Wednesday, December 4, 2019

It Does Take a Village

I haven't set up our village every Christmas ~ different reasons on different years.   Every year I do get the boxes out, it's a little bit different in one way or another from the years before.  The "cast of characters" really haven't changed, but they do move around ~ the village may have a different layout ~ some houses may stay packed in their boxes ~ after all it's a village and villages change.

It takes just a few hours to set things up and through those hours I find myself feeling the joy of the season.  I certainly enjoy the Christmas season and all ~ but through this village I also realize how much our family enjoys the "winter" season as well.

 ...making snowmen after a snowstorm that gives us some good ol' "sticky" snow!
 ...if snow is sparse throwing on our skates and heading off to one of the nearby ponds!
 ...having a campfire - can't say that we "read" by the campfire - but let's go with it anyway!
...and some fun filled "powder" days when we can sneak off from work and take some turns!

Joy for life is one of the greatest gifts you can give to others in so many ways 
go ahead ~ get creative!



Monday, November 18, 2019

'Tis the Season

With Fall almost behind us we all can feel Winter fast approaching are the holidays.
Folks often inquire this time of year about some ideas on gift giving.  

A pack of note cards depicting scenes as shown below could be a thoughtful gift for a friend.   Or a framed print that you know will fill that perfect spot in someone's home.  Maybe you have a "special place" you'd like photographed?  Give your gifts a personal touch and wrap them up with love!

For my adventurous friends let's wrangle up your family members and do a fun winter photo shoot.  Or you can opt for a gift certificate that can be used when the weather gets warmer!

Give me a shout and we'll chat...  



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Winding Down in Verona

We ventured back to Verona for our final night in Italy.  What an amazing ride we've had.  Each place we visited gave us a different taste of this wonderful country and her people.  

City streets were abuzz with tourists and locals going about their day.  

We walked through the streets and crossed bridges exploring this smaller likeness of Rome.

Each different vantage point gave you a peek through the buildings or trees to see a way of life that evokes a city life but also has a comfortable, laid back feel about it.

The Arena was definitely a place we wanted to see.  The 2026 Olympics will be hosted in Cortina Italy in the Dolomites.  Closing ceremonies will take place at the Verona Arena.  
 We sat there imagining the Olympians walking through the entrance following their stretch of competitions.

I do believe Jim may have found the perfect seat to watch them from.  Hmmmm ....maybe!

 Now wouldn't that be a treat!

 Considered to be "off season" there was still much to see and do along with fellow tourists.  If you're considering a trip to Italy do consider the areas we visited.  Some are a bit off the beaten "tourist" path but we found them to be delightful in every way.
 Sights, sounds, colors          .....bellisimo
 Sitting at the cafe outside of the Arena as we whittled down to our last evening.  A holiday that truly did exceed our expectations on every level.  Perhaps we've reached that point where we should be
celebrating our anniversary in style each year - rather than waiting for a big number!

Mille Grazie



Friday, November 8, 2019

Malcesine - a place to call home for a few nights

Malcesine described in one word - a gem.  For me this little town nestled on the shore of Lake Garda was a treasure.  History within in her streets flowing out to the waters edge.  Alleyways, quite steep, filled with cobble stones, arches and stunning views around each bend.

Boats running throughout the day into the evening to transport people around the lake.  Lake Garda is known as the largest lake in Italy.  For me, I see it's more about her charm - on every level you can imagine.
 I love the blend of light and shadow among her walls.  A palette I'm drawn to frequently.
 This is a bustling summer community - we arrived during her "off" season.  We could enjoy the warmth and beauty without the tourist crowds - once again a speed we are gravitate towards.
 Outdoor cafes dotted the streets - a wonderful stopping point for a little Spritz now and then!
 We stayed with the kind folks at the Hotel Dolomiti.  A charming hotel in the midst of Malcesine.  The staff we welcoming and thoughtful offering suggestions of places to see and things to do during our stay.  When asked what brought us to Malcesine I said we were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary.

 To our surprise, the next morning- October 20th, we were treated to a wonderful anniversary breakfast.  Claudia was so sweet and directed us to our table.  Champagne and cake along with their wonderful array of breakfast goodies was the perfect start to our celebration!  All the staff wished us a happy day and we were on our way....

A short cable car ride to the top of Mount Baldo.  Where you are lifted up in every sense of the word.

For some      ....thoughts go to where you're headed
For others ...perhaps where they've been
 Arriving on the top of Mount Baldo made you feel like you were on top of the world.  At least, this small slice of the world.  I couldn't have imagined a better place to celebrate with Jim.
The hiking trails were endless and many folks were out enjoying this day alongside us.
 This group flying off the back side of the mountain only to turn and
swoop down and around to the lake.  An amazing feeling I can imagine.  I was feeling like we were experiencing that same feeling - even with both feet on the ground!
 Interesting that such a short cable car ride to the top of this mountain made you feel like you went deep within the mountains.  Looking down one side you could see the expanse of Lake Garda -  then overlooking the back side you were getting a glimpse into the valleys and villages tucked here and there within the mountains.
Our lunch spot - Sweet! 

 Looking down on Malcesine just below us.  Not far from "home"  ...but certainly a day to treasure!



Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Lake Garda ~ "place of guard" or "place of observation"

As we drove the hour and a half from Ortisei to Lake Garda the route was mainly autostrada.  You felt like you were leaving the mountains through Bolzano but then quickly we were seeing the mountains start to gear back up.

Rounding the bend into Riva del Garda, the northern tip of the lake was giving us a glimpse into the next adventure of our trip.  Our destination for the next few nights was the small village of Malcesine.  Tucked onto the northeastern shore of the lake.  You can see where the lake gets her name                                     "place of guard" or "place of observation" 

Strolling through this small town would ultimately bring you to the waters edge with views that stunned your senses.  The air was warm and humid with a light breeze.  A perfect day to explore along her shores.
 Just across the lake from Malcesine was Limone sul Garda.  Yes, named for lemons!  There's a 5km bike/walking path that cantilevers above the lake with a proposed 87 mile Ciclabile di Limone sul Garda to go all the way around the lake (completed in 2021) and the Ponale Road.   This area offers a wide array of biking options from these easy paths to more challenging ones that go up and down the mountainsides.   Both offer magnificent views along the western shore of Lake Garda.

 A beautiful stroll lakeside.
Seeing many boaters, sailors and windsurfers out enjoying the water before the winter season sets in.

 "places of observation" are wonderful...

what we love most is going to places where we can jump in and explore on our own two feet or wheels!



Ebikes are the Bomb!

Our stay in Ortisei was lovely and truly exceeded our expectations.  We choose the Hotel Digon just outside of the village.  Daniel Stuflesser and his family were welcoming and charming.  We knew we picked the right place!
Daily tours offered to their guests fit right into what we were looking for to explore the area they call home.

Today was a day-long E bike tour starting from Ortisei.  We took the bus into town, rented our E bikes and were quickly on our way.  E bikes have three modes - Eco Trail and Burst.  The trails meandered up from the village and in and around the mountains.  Eco and Trail modes made for an enjoyable ride.  As you can imagine I was "rubble necking" the whole time.  I rode last in our group - that way I could sneak a stop here and there to snap a pic of our journey and quickly catch back up!

Jim was delighted that our ride took us right past the Selva downhill race course.  Hopefully we can visit this area during the winter months some day.  Seeing a World Cup race in these mountains would be pretty spectacular!
Our guide Noah from MTB School Ortisei was wonderful.  I was starting to recognize some of the signs and had a better sense of how far we had traveled.

Love the mountain "huttes" you can stop into for lunch and a beer.  The Tirler Hutte was filled with photos of days past and showed its rich history within these mountains.  Keeping up with modern times they even had E bike charging stations available for visitors.

All recharged we continued our day biking along paths, roads that offered sweeping views of the mountains and villages dotted along our route.

Winding switchbacks gave us a 360 degree view  ~  all I can say is       Wow!

A steep downhill merged onto a main road that I immediately recognized as it was just up from our hotel.  A quick ride past the Hotel Digon and we were back into town.  We returned our bikes and enjoyed a quick refreshment and walk about town before heading back for dinner.

Such a rewarding day
an invigorating day
a day of camaraderie with our fellow E bikers

Fresh Air at its finest!