Sunday, February 3, 2019

Biding Our Time

  Well, it's getting to be that time. 
  Time to head over the pond to our our little piece of heaven in Umbria. 
  There is way too much to do in the meantime, as always, and I should buckle down and get to it...but I'd really rather look at photos and dream a bit.

  Is that so wrong?
  No, no, it isn't.

  That being in mind, I'm looking at our visits from last year. Spring and Autumn. Both were a blast.

  Upon arrival in late February, we were greeted with a blanket of snow...

Our 'first morning' view from the terrace.
Um, Brrrrrrrr!

  Fortunately, the snow only lasted a couple of days, and eventually the area warmed up and got green and pretty...

Now, this is what I dream about!
Lunch with a view.

 Unfortunately, the winter took it's toll on our marble table, and it broke! We had to borrow another table from our dear landlord, Carlo, for the rest of the year.

This temporary table worked just fine.
Thanks, Carlo!

Lunch at The Nut is always a dream come true for me.

  We are having a new marble piece cut to fit the old iron base, though, and I can't wait to see the new terrace table when we finally have it in place.

  Another new addition will be a much more efficient wood burning stove. I'll miss the fireplace, which has been knocked down and removed, but we really need a warm Nut to come home to, and the new stove is going to be great.
  We loved the romance of the old fireplace, and it was a blast to cook in, but if we weren't right in front of it, we were really cold. We'll be super cozy during those brisk days now.

  We ordered wood in October, so we'll be all ready when we arrive:

Johnny will still have his work cut out for him!
Good thing he likes to chop wood.

We have lots of good, green Umbrian oil waiting for us, too. We helped with the harvest, and the trade off for our hours of work was oil, oil and oil. Oh, boy, I can't wait!

Green Gold.

Watching the olives from the trees at The Nut being turned into oil.
That was a treat to see!

There are many things I'm looking forward to, but one of my very favorites is to spend time watching sunsets at Lago Trasimeno. With a glass of good Umbrian wine, of course.
  This never gets old, man...

Isola Polvese, one of three islands on the lake.

  I'm always up for a day trip, and if we go by train, even better!
  I love looking at the train schedule. It gives me wanderlust.

Let's go, Baby!

The train is perfect for catching up on reading.
Or sleeping, like the dudes over my shoulder...

  We love being able to relax with a little treat to sip and a little something to munch...

Mid-day Proseco enjoyed in a pal's garden...

Wine with a view in Spello...

...or with a view in Montepulciano.

  If you have spent any time at all on this blog, you know I love to eat.
  I'm holding back calories now so I can enjoy double doses in Italy. I enjoy eating out as much as cooking and eating in. It's all good, and to have the time to do either is pure luxury. When we are here, in California, I'm working full time, and on my days off, we do chores, etc. We do enjoy ourselves when we can, don't get me wrong, but it's usually work, home, sleep...repeat.

  I love being able to enjoy a leisurely lunch out, especially in Umbria...

Cheesy good pasta and grilled eggplant, why yes, please!

My favorite pizza in the world.

Spring veggie risotto for Johnny, simply wonderful
stuffed pasta with tomato sauce for me. Mmmmm.

  The thing I don't usually share?
  What my reality looks like after one of these meals:

Just find me a sunny, warm spot, and I'm good.

Real good.

  I don't know if I'll get another post done before we leave, but I'd like to.
  If not, just know that there will be many more once we get there, and this year we'll be stopping in Paris for a week, so that will be big fun to blog about.

  While we wait, I'll just think about stepping onto the terrace at The Nut at the crack of dawn to enjoy the sunrise....

Ahhhh...I can already hear the birds singing.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Paris On My Mind...And In My Future

  WARNING Dear Readers:
  This is a long blog post. 
  Grab a glass or cup of something yummy, and get comfortable.

  It's been almost ten years since we've spent time in Paris...
  I'm looking back today, because we are going to spend a week there before we head to Umbria in March. We think it's time.
  It may be cold there in March, but the last time we were there it was winter...New Year's Eve of 2009-2010, and it was beyond chilly.

  It was a wonderful winter adventure. A last minute trip. A pal called with the offer of an apartment for a couple of weeks, gratis, and we jumped on this fantastic opportunity.
  Winter be damned!! It was Paris, after all!

  It was a Winter Wonderland, at least for a couple of days...

Look, Johnny!

So pretty...but Brrrrrrr!

  On that last trip to Paris, way back when, we arrived just after Christmas and stayed until mid January. People were everywhere, as the European winter holidays were in full swing...

Everyone was bundled up, including us.

  We really enjoyed seeing the decorations around town. What a treat!
  Notre-Dame was pretty day and night....

Champs-Élysées in all her holiday glory...

We didn't try, but it was big fun to watch the ice skaters.

I just loved these red trees.
Every Christmas we think about these red trees...sigh.

    It snowed just a day or two. The rest of the time it was cold...mid 20's, for the most part, but no wind or rain. We walked all over town, enjoying the sights, and most of the cafés had outdoor heaters.
  The days were really short. It got light around 8:30-9:00 in the morning, and dark by 4! The light was fantastic.

An early morning full moon...

A fantastic view from the Louvre.

Let's want to sit outside?
I didn't think so. Maybe in spring.


  I was so ready for fireworks at midnight at the Eiffel Tower on New Year's Eve, but all we got was a light show. I need to go back on Bastille Day, I think!

It was still really cool, with LOUD music.
And a million people going nuts. Big Fun!

  We fell in love with Paris a long time ago. Paris was our first trip abroad, and it stuck.
  We've been several times, but not since that winter trip in 2009/10.

  One of my favorite trips was April/May 2005...It was gorgeous.

Me, a long time ago...enjoying Paris.
Sigh. My hair was so long...

  This was way before I started my blog, or we started our annual trips to Umbria...In fact, Johnny took all the photos back then. We were both still working, so our trips were a week or two at the most. 
  We loved every minute.

  Paris in spring 2005 was pretty much a film set:


That blue! That green!

  It was beautiful. Perfect weather, gorgeous clouds and blue skies...
  These are just a collection of photos I think are nice to share, if you like Paris.

Yeah, we fantasize about renting one of these 'houseboats', too.
Doesn't every lover of Paris?

We love watching the Tour de France (on TV), especially when
they come zooming around this area!

One of Johnny's favorite art supply stores.
It's a classic...Sennelier, along the Seine.

Me, a long time ago, still enjoying Paris.

 I know the leaves won't be on the trees, and the gardens won't be at their blooming best in March, but we are used to Umbria in March, and we always have a blast. We can handle the cold.

  That being said, Johnny will sure miss these sailboats, if they aren't out...

We love walking everywhere, but also pop onto the metro when we are pooped, or heading way far out.
We want to try buses this time, too.

This would be our #1 mode of transportation, though!
Haha. I can't even imagine trying to drive in Paris.

I knew what they meant about "April in Paris" after that visit, for sure.

  Our first experience with European outdoor markets was in Paris. The colors, flavors, textures...they blew our minds. 
  Still do.

  Yeah, it's time to revisit Paris.
  I'll be having some big fun taking photos myself this time. And hey, I can't wait to see what fun we have eating. Mmmmmm!

As I sit at my work desk, trying to get my act together to prepare taxes, work schedules, pay bills... I know the big perk is just around the corner.
  Thank you, Powers That Be!