Sunday, April 24, 2016

Climb Every Tower!

  Yeah, I've climbed some tall stuff….

That big one in Paris...

The dome in Florence….

This beauty in Siena...

…. San Gimignano…..

Waaayyyyyy up there….
In Castiglione d'Orcia...

Rocca d'Orcia.

…..But….the one I really hoped to tackle this year was the one in Radicofani. 

  For over a decade now, we have driven roads going here or there, and I would see it. Way over there, on the very tip-top of that hill….just mocking me.

"Bet you'll never get over here and climb me….Chicken.


Well, the last laughs on you, Rocca di Radicofani!

I'm gonna climb you…and I'll like it!

Let me just say, Johnny is a trooper.
What he has to put up with….oy.

  Beautiful, clear day. Not too windy. Perfect for big views.

Gulp. What was I thinking?

Too late to turn back now.

  It's pretty basic. 
  Up, up, up…then very narrow stairwell, then you get hit with blasts of wind because you are at the tippy-top of the world!

We had it all to ourselves.

We started way down there…..

Killer views.
 I could see both Lago Trasimeno and Lago Bolsena!
Daniele told us later that night that you can see the dome of St. Peter's
on a really clear day…with binoculars.

  (A quick aside….You would never see a place like this, without fencing, ugly plastic barriers, etc. in the States….Anyone can just hop up and over, if they want. 
  Here, it is assumed you will be responsible for yourself, as well as your kiddies, pets and trash.
  Most refreshing to be treated as an actual thinking adult.)

Yes I did.
I rule.

Put this one down as DONE.
I'm ready for the next challenge, baby!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Let's Get Spontaneous!

  Now that Johnny has finished working, we have some time to go out and do 'nothing'…Fa niente.

  Yesterday, we had to pick up a couple of items for the apartment, and afterwards we just started driving around Lago Trasimeno, with no intention but to enjoy the ride.

  The day was nice, with perfect clouds and just enough warm sunshine. 
  First unexpected stop…"Campo del Sole", a sculpture garden on the banks of the lake near Tuoro.

  We had driven here once before, a few years ago, but the weather was too nasty to get out and really walk around. It's an interesting scene, and we were glad we stopped on such a nice day.
  The works are by several different contemporary artists, mostly Italian. The project was done in the 80's….
  You can read more about it here.

Very Italian.

    We relaxed with our books and an Aperol Spritz, soaking in the sunshine just enough to really feel like we were on vacation.
  Then we saw the boat coming….

  It was still early in the day, we had nothing to do until later that night, so why not take a spontaneous trip out to Isola Maggiore for lunch and a walk-about?
  This was on our 'to-do' wish list anyway…….

Love the boat ride to the islands…From Tuoro, it's only ten minutes.

The lake was so glassy!

The tiny village on Isola Maggiore.
St. Francis hung out here, naturally.

  Once off the boat, first stop was 'Da Sauro' for lunch in the lakeside garden...

Wisteria-clad entrance to the garden area at
da Sauro...

  A simple meal, shared…pasta with mushrooms and caprese salad. Washed down slowly with some good Umbrian white….certo.

We wanted something lighter than usual, as we had dinner plans later…
This was just right.

  After finishing our lunch, we sipped the last of our wine kicking back right near the lakeshore.
  Now it was time for a little hike around the island.

Paths run along the shore, then up the hill….

View from the path.

  We were in total relax mode, so we took it slow, and I enjoyed taking random photos along the way….

Local fisherman.
Love his look.

Wisteria just beginning to fade.


Old garden gate I'd never noticed before.

The banksia roses are in massive bloom  all over.

Local color.

I'm rather proud of this shot…

  Before hopping back on the boat to the 'mainland', Johnny needed to have his annual visit to the small but beautiful "Chiesa del Buon Gesù", right in the middle of town.

With only a few rows of pews,
this tiny church packs a lovely punch.

We always spend a few quiet minutes here.

Worth a peek, definitely.

  Time to get going. Fortunately, we only had to wait about half an hour for the next boat back.
  Sigh. Nice day to be spontaneous!

  Plus, I think this was the first time on the island that Mr. J wasn't working. Sweet! No boxes and bags of painting equipment to haul around. 

  Good for you, Baby.

Artist at rest.

Artist's happy mate.

Hope it wasn't the last boat ride this year…..

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Another Day, Another 'Junk' Yard

  When I was a kid, I loved…and I mean LOVED…going to the dumps with my Dad.
  What we called 'the dumps', was just the place where people would bring large amounts of trash as well as the big stuff you wanted to throw away. Refuse. 

  We had the regular trash guys that came by the house every week to pick up the normal garbage, but the dumps was for big junk, too. Construction leftovers, or garden junk, old household items like furniture and busted appliances.

  Anyway, maybe once or twice a year, always on a Saturday, Dad would load up some stuff, and I would happily join him for this exciting hour of fun.
  I got to throw bottles just to hear them break, watch the zillions of seagulls eating garbage, and best of all…see what kind of stuff people threw away.
  A treasure trove of unwanted and discarded flotsam and jetsam.
  It was heaven.

  Now…as a grown up woman (I use grown up quite loosely, as I am always about eight years old in my head... on some days twelve..), when we come across any kind of junk place, I am all over it.
  Thank god Johnny is right there with me on this. It would be a drag if he didn't get it. Poor fella. Married to a certified, dyed in the wool tomboy must have its challenges.
  Oh, and news flash…this isn't a phase. As the years go by, you just become an old lady tomboy.

  That fascinating history now aside, I can share some photos from the latest Italian junk shop we recently visited.
  We have passed by this place so many times over the years, but never stopped in. We have another place we go to every year, which is also great, but I really have wanted to explore this one.
  And so we did:


Lots of cool rusty stuff.

Really fine items I would love to put in my garden back home.
Or here…someday.

Tables and tables of the good stuff.

Johnny almost lost it when we spotted these.
His fantasy, ladders. Olive wood, hand crafted ladders.
And plenty of them.

I can think of a million ways to use all of these.

Sculpture, really.

  There were lots of rooms of stuff, too. Most were too dark to get any decent photos, but these areas, below, had windows, at least.
  I am so impressed with the tidiness and organization here.
  The dust did get to my sinuses, though.

I think you could find just about anything you could ever want here.
Well, almost….

A fine collection.

Such an odd assortment.
I loved it.

  All I know is, when we do finally live here full time, this will be one of the first places we come to, just to get weird stuff for the house and garden.
  I can't wait. Fingers crossed, this place will still be here.