Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Walking and views

Three days of non stop walking beginning with the Cinque Terre,

Walking downhill to Vernazza

A local stroll from castle to castle.

Lake Garda

Don't know why I was always the last, maybe because I was knitting!

A Testing, Technical Time Trial

The Cinque Terre is beautiful if challenging cycling country but not the kind of terrain you'd usually find a time trial. The roads twist tightly up and down- they simply don't go straight and flat in this region.
And they made pretty tough walking too, as we soon found out walking from the 8km sign back up the route to the GPM along a neverending road under a boiling hot sun.
Waiting to watch the riders pass under the GPM
Mark Cavendish. The sprinter pulled out of the Giro on the following Friday after completing a hat-trick of individual victories on the 13th stage.
As well as winning three individual stages, he also helped Colombia win the team time trial that opened the centenary edition of race.
Cavendish, who turned 24 on Thursday, also became the first Briton to wear the Giro leader’s pink jersey at the start of the race.
Russia's Denis Menchov blew away the field in Thursday's individual time trial to take the 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia and wrestle the leader's pink jersey from Italian Danilo Di Luca.
Rabobank rider Menchov, twice Tour of Spain winner, completed a grueling 60.6-kilometer up-and-down course in the Cinque Terre region on Italy's northeast coast in one hour, 34 minutes, 29 seconds.
LPR's Di Luca, who had worn the pink jersey for seven stages, came in 1:54 behind in sixth place.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Round the block/castle

I only meant to go for a quick walk up to the bar by the castle on Sunday. But being bright and early I was tempted by a slice of cheesecake which turned out to be nothing like its light, fluffy American counterparts and so I felt obliged to go just a little bit further to work off all that stodge.
So I went round to the other side of the castle, down, up and down again
From this side you can see the castle and the hamlet at its feet.

In The Middle Ages the area was filled with watch towers and castles as part of the Matildic defence system. Nowadays brick is replaced by wood and these watch towers have sprung up everywhere. The area is a nature reserve and I suppose they are there to count deer, pheasants and boar.
When I got home , feet up!
This is a lovely idea...a mystery sock KAL (knitalong). Each day a group on Rav. posts the next few lines of this sock pattern. There are no photos but after turning the heel I can work out a beaded butterfly.
Mind you what and how I'm going to wear another pair of wool sox, beaded, in fashion conscious Italy in the summer, is beyond me!

And another project, I'm such a lucky girl! I'd been looking for one of these sidewards knitted jumpers for ages so when Sylv. sent me a pattern from UK I couldn't wait to get started.
She's in the land of scones, clotted cream and pasties this week and I hope to surprise her with a good bit done when she gets back.
Thanks BettyBoo!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


This Sunday's walk did not start off on a happy note as one member of out party had left HIS walking boots at home. So we opted to go along the mule track running up the Tassaro valley. The Tassaro joins the Tassobbio at the Chiccino mill - see 25th April. Crovara is perched on a rock where the two valleys meet up. There was apparently a medieval stronghold here but only the church is left now. A church which has pleasant associations for me. We first happened across it one April 23rd, with mum. A real coincidence as this day is dedicated to St. George, the patron saint of England, and the church's Saint, and was also my late nan's (mum's mum's) birthday. For the occasion the church was open and we had a guided tour which lasted all of 5 mins before sitting outside to enjoy the view and eat a picnic.

Back to the present.
This walk is stunning in the Autumn when the trees are turning but in the summer it is like walking through a long neverending green tunnel. At least there was no fear of sunstoke or getting lost. I spent the two hour climb lost in thought contemplating the next knitting project and the coffee and cakes waiting for us at the end of the mule track.
Note walking shoes!!!

The inn is suitably called Locanda degli Asini (Donkey's Halt) but here V made his second mistake of the day...he'd left his wallet in the car!!!

Other luckier wives enjoying a meal.

There was even a spare table waiting for us.
Better luck next time !

Monday, 4 May 2009

May Bank Holiday

This week's outing was more to exercise the brain than the legs. It gave us an excuse to try out the new car, being a non-driver I was more impressed by the handy compartment obviously made for stopping my wool rolling about all over the place, than anything else.
Weather was glorious as we set off for the River Po, Italy's longest river, set in the middle of the Padana plain, just 30 mins. from our house. All the spring rains had apparently caused it to rise drastically.

Although there have been higher floods, it was still pretty impressive, to give an idea this is the bridge at Viadana...

And this is the same bridge during the 2005 drought.

The Padana Plain has an atmosphere all of its own, as if transported back 50 years in time.
Further along the river we found San Benedetto church and abbey. I had wanted to visit it for some time because it belonged to the Countess Matilda - the same queen who had her homebase in the castle in our village around 1050 AD.

Victor usually avoids old stones but this time, seeing that it was free, he joined me on a guided tour of the complex and we both ended up feeling all the wiser for it.

And for those interested this is the finished project begun in the car above. As my Rav. pal Ambra had told me I managed to make it using just two half, leftover balls of Noro sock wool. Fascinating to see both the colours unwind and the stitches dropping down to form a bias pattern. In tune with the ethnic look I've added beads to the ends.