopped out, scanning the area for the waterfall. We darted across a rickety bridge and were told by a guide that the waterfalls were a 20 minute hike away. “No big deal,” I thought.

We weaved up the side of the mountain and soon, my nerves started kicking in. After awhile, there was no visible trail as a local guide led us over large rocks. By then, I’d turned into the annoying kid in the car on family trips that you hated sitting next to:

“Are we there yet?”
“How much further do we need to go?”

It had less to do with the hike and more to do with me: I didn’t have the confidence that I’d make it based on the height we’d climbed to. Damn irrational fears!

After climbing over more rocks, we were faced with the ultimate test: a metal ladder, completely vertical, was attached to the side of a boulder. To get to the next part of the hike, I’d need to climb the rungs one by one, then hit a foothold with one foot and reach out an arm to be hoisted up. If I missed it, I’d fall 20 feet straight down. Even though the group in front of us made it up easily, I imagined the worst.

I was shaking from fear and asked the guide if we could turn back. “Once you get past the ladder, we are nearly to the waterfall and the path back down is much shorter and easier. We’re almost there.”

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

Bottom line: this was it. There was no other way to go. I eyed the rungs, looked forward and stepped carefully, slowly, intentionally. I made eye contact with the guide at the top, gracefully hopped up and looked down: I’d made it. I was fine.

Shortly after that, we made it to the waterfall. Being thousands of feet up the side of the mountain, spotting monkeys and taking in a view I could only dream of put things in perspective: if I could do this, all those little roadblocks in my day-to-day life were minuscule in comparison.

Im sure most of the people we passed on the way up viewed this expedition as just another day. For me, it was a big shake-up in the best possible way. Since my time on the mountain, I’ve had plenty of bad days at work: mis-printed files, cancelled projects, stressful deadlines, you name it. The difference is that when those things happen now, I think back to that day I unexpectedly hiked up to 8,000 feet and made it.

Nubby Twiglet | Fear and The Mountain

Fear is a funny thing. It can slowly build into a big monster and hold you back. Life doesn’t care what you’re scared of. When you least expect it, you may find yourself in circumstances where you have no choice but to overcome it. And, you will.

Once you’re on the other side, you’ll realize….it wasn’t so bad.

The payoff from that is immense.

You’ve released the invisible shackles.

And then, you can do anything.


For more Morocco posts, check out The Mini Guide To Marrakech, What I Wore in Marrakech and The Week + Links in Morocco.

Photos by Shell De Mar Photography.

Special thanks to Dar Jaguar for putting together this epic itinerary and listening to my whining on the way up. Haha.

The Mini Guide to Marrakech

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

The first time I visited Marrakech two years ago, it was a quick stop-over tacked on between flights from Rome to London. I had no pre-conceived expectations whatsoever because I knew very little about this magical Moroccan city.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

Honestly, I prefer to avoiding studying up so I can experience a new locale for the first time with fresh eyes. I did just that with Marrakech and within a day, was in love with the city. Marrakech is refreshing because it’s big on tradition and doesn’t feel overly Westernized.

The Video

There’s a wonderful feeling of immersing yourself in a new culture, language and way of life that allows you to strip away your everyday routine and experience something completely new. After just 3 days in Marrakech that first time around, Kat, Gala and I knew we had to find our way back so we worked out a custom itinerary with Lucia of Dar Jaguar that allowed us to experience everything we either missed or overlooked during the previous trip.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

I usually show up to a new city without set plans. There may be a few shops, cafes and sights on my list but overall, I tend to just wander, which can be both good and bad. This trip was the exact opposite with a set itinerary…and I highly recommend it.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

Before I share some of the things we did, if you’re thinking of visiting Marrakech, read these quick tips first.

Don’t forget to….

1. Carry cash. Only some booths in the medina accept cards and anyway, with cash you can barter more easily. The good news is that if you do run out of Dirhams, there are money exchange places and ATMs around, especially near the town square.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

2. Always barter. I am used to paying the exact price I see on an item but this is not the case at all in Marrakech! Prices are usually inflated because you’re actually expected to barter.

3. Bring comfortable shoes. Whether you’re shopping your way through the souk or hiking up the side of a mountain, comfy footwear is a must.

4. Pack modest clothing. In general, Marrakech is not the place to show a lot of skin. It’s a conservative place but also very, very hot the time of year I visited so there’s a definite balance to strike. In 105 degree weather, I didn’t wear long sleeves but I did stick to long skirts and dresses. It’s always a good idea to pack a light scarf in your bag to throw over your shoulders if you begin feeling self conscious.

5. Drink plenty of water. When traveling, it’s an easy thing to overlook while you’re excitedly exploring. At least one person in our group got heat stroke…so play it safe and lug a bottle with you.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

6. Try the local cuisine. Tagine is one of the most common meals in Marrakech and consists of a slow-cooked blend of meats and spices in one pot. The good news is, it’s pretty easy to find vegetarian versions as well.

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

7. Bring an extra suitcase. I’m totally serious. Shipping can be exorbitant and trust me, you’ll find at least 20 magical carpets and lanterns to lug home. The shopping in Marrakech is on another level so don’t even bother holding back. I bought colorful handmade leather slippers for less than $10.00 and a hand-woven wool blanket with massive pompoms for less than $40.00. There are treasures scattered across thousands of booths!

Nubby Twiglet | Mini Guide to Marrakech

8. Do a lap around the souks before making purchases. It’s easy to get caught up in a bartering session without seeing what else is out there. By then, you’ve blown your wad of Dirhams only to find something even better. Take it slow and take notes.

9. Take photos of signs. The paths inside the medina can be extremely confusing. Many don’t have signs at all. The first few times, making your way through can be really intimidating so we learned our lesson and took quick snaps at main areas to reference on our way out.

10. Find free wifi in the town square. Cell service is super expensive in Marrakech so when we were out for the day, we searched out cafes with free wifi and surprisingly, many had it. My favorite place was Nomad.

11. Watch out for scooters. The pathways throughout the medina are super narrow but that doesn’t stop mules, motor scooters and pedestrians from sharing the tiny spaces. Stay alert!

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