In which we went up (quite a lot) and a three hour walk turned into a nine hour walk

Yesterday was our second day in Italy and we decided to take a walk up one of the mountains here in Belagio.  We were pretty well organised and had a shed load of water with us, a packed lunch and we’d covered ourselves in sunscreen.  The scenery here is beautiful and we chose a three-hour mapped walk up through the forest to the top of one of the mountains.  The ‘up’ started like this:

IMG_1017And there was plenty more of it – it was a beautiful walk (hard work, especially when you’re a little unfit like I am) but after about an hour we were halfway and reached a great panorama where we stopped to take pictures (and get our breath back), then continued on for another couple of hours.  The Italian path markers are a little scatty and the timings are  not quite as accurate as they might be, and so it took us longer than expected to reach the top but when we finally go there, the view was worth it:

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Our original plan was to take a bus back down into Belagio but the bus stop wasn’t immediately obvious and we were feeling brave so we decided to follow the path signs (“2 hours 10” – this turned out not to be entirely true) but we lost the path, marked by red and white slashes of paint on trees and rocks along the way, so we went on a detour through the forest until we found the path again.  Along the way we stumbled through a farm which was part of the pathway and made friends with some horses.

Once we found the correct path again, we found another beautiful vista at about 900m above sea-level, then worked our way back down through the forest.  The first part was so steep (and close to the sheer drop) that I climbed down almost on my hands and knees.  We descended 600m in about an hour so that gives you an idea of how steep the path through the forest was, but it was brilliant!  It got a little bit hairy when the sun started to set and we were still amongst the trees, but we made it out while the sky was still pink and with aching knees, ankles and hips (we’re not twenty-one any more…) we headed back to the apartment, showered and strolled – quite slowly and gingerly – to the local ristorante for a delicious meal and an Italian beer.  We tried out our Italian (“grazie mille”) and discovered that the owner of the restaurant had lived in Southend for twenty-one years so his English was perfect but he helped us with our Italian pronunciation before we said our buona nottes and strolled (less gingerly this time for the beer had worked some magic) up the hill to our apartment and into bed.

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Day twenty-three of the 30 day photography challenge – patterns

I like the patterns found in nature and this one in particular appealed to me – it’s blue skies and sunshine, clouds, and aeroplane trails from the Red Arrows!  If you look carefully at the bottom right hand corner you’ll see a couple of flags from the grandstands – one of them a chequered flag and the other a Union flag (we were sitting amongst lots of other McLaren/Jenson Button/Lewis Hamilton fans that day).  If you look even closer, you’ll see that the bright white swirl in the middle of the picture is in actual fact five Red Arrows – but I just love the pattern of the clouds in this picture.  And it reminds me of English summers…

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Day nineteen of the 30 day photography challenge – something I want

I came across this picture on Pinterest (a bit of a guilty pleasure) and it struck me that this would be a really fun way of selling our fudge.  Ever since I was a little girl and I saw ‘The Lovebug’ I’ve loved old Volkswagen Beetles, and the idea of using one as a market stall really appeals to me.  I think it’s really cute.  What do you think?

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Day four of the 30 day photography challenge – something green

This weekend was a great but busy one for us – we spent both days at the Duck Pond market in Ruislip as part of the Medieval Festival (there was real jousting and everything).  The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was great and we made some new friends among the stallholders.  We also had several friends and family pop down over the weekend to see us which is always nice :)

Sunday was definitely the busier day and Simon was there with me to help out (and to get us a delicious steak sandwich from the Lomito stall for lunch).  After we’d packed everything away at the the end of the festival and collected George from his nana’s, we grabbed a bottle of wine and headed over to friends for a relaxed evening of food, drink and conversation – a very pleasant way to end a fab weekend…wine_bottle