Sunday Snapshots: La Verna in the Mist

Tuscany, 2013

Tuscany, 2013

If one is going to visit the La Verna Sanctuary, might I recommend not doing it on a hot summers day? Instead, go in January. But only if it’s misty, mysterious, and if you have proper time to wander through the forest and around the buildings, wondering if the monks get the same eerie feeling that you do.


Sunday Snapshots: In Search of Sun

Tuscany, 2012

After all the excitement of the holidays, who wouldn’t want to escape to this Tuscan hillside? Especially after a doozy of a year like 2017 has been, going off-grid seems necessary. I may have to talk BV into an extra-long weekend here… we could both stand to unplug for a few days. In fact, that was part of our plan for this New Year’s, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Hopefully we can get back sometime soon though… I miss those rolling hills.

Here’s to a calmer 2018… and thanks again for reading along this year!

Sunday Snapshots: Into the Mist

Tuscany, 2012

Tuscany, 2012

Tuscany doesn’t always look like the photos in the fancy travel magazines. Sure, there are lots of golden fields and buildings crumbling under the (Tuscan) sun, but sometimes it’s downright foggy. At least, that’s what we found on a walk around La Verna a few years ago.

To be honest, pretty much every time I open my laptop or turn on my phone these days, it makes me want to run off into the forest. Since we I can’t do that, and since I can’t quite put so many of my thoughts on the world’s events into words quite yet, today’s picture is just going to have to suffice.

Sunday Snapshots: Tuscan Streets

In an effort to share more of the many, many, many photos I take everywhere I go, this year I’ll be joining many other bloggers in sharing one picture every Sunday. Many people do a ‘Silent Sunday’ post, but since I have the inability to not write at least some sort of context, I won’t do that. I’ll try to keep it short though. After all, it’s Sunday in Germany and I shouldn’t be working anyway. 😉

Tuscan streets.

Tuscan streets.

Today’s photo was taken three years ago today* after a long walk over the Pratamagno. Unsuccessful in our quest for an open restaurant, we stopped in a random village to find streets empty save for their Christmas lights. Don’t worry though, we managed to buy a feast of Italian bread, meats, and cheeses to tide us over until dinner time.


*I’m also going to try to do photos taken in the same month and on the same day, if possible. Because I enjoy making simple things more difficult.

Gone Hiking: A Light Hike

In between meals and visits to Tuscan cities, our vacation included a good bit of outdoors time. In retrospect, that was WONDERFUL, as one of my students told me today that we had less that twenty hours of sun in all of January. How rough is that? 

The original plan was to do a New Year’s Day hike, but unfortunately the weather was a bit gray and wet. Instead we postponed a few days and waited for the sun to come back out. The chosen destination was the Croce di Pratomagno, or the highest point of the Pratomagno mountain range, near Arezzo in Tuscany. 

It’s an easy hike, along a gorgeous rolling ridge with views of the Tuscan hills giving way to the countryside below. We took a slightly easier route, driving most of the way up the mountain on a very windy road that only made me slightly carsick. I would also recommend having a lot of faith in your car to make it up that road in winter, as the last bit is unpaved, and there was a lot of water as well as snow/ice as we got up to the top. The climb from the parking area to the summit was the steepest part, and a bit rough straight out of the car. Needless to say, our legs were stretched pretty quickly. We didn’t have an exact plan for the hike, and just wandered along the ridge for about an hour and a half. Then we turned back, went back to the summit, and then wound our way along the side of the hill back to the car.

To the summit:

Northern mountains in the distance: Photo courtesy BV

Photo courtesy BV

Crazy snow at the top: Photo Courtesy BV
Croce di Pratomagno: 1590 meters
Summit Cross

 A long walk on a long path:

Great light: Courtesy BV

And on the way back to the car….

Clouds rolling in: Courtesy BV

Friends far ahead…
And one BV behind.
Pictures of pictures: Courtesy BV
He took this one too. I’m in there somewhere.

I just think this is dramatic: Courtesy BV
Back down at the car park.

As you can see from the pictures, it’s not a tremendously high or steep climb. I think you can walk for a pretty long way along the ridge, and the trails that join it as well. I got pretty whipped on the way back, but I think that was something to do with all the heavy food we’d been eating the last few days. Plus being that it was January, I hadn’t exactly been doing a lot of outdoorsy/physical stuff in the previous weeks. That was recipe for one tired Heather.

After the hike, we did a half-hearted search for an open restaurant, as one of our group members was ravenous and craving pasta carbonara. Unfortunately for all of us, it was mid-afternoon and if you’ve been to Italy you know that mid-afternoon is NOT the time to try and find real food. You’re better off grabbing some bread and hoping that holds you over until everything reopens for dinner. So be warned! 

Since it’s not a super-hardcore hike, I wasn’t able to find a whole lot of information as far as directionals, but if you want some info on the Pratomagno, you can check this out.

If you’re in the area, and are interested in a nice day outdoors, I’d check it out. 
Any other suggestions for good hikes? Italy or elsewhere?