Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A virtual Boxing Day Walk

Due to heavy snow we were unable to reach the local ski slopes for our traditional Boxing Day walk, and considering that the fourth member of the band was in England, (grandma) I thought it might be nice to meet up here virtually all the same.

Ventasso ski slopes

Three generations.

Lake Calamone

Playing silly b--------s!

Happy New Year!

Monday, 22 December 2008

A night time stroll

NO snow but a decisive nip in the air as we returned to Bazzano to visit the cribs. 88 houses in the village have set up a nativity scene in their garden. We only managed to see half but had great fun tracking down the little lights. Some were very imaginative, like this one winding its way up a tree trunk.

This one carved out of a Parmesan cheese by the
local dairy.

Spot a couple of extras in this life size one!

A sweet one in a demijohn.
Happy Christmas to ALL my readers ???!!!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Meandering in Merano

Lots of lovely snow, by day.........

....and by night.

The reason. (thanks for cake GP)

The Band !

Monday, 1 December 2008

Mad on Mittens

The weather's gone wild...
From this

To this

So I haven't been walking...

I've been making mittens!

Friday, 28 November 2008

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas....

But these drivers probably aren't!
I wasn't the only one walking in the Apennines this morning.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Rugby in the Apennines/Campotrera

As I'm about to hit 50 very shortly I'm looking out for new experiences!
And this was a double first
-entering a football stadium
-watching a game of Rugby (Italy v Pacific Islanders).
I must say I enjoyed it and worked out team colours and what direction the ball should be moving all on my own.
Mind you Italians seem too clean, chic and cool to wallow in the mud or knock down several pints of triple x . By the way we lost.

After whipping not 1, nor 2 but 3 copies of the freebie DVD handed out at the presntation of the opening of the new Campotrera nature reserve I thought I'd better join in the organised walk. Temperatures were beginning to plummet but I took the oportunity to brush up my geology.
You can learn more on

I then decided to visit the tower on my own, it was a bit scary climbing up fortunately I bumped into a couple of lost souls who, as chance would have it, were Brits.

After a bit of a chinwag they drove me home as it had got quite cold and dark.

If you happen to be reading this Mark and whoops can't remember, leave me a comment, I've got some baked beans in the larder.

The photo is dedicated to my darling daughter - she knows why, Love you......

Monday, 17 November 2008

A good time had by all!

Despite rather confused directions from Mario we all met up near San Polo for a Sunday lunch. Highly recommended traditional menu: porky scratchings, gnocco, which we all decided was untranslateable but very moreish, cured meats, walnut, curd cheese and beet tortelli, roast pork and selection of homemade cakes, all washed down with Lambrusco and walnut liqueur, at a very reasonable price.

Where's Carlo?

Have done my homework as promised.
Pieve di San Polo/Caviliano/Caviano

Check out La Pieve di Caviliano on google immagine. It's on http://www.itgsecchi.it/for full description in ITALIAN complete with music. (enter archivio, poi pellegrini poi presentazione poi indici poi pieve....)

Whilst Giorgio and other keen English students might prefer the English verion at


An evocative shot of Giorgio walking off all that salami!

Thanks for organising it all Francesca.
A presto Susan!!!!!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Saint Martin's Day

I rather like this picture it’s the sort of drawing that my friend Fiona might do!!! San Martino is in fact best known for the story of his, de rigueur red, cloak. On a cold and rainy 11th November, Martino was out riding when he came across an old man on the road who was stumbling along and suffering from the freezing cold. Martino wanted to help the man, but had no money or cover to offer him. So he took out his sword, cut his cloak in half, and then offered half to the man. He then rode on with his heart full of joy. The weather then improved, and through a break in the clouds sunshine appeared. That night Martino dreamed that Jesus, with his cloak in hand, thanked him for his compassionate gesture. Today, the warm days of November are still referred to as the "summer of San Martino". (I think today’s temp was about average for this time of year). The day also marked the end of the agricultural year and farm labourers often had to move on and find a new home. People moving house often use the expression “do a Saint Martin” !!!! Rough translation!!!!!

Leaving my husband busy pruning, he does tend to exagerate (as his mother in law well knows!) but it keeps him happy. I set off from Guardasone - only the tower remains of the castle built back in 1300 - set above San Polo where the Torrente Enza enters the Apennines. Last week we did upper Enza, this is the middle course of the river, the Parma side.

A rather sticky start but some views over to Ciano on the Reggio Emilia bank, with castles of Rossena and Canossa, even my village looks picturesque from up here!

The ridge leads to Bazzano. The only village around which doesn't have a church dedicated to San Martino (and associated fair day) in fact it was very quiet. Check out http://43020bazzano.it/ click the Englsih version then TO SEE there are some lovely panoramas espescailly of the castles in winter.

The Christmas Cribs entry is also fun, apparently the village has a competition to see who can set up the best nativity scene in their garden, last year they had 60. I shall return for 13th December to see what they have to offer this year.

Then back to Enza. Here is the bridge down below and the church of Roncaglio on the horizon.

A bit of a hiccup as there was no mobile reception so had to walk down the main road till found a place where could
phone Victor to come and collect me.
PS Set off to a fine start with my Christmas shopping in Parma on Friday - this is Parma torrent in the centre of the city.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

The Valley of the Knights

Next year's Woolly!
After having enough of woods three weeks ago, and a rather wet week we decided to do the next step of 'Sentiero dei Ducati' by road.

The walk took us through part of The Valley of the Knights - for those of you not in the know, an area trapped between the Enza and Cedro, Reggio Emilia and Parma.
Others, like Carlo, might just call it a good fishing area.
Bridge over Enza
We walked down from Taviano to Selvanizza, where I had expected a bridge and river and, to my dismay, found 2 bridges and 2 rivers. But my map of strictly Reggio being utterly useless, put my trust in the road signs and made our way up ominously sounding Valcieca ( blind valley) to Vaestano over the bridge to Camporella and back to car.
3 and a half hours in all, including coffee at bridge and sharing picnic with cat at Vaestano. Weather not bad.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Happy Birthday Federica!

We won't even mention walking today! But I did manage to finish a yellow cardi in time for my neice's Fede's 1st birthday. And to be honest, sitting down to a good lunch - cooked by someone else - is the next best way to pass a Sunday.
Not sure about the jumper. I adore yellow punctually buy some at the start of each season only to get home and have doubts about whether it really suits me. So this time I craftily added the crochet trim to take my mind off the sheer yellowness of the rest of the project. By the way I know I don't talk much about the wool part of this blog but I found another dedicated site called Ravelry which I follow.
Wonderful news!!! The girls are coming out for my Big Birthday in December, all I need now is Pierce Brosnan to jump out of the cake and everything will be just perfect.
And to tie in with the walking theme, this is the site of the Sentiero Ducati where we've been exploring recently. Next weekend is a bank holiday weekend so hope to get in a good walk although they're forcasting rain. http://reggioemiliaturismo.provincia.re.it/Eng/page.asp?IDCategoria=792&IDSezione=5357

Monday, 20 October 2008

Down by the riverside

Am going through one of those periods when there isn't time to do anything....
So this week's walk was really just an excuse for a breath of fresh air after a whole weekend at the computer.

Had intended to cross over the river but it must have been raining somewhere as there was water for the first time in several months. Not in the mood for building stepping stones.

One last look before wending homewards.

Looks like walks are going to be few and far between for a bit...

This week's cat hasn't got a name because we AREN'T going to keep her!! She's off to the petshop next week.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Lost in the woods

Picked up the walk from Gottano Sopra, see two weeks back. Glorious day and glorious colours. But although they apprently looked very inviting, these trees were a nightmare. The path optimistically described by Victor as 'rather casual!' (Avoid sentiero 680!!) soon petered out and what with fallen trunks, landslides and gullies to be crossed - in my case on bum, hands and knees - it took us almost twice the hour and half given on sign post to reach Temporia. Here a nice lady took pity on us and offered us some wine to go with our rolls but Vicotr said NO!! Why wasn't I quicker?
But still amazingly talking to each other we continued uphill to Cereggio. This is view from M. Alto 711 m. Back along ridge between torrent Enza and Lonza to car.
Victor couldn't resist a bit of birdwatching!!
The perfect place to knit a few rows. Aesthetes will note that the wool is a nice choc brown and perfectly in tint with the season. In fact have already done front and back and results seem very promising.
More next week...Sue

Monday, 6 October 2008

Wandering around. M.Pezzola

This Sunday set off on my third attempt to discover the path around M.Pezzola above S.Polo and yet again got lost coming down. But the afternoon was not wasted, still sunny although now starting to layer up with sweatshirts.
Mother Nature can't seem to decide on the season although this tree obviously thinks its Autumn.

But what are these doing north of Florence?

Mog of the week is Killer- not living up to his name.
PS All girls at heart, knocking 50 like me, SHOULD go and see Mamma Mia, preferably on a girl's night out. Meryl Streep is a breath of fresh air, still dancing at her age (no signs of aching joints) with Pierce chasing after her. So inspiring!
check out the trailer on www.mammamiamovie.com/

Sunday, 5 October 2008

We were there!

Khalilov wins in Italy
Ukrainian Mykhaylo Khalilov won the fourth edition of the Memorial Cimurri / Gran Premio Bioera, which started in Cavriago and finished in Reggio Emilia in Italy.
After launching an attack in the final kilometer, the 33 year-old Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce racer won by one second in front of a charging group of eleven riders. In a sprint behind Khalilov, former Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) took second and Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Ballan) finished third.
The race was started by a special guest, the newly retired two-time World Champion and 2004 Olympic Games gold medallist Paolo Bettini.
After a fast start in the first 10 kilometers, a group of five escaped, including Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre), Vladimir Duma (Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Showers), Walter Proc (LPR - Ballan), Daniele Contrin (Tinkoff - Credit Systems) And Fabrice Piedmont (NGC Medical - OTC Industria Porte).
The five earned a maximum advantage of 6'57" by kilometer 33, but the group was caught with about 48km to go as the sixteen teams in the race decided to take command.

Monday, 29 September 2008

From Sole to Gottano Sopra and back again

I'm afraid I don't usually take much notice of the news but a couple of items rather dampened the start to a rather sunny Sunday morning; the death of one of cinema's greats, Paul Newman. And (twice world champion) Bettini's dramatic declaration to quit cycling after the World Race Championship. Why are sportsmen, especailly Male Italian Cyclists so drammatic! - and will it last?

Victor walks one week, with me and stays at home the next. This was a walking week and so he drove us to the bridge over the Lonza Torrent at Vetto where we picked up the fourth stage of the S.D. It was the first day of the hunting season as we set off to the sound of (hopefully distant) guns along the bank of the torrent to where it joins the Enza.

The Mulino di Stabio

Then uphill to Gottano Sotto. Looking over to Sole and bar, see below!.

And where there's a sotto (lower) there's usually a sopra (upper) so we pushed onto Gottano Sopra (675m), a picnic, and few rows of knitting, before returning to the bottom of the valley.

Still full of go, and fancying a cappuchino, we pushed on back up the other side to Sole, (both Sotto and Sopra) only to find the trattoria too busy with lunches to serve us, never mind, the view was good and I'd made a traditional 'cellar cake' at home. Layers of sponge cake soaked in Amaretto layered with a stodgy chocolate custard cream in a bowl. All weighted down and left in the cellar (i.e. fridge) overnight.

Towards Ventasso.

As often happens, Victor had timed the video to record the Cycling but the wrong channel!! Fortunately we still managed to get in the last three laps with Bettini trying out new tactics, by taking his fond farewells during the race with all the other champions, he managed to distract them into bringing up the rear of the race, leaving the rest of the Italian team free to dash off and grab 3 of the first 4 places.
Now I know we said we'd be there but there is a much handier meeting on next week and we opted for that - it actually leaves from the local supermarket!! Last year was very interesting as all the big names were there, and we could get the weekly shopping done too!. MESSAGE FOR STEVE - Check out Memorial Cimurri on Internet for more.
And this is for Marco who appreciates a good cat!
Love also to Laura, another Paplanna
PS I need your help Carlo!!