A catch up…

I realize I haven’t been a very good blogger. So I’m going to try to be better…

Right now I’m craving one of these:

And a good laugh with my sweet sister…

And this guy…who I haven’t seen in months believe it or not. So I dream of him and draw him in small caves…

Walter and I just passed our 6 month wedding anniversary and we have yet to go through our Italian honeymoon pictures. I’ll have Walter edit some of his artsier shots and put them up as soon as he does, but here are a few highlights for now…

Okay wait, just kidding…another thing I’m missing is California. I’m in a missy mood today. It’s overcast and I’m by myself with work I should really get to, but I would rather sit and miss things for a while first. Taken by the talented Walter Rowland, I give you a Monarch Butterfly…

I think I’ll be making that one into a giclee.

Oh California….

This guy lounged around with us while Cait and my mom and I flitted around gathering beautiful shells and stones to ooh and ahh at. I loved watching him itch himself. At one point Cait jumped in the ocean and his eyes opened up wide like a curious puppy when she came running out. Then he yawned and snuggled himself back into the sand.

I am amazed by the giant, magical creatures under the sea. I had been listening to the Republican debates earlier that morning and then came out to see this big guy who could care less about debates or any other nonsense. He just swims his big self around and then decided to go sleep on the shore for a while…just as pleasant and as peaceful as can be.

It makes me think about humans and how wrapped up we get in all of our questions and theories and concrete answers we decide are the truth and then I see this big guy and something is released inside of me. I love looking out at the ocean with all of its mystery and greatness. There are so many creatures living under that water that don’t give a damn about the debates. I tried to absorb his peacefulness and his lack of thoughts and concerns. He’ll lay in the sun all day because it’s warm and it feels good and that’s what he decided he wants to do. We should allow ourselves the same freedoms.

Back to Mendocino with Cait. Where I met Sojourner. Where that wonderful dream was given a chance to be real.

I have started working on a book about the ride. It’s quite a process and part of the reason why blogging on top of that is a little difficult, but as I said…I’m going to try to be better.

So…as I was saying before…less than 6 months ago we were in Italy. It was a great trip, but like most of the things Walter and I do, it was unplanned and therefore taxing at times. One afternoon we got on a train to head to a place to stay for the night. We ended up getting dropped off in a small town with our huge bags and had to walk a couple miles down a busy road to get there. And it was getting dark. Eventually it did get dark and we had no idea where the farm was we were supposed to stay at. Once we decided we had walked about the right distance, Walter left his bags with me and ran down a long driveway to knock on a random house’s door to find out where we were. The man he met spoke no English, but we had found the right place and after waiting about 15 minutes, I saw headlights coming down the driveway and we were led to our very secluded room in the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful though.

We didn’t learn from this long, painful walk. Oh no. In Sienna we found another Agriturismo on-line that was cheap and seemed nice enough. After tedious travel and a long walk up a huge, gigantic hill on a road with no shoulders, we got to the “farm”. It was actually just someone’s home and nobody was there. We had corresponded over email and everything was supposed to be all set. So we waited. And the sun began to set. After dark a man finally came walking in from the fields. Walter and I tried to get the basics of Italian down, but our communication was pretty lousy. Our fault.

After some time he was able to figure out who we were and let us into a room with a cot and no sheets. His wife would be home later and set up the room. We waited for an hour or so and by this time it was pitch dark outside and nearly 9pm. I was absolutely exhausted and didn’t want to be there. So we put on our packs and just left. We put our head lamps on and began the seriously dangerous decent down this tiny paved road with no shoulders. There were huge rock walls on either side. It was the fastest, most narrow, curvy road you could ever imagine. At one point we had to just trust a car wouldn’t come and run at our fastest speed to get past the huge rock walls. I almost fell forward from all of the weight on my back and my heart was pounding!

We did end up getting down and caught the last bus back to Sienna where we searched hopelessly for a hostel. We ended finding a place eventually that was alright, but not great by any means. We actually lucked out, though, because everything was sold out, but there was one no-show. We had to wait until 11pm to be sure the guy wasn’t going to show before we could get in. We were there at 11pm on the dot and got the room. Plan ahead, my friends. Especially on a honeymoon.

We did have some peaceful evenings, though. Lake Como had a rough start because again we didn’t have a place to stay and ended up walking up streets looking for a place to set up camp. Of course, you’re not supposed to do that and it was hard to find land that wasn’t owned.

Around 11pm we went back to the hostel in town which was sold out, but the guy at the desk got a kick out of what we were doing and said we could camp there. We ended up staying there for nearly a week. It was the best accommodations of the whole trip. The view in the morning was of the entire lake. It was quiet and perfect and we hated saying goodbye to our new friends…

If you’re travelling to Lake Como, Italy, this is the place to stay. No question. Whether you’re on a budget or not, this is still the place to stay: http://www.menaggiohostel.com/

We lived on pizza. It’s delicious and pretty much the cheapest thing you can get. When you’re in Italy for three weeks you have to spread out your money a bit. If we weren’t eating pizza we were eating fresh bread, tomatoes, and cold cheese. You know, to get a break from pizza.

Our stop in Venice was short and it was the one day on our trip when it absolutely poured. We didn’t want to spend too much in Venice because the prices are so inflated so I had Walter take pictures of shoes, jackets, and bags I liked to get design ideas. We got in trouble once. I told Walter to be discreet, but he just held the camera up and shot. I shook my head at him, he shrugged, and we got kicked out.  Anyway, I got the picture and can show you some really cool shoe brand names to check out on-line…


The “shabby chic” look….

Great look for a leather skinny belt!

Again…the mix of silk and other materials. This was really big with all of the top designers in Italy. Silk, leather, and lace. It’s a mix of romantic femininity and outdoorsy ruggedness…

Once I had my fill of fashion snagging it was off again to the great outdoors with this one…

We went to the Dolomites and decided, “Why not sleep outside on top of this massive mountain?” It was literally the most uncomfortable night either of us have ever had (and Walter has slept outside in San Francisco before…as well as in Dublin…and who knows where else…because he’s crazy). I thought it would all be worth it for the sunrise in the morning, but as the light came back in the wee hours of the next day, I saw dense fog roll in as if it were being blown out of a machine. Our sleeping bags were absolutely soaked through and it was probably about 20 degrees outside. It. Was. Torture.

Before the attempt to sleep…

Wouldn’t you want to sleep out here? It could have been amazing. It almost was. Wet, cold, and fog can really kill a good thing, though. We hobbled down those massive, great cliffs you see behind the horses before the sun was even fully up the next morning. Hungry and frozen. My legs were so wobbly! It probably wasn’t the safest descent.

So we went onto our next place which was Cinque Terre. It was beautiful, but there was a massive forest fire right next to our hotel. We had hiked in those hills only hours before it started. We had heard kids letting off fire crackers and I imagine that’s how it started. I actually notified the ticket guy at the train station about the smoke. He said, “smoke?” and went outside to see it. He then called the fire station to see if anyone had been notified, but nobody knew anything about it yet.

At first it looked like this:

I kept saying to Walter, “That doesn’t look good”. It ended up getting pretty bad and we couldn’t even get back up to the hotel from town. Other people had the same problem so we all had to take the train to the city and then catch a cab together to bring us up to the hotel from the other side. It was insane that the hotel wasn’t evacuated. Ashes were falling on us from the sky and it was uncomfortable to breathe in the smokey air.

I would imagine everyone was able to get out of their homes in time because it was fairly slow to start, but there were definitely a lot of homes and tons of vineyards lost. It was sad to watch. All of the following day planes dove into the ocean in front of our cottage to collect water to put out the die hard fires.

It’s always an adventure with this one…

(I made him give me some model shots too)

The view from our Cinque Terre cottage was incredible. There were also vineyards and olive trees slopping down below us. The days were sunny and warm. We were finally able to relax, read, and treat the trip like a honeymoon (although I’m still planning a really relaxing second honeymoon for the future; I feel like we missed out on the whole wine and dine and do nothing part). Not that I don’t prefer a little excitement, but man oh man…we were pretty achy at the end of this honeymoon.

We shall return, beautiful Italy. Next time speaking your language a little better and with a definite plan!

“Just let me grab my Linny Kenney bag!!!!!”

3 thoughts on “A catch up…”

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