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 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 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.