Documenting my love of travel, both at home and away

Posts tagged “pictures

Climb Every Mountain!

the house and just a small portion of the property I'm staying at for two weeks in tiny Prunecchio, Italy

 

Travel is the state of being homeless; we should welcome the opportunity it gives us to live nowhere. –Barbara Sjoholm

 

We now find our heroine sitting in an old farmhouse in northwestern Tuscany, complete with vineyard, swimming pool, five children, scrumptious homemade food, and a mountain view that is nothing short of stunning. This little village is so small and remote, you won’t even find it on a map, and the chance of running into tourists is about zero.

one of my lunches here (yay for a vegetarian hostess!)

 

A few days ago, I recalled a moment from last winter, when I was in Costa Rica. We had just arrived at Rancho Margot, a sustainable, education and adventure-based ranch, and as I took in the gorgeous jungle scenery for the first time, I turned to Elizabeth and said Thank you for bringing me here! And here, now, I repeated these words to myself, while mesmerized by the snowy peaks surrounding the house, while enjoying meal after wonderful meal, and while hearing this lovely Irish family describe their travels and inspiring experiences.  Such stories!  I have sat in rapture on more than one occasion after dinner, sipping wine and getting ideas for the next time I travel.

It’s been nine days so far, and there have been so many potential posts, things I’m constantly saying I need to blog about this!, and of course the Internet connection comes and goes.  So now I find myself with the dilemma of too many things to share- all about the food, for example? The best pizza ever, topped with eggplant and garlic? The amazing over-satisfying lunch we had two days ago in the village of Castiglione, waited on by the chef himself, the eight of us barely able to squeeze in to the dining room? At home: soups and pastas and Irish porridge and only the best local wine?

My hosts told me this restaurant had the best pizza in the whole region-- I think they were right.

Or perhaps I should dedicate a whole post to the rambunctious party we attended last Sunday, the food and wine seemingly in endless supply, the dancing bordering on maniacal, the guests all hilarious and welcoming.  Then there’s the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage across Spain that both Colm and Adi (husband and wife hosts) have done, both alone.  They swear that this walk is nothing short of life changing, and I’m listening wondering when and how soon I can do it myself. We have been to a ski resort, played in lots of dirt, competed against each other in Scrabble, and gone on many a hilly hike either up or down to the nearest villages.

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.   —Bill Bryson

the view from the back of the house; in the valley between two mountain ranges: the Appenines and the Apuane Alps

 

I will ponder on all these things, finish my hot chocolate, and then get back to putting compost down on the olive trees. Then I might actually get into specifics and give you guys more than just a photo-filled teaser post.  Ah, but for your loyalty, I shall bestow upon you one more picture! Did I happen to mention that while I was digging in the garden two days ago, I unexpectedly came across some old animal bones?  Not just any bones, either- some teeth that probably belonged to a wolf.  Oh so exciting!  I felt like I was back in Germany in 2005, excavating 12th century artifacts.  This is one of those times when it’s quite easy to do something new or different every day, and I’m liking it.

my big discovery while working in the garden- those teeth are as long as my pointer fingers

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.   –Alan Watts

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In Which I Do Not Write

Ack! It pains me to do this, but I am writing the shortest post ever due to lack of discipline. Can’t someone turn off the rest of the Internet while I do blog stuff?

Today, you get one picture, with the promise of much more after I finish working tomorrow.

 

Spaghetti with tuna and parmesan cheese! My first meal at the farm here in Dozza, where I am living with two parents (one English, one Italian), two cute little girls (I envy their bilingualism), two Australians (a married couple, fellow help exchangers), three dogs (mother, father, excitable puppy), a three-legged cat, two pigs (enormous), and an unspecified number of cows and goats.

Dolci Sogni/Sweet Dreams!


At Long Last, I Am Here

On the beach in Nosara, Costa Rica, December 2009

I will get the obligatory and quite cliche “Hi, world, this is my first blog” line out of the way and say first, thank you for reading this (though I imagine most of you are family members eager to hear of my safety and whereabouts)!

At long last, I am here- what does this mean? For the fourth time, I am in Europe, and for the third time, in Italy.  I believe it is the fifth time I am on an extended solo trip (certainly not a “vacation”), and it is the second time I have bought a plane ticket relatively spur-of-the-moment because I got an email about cheap flights that I  simply could not pass up.

 

capturing the bright sun in the cinque terre

sunset effects in the cinque terre on my second visit to Italy in 2005

“Here” also means finally starting a travel-related blog that I have been meaning to write for probably over a year now. After much debate, I settled on this name, partially inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of the Open Road”, and a bit borrowed from the title of an Iron and Wine song, “Lovesong of the Buzzard”. Whether or not this is actually a good title, or everyone else likes it, is neither here nor there at the moment, as I wanted to get on and just write already.  I hope to share what I learn, see and experience while traveling- at the moment in Italy- as well as provide you with interesting articles, websites and resources I find that will probably have something to do with travel, sustainable living, a combination of the two, or maybe even something else entirely.  In addition to mere words, I will try to include plenty of photos (yay! everyone likes pictures), because seeing places from each person’s point of view is really one of the most intriguing aspects of storytelling and traveling.

Lastly,  “here” refers to the place I am in internally while on the road. As my plane took off from JFK last night, I wrote in my journal, “Happy Me Time again! (I have granted myself this)” , for traveling alone is where I come alive. I feel rejuvenated, reinvigorated, and reinspired.  I am in my element- in a position of being both the audience member of the play and the one in the starring role.  Armed with my camera and my journal (and for the first time, an amazing assortment of techie gear), I am suddenly an expert at such things as navigation, geography, miming, reading foreign street signs, and striking up conversations with strangers.  Of course, I’m no expert: earlier today at the Milan Stazione Centrale (the central train station), I somewhat desperately ended up paying 3 euros for one local phone call.  This little incident ends up being one of the comical snafus that usually occur on those uncertain first days and don’t detract at all from the overall sense of, well, awesomeness! This is me, doing what I do best. I am  soaking up those feelings of competence and self-confidence, revelling in the unique perspective I get by staying with locals…and hopefully doing some interesting enough things to keep you guys interested. Happy reading! More to come quite soon!

 

Barcelona had some wonderful graffiti

words to live by in Barcelona, Spain, April 2009

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.”
–Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road