Archive for the ‘Europe Trip 2009’ Category

Return To Montalcino

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

returnmontalcinonewbottlesWell,  we have come full circle. The moment we left Montalcino, we were talking of a reunion party and  you all made it happen!

What a beautiful night it was, and many hands made light work, I do appreciate the gift of not waking up to a day full of clean up.

Hearing some of your reminesence were warm tugs at my heart, and listening to Alice made me wish we had had her with us in Deruta.  But ultimately we had prayed all along that God would show us His glory and His creation in the new adventures we had,and then looking around the table, I saw that was in all of you all along.

Let’s do this again soon,

ciao,cara amici! 

p.s. check out our dear cooking teacher, AnnaLisa’s blog at  fattoriaresta.blogspotcom

As Time Goes By

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

It has been rather busy since returning to San Diego; a Pfizer convention, guests for 8 days,Steve’s dad needing him on the Fourth and him not being home, etc,  so it has just been the last couple of days that we have been unpacking, and sorting our souvenirs and small gifts.  And our memories.  They are not so easy to put back on the shelf.  Do we want to?  What do I miss the most?

What I miss is rediscovering my husband in so many little ways. In Montalcino we got to play “house”.  Shop, cook, wash dishes, and delight in the discoveries we made each day. Read books, watch movies on the computer between toastincinqueterra1us in bed on “movie night.”  No distractions, settled in, drinking wine, making new friends, being of small service, and sharing the immense sense of marvel.  Boy did we fight too! 

Trying not to fall into old patterns and roles, still hurting from failures, and sometimes thinking the only thing we had in common was the kids. Choosing to love, remembering how to love, loving from the head when the heart forgot how. Vowing to change and be different, and making progress . OK, too deep.

I loved having company come.  How honored I was to have someone come so far to share this.  And we were only too eager to share what we had found.  

Cooking Italian style, lots of Jug wine and cheese on a terrace with a million dollar view. Scarves, market day, Duomo’s, Easter week, 8 of Maggio, church bells, finding the small treasures of a small town, great ravioli, poppy fields,  crunchy underwear, shutters thrown open to greet each new day! 

And how humbled I felt that some dear people would read my frequent ranting on my travel blog and let me share this all with them from afar. Thank you.

pietaI was blown away by the faith  of Christians through the many centuries who went on crusades, spent lifetimes building Abbey’s, Cathedrals, walled-cities, who dedicated their lives to sculpting masterpiece, painting ceilings, writing music that glorified God. Sure ,there was greed and self-interest, but you could tell there were hearts who swelled with the love of their Lord to dedicate their lives to doing what they thought was His will. That faith really reached through the centuries and grabbed my heart. 

I confess my “walk” with the Lord has been a little distant of late, maybe less intimate, because of the enormity of expressions of others that make my meager efforts to serve seem so meager.  Why would the God that inspires the Pieta, want to listen to my jibber jabber ( but He does, so i’m working on this).

But WAKE UP Italy and the rest of Europe!  How sad to see the catherals locked and shut down.  Meager attendance, Easter habits, faith as an old persons’ panacea.  They are not smarter because they have put their faith on a shelf.  They are missing the Glory, the faith-dimension that is the only thing that makes this world make any sense. 

Thank you Jesus, for Father Piernino, Giovani, Miranda, Juonpaulo, the monks of St. Antimo and those who still burn brightly. We pray for revival.

So much for the rawness of 3a.m. self-examinations.

Home Again, Home again, Giggidy Gig

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

stonecherubWhat I missed while gone…hmmmmmm,

My bed, my grandbaby’s hugs, my fuzzy bathrobe, my kids, knowing my way around without a GPS, and those who couldn’t join us in Montalcino. that’s all! 

Everything else was just stuff and habit, and since we are rediscovering what and who we are without jobs, there is still a spirit of adventure lurking just below the surface!  So watch out!

Spain V. Finland

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Well, it was Spain 2 – Finland 0 in the UEFA Under 21 Championship here in Swedenfinlandfans

After the first half , Steve thought the Westmont soccer team could play pretty even.  But spain kept getting better and finlands’ forwards never got any support from their midfielders, but their goalie was awesome.  Had good tickets, the finland fans were very boisterous , and we were there 2 hours early to fight the crowds, that never happened.  But Steve was happy.  When he grows up he wants to be like Andy.  Walked home  after 11pm and it was still daylight!

Part III: Memories

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Just arrived in Goteborg.  Returned the car to Volvo.  Ships out on July 4, and should be in Irvine by your early August. Weather is  fantastic.  At the same hotel we stayed at when we arrived…SAS Radisson.  We Leave Wed. AM.

We have found that familiarity breeds contentment, making a place feel like “Home” seemed to be our comfort zone, while living on the edge was not.  So our many trips to Camp Darby in Pisa, or even the other military bases were even safe zones. Returning to Goteborg and this hotel feels good. But we have done a good job of enjoying everyday as we countdown to take off.  I would not delete a day of it, and we intend to make the most of today and tomorrow (we are headed to the Spain vs Finland soccer game in an hour).

We were to have the car until tomorrow, but the GPS came across some road construction it couldn’t understand.  Our 11 minutes to our hotel was 45+ and we were still lost.  At that point, we knew we could find Volvo, and walking would be a lot less stressful the remainder of our time. They went over the car, we signed some papers, and they taxied us into town with no expense to us. They will pick us up and take us to the airport on Wed (I like being taken care of too).

The car will be fine, safe, cleaned and it will give me some time to deal with the used car lot we currently have at home!  I was sad to leave Montalcino, but I am ready to be home, be of help to Debbie Powell and Aaron’s wedding this weekend, and get my knees looked at  (and get back in shape).

cloudsSo if I always look at something in the future as a challenge, I don’t have to look backward.  Any way , any big event is 3 parts:  planning, happening, and memories.

We are just moving on to part III.

Peppermint Twist

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

grannaSpent a delightful time on the lake enjoying the city of Granna (please realize all these swedish names have dots, dashes,hooks,and an alphabet we wouldn’t recognize).

One hundred and fifty years ago, a little widow and her daughter came to this city of well-to-do people living by a lake and experimented with what she knew best: candy. She came up with this hard taffy and added a colored and flavored stripe. A few more experiments later, and we have the peppermint stick.  I do not know who put a crick in it and called it a candy cane.  After awhile, her daughter took over the prospering business, and then the granddaughter.  The city wised up and now everyone in Granna makes Peppermint sticks (and many other flavors) I bought some of several flavors (about 6″ long).

just-made,whiskey flavored!

just-made,whiskey flavored!

They have a beautiful location on the lake, where we had a Father’s Day Dinner of really good smoked salmon (caught on the lake) and a swedish potato salad. Finished off with an ice cream cone! It was almost as good as gelato.

We are staying in Huskvarna…think power yard tools, and sewing machines.  They even own Viking. The town has a Fabric Museum–I think I’ll pass.  They have quite an industry here, but then you never know what surprise waits around the bend.

Sailing Away To Lake Vattern

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

volvoraces

Saturday morning found us checking out the waterfront in Stockholm one last time before heading to Lake Vattern and our quaint pension in Huskvarna.

Volvo is sponsoring an around-the-world sailing race (ie Americas’ Cup size ship).  It started last October in Spain, then Boston, Rio, China, Singapore,.. etc…Stockholm!  All the ships raced in on Thursday- past ,and will take off on their brief, final leg to St.Petersburg in a few days. We got to see the ships, the sponsor tents, and many in-route videos. Amazing, and we were there!

Now we are in this little town, on a lovely lake (second biggest in sweden) in this little hotel run by this cute couple (early 30’s) who met in Australia, she is Korean, but both raised in sweden. They have converted this home on main street into a 20 room inn by themselves with lots of sweat equity and talent. Glad we could be here 2 nights and get to meet them.

They steered us to a great place to eat (they called several restaurants to see if they were open with the holiday)   TwinCities Restaurant“.  This restaurant has a story too.  Twin boys born in Minneapolis in 1981, one is kidnapped by the nurse but declared dead to the mom.  They run into each other 23 years later and the nurse is sent to jail, Mom goes into a mental hospital, and the boys start restaurants in cities that are twins.  Also Dallas/Fort Worth.etc they have 12 now. weird

Mid-Summer’s Night Dreaming

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

wassamuseum

We headed out to dinner (at the “Beefeater”) after our long drive and checking into our very minimalistic Scandia Hotel room.  A couple gents at the table next to us asked us where we were from.  I guess  quisically looking at a swedish menu in a british pub gave us away. We in turn asked them what we should see in Stockholm during our brief stay. They said “Vasa Museum, Skansen Park, and check out Lake Vattern on your way to Goteborg.”

skansenmaypole

We took all of their wonderful tips and found everything to our liking!

The Vasa Museum houses a 1600’s war ship that was elaborately made for King Adolphus II, who wanted to know how powerful and rich his kingdom was, so he had this magnificent sailing ship built, carved, gilded, rigged.  He then sent for it to pick him up in Poland, where he was trying to impress his cousin (who also wanted to take over Sweden).

So, with full sail, and all the cannon windows open, off she went.  A big wind tipped her, the balast shifted, and water came in the cannon holes and she SUNK a mere 27 minutes into her maiden voyage.     She was supsequently forgotten about until 1956, when she was re-discovered.  Because of polution in the harbor, and the Baltic is less salty than the other oceans(?), she was preserved intact!  (I was really captivated by this story, but i’m getting long)   It is a must-see!

Then on to Skansen Park, whick is a williamsburg-type of place, portraying Swedish life in earlier times. But the funnest part, was the Maypole and all the folk dancing. Today is the day when girls put halos of flowers in their hair and everyone gets into the great outdoors and does a jig about it. There was skansenmusicgreat music, awesome dancers, and thousands of silly people.

This is a great place when the sun doesn’t go down!

Signs And Wonders

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I have been intrigued by the unique traffic and directional signs I have seen, and I have been saving this batch until the end.

signbumpinhead

signcircles

This one is for you ,Rob

This one is for you, Rob

This one is for Nikki

This one is for Nikki

debbie,steve and the GPS

Debbie,Steve and the GPS

Happy Father’s Day

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

K.C and Jonathan sent us this father’s day card.  I thought you would enjoy it too!

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Hope you have a high flying day! 🙂

Love,
KC and Jonathan