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Archive for July, 2011

It was never really a contest. When these four black bears – a Momma with triplets – descended on the lone huckleberry in my tiny patch of garden on Saturday afternoon, the huckleberries had no chance. They pulled the bush down and stripped it in about three minutes. The cubs wrestled and cavorted in my geraniums for a bit and then they beat it up the trail, leaving less than a dozen crushed berries behind. That green chair is where I was sitting and reading half an hour prior to their arrival.

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Many more travel photos and stories to follow, especially now that I have my laptop in front of me again.  Skipped over to the cottage during a break between rentals to check on the garden and was dismayed by what I found. The cool damp weather and the two yards of compost-enriched topsoil we spread this spring caused our always- fecund garden to morph into a jungle!   With guests arriving in two days, I got out the clippers and, frankly, started hacking!  This was an emergency operation to clear pathways as much as anything. Here is what the garden looked like in early June prior to my departure: 

All was left in good order . . .

And here is what I found upon my return this week . . .

Badly overgrown and in need of attention.

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We visited Sirmione at the southern-most tip I’d Lake Garda four years ago, so this time we headed for the northern end of the lake which we heard was very blustery and popular with the wind surfing crowd. It was a lovely drive up the east side of the lake from Lazise, where we had visited a waterpark for a few hours. During the last 15 km or so the landscape and atmospheric conditions changed dramatically.

We ended up at the overpriced Bella Vista campground, where all the denizens appeared to be settled in for the summer but roused themselves to turn out and stare skeptically as we maneuvered onto our grubby patch of earth. As RV renters we are the lowest form of poseurs in these established communities.

Turns out this area has a lot to offer. Everyone is on the move – walking, running, hiking, biking or out on the lake with a rod, board or boat. The scenery is gorgeous and the bike paths are extensive we had a great dinner after riding all about this and a neighboring town. Sam and I even slipped into the dark lake before bedtime.

Next day our departure to Bolzano was delayed several hours by impressive thunder storms, but with our time ticking by, we had to break for it. We followed the original state road north to Trento, passing beautiful scenery that included vineyards and castles. Then we jumped on the Autostrada for our long awaited date with Otzi the Iceman.

Below: South Lake Garda waterpark and the beauty of the northern lake.

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We’ve travelled from Trogir to Split and then by boat to Ancona, Italy and the the Umbrian towns of Assisi, Spello and Bevagna and then on to Greve in Chianti, Tuscany. Lots to tell about those adventures, but to hard to do it on a phone, so be sure to check back in a few weeks.

Today was such a great day that about half way through I decided it was my birthday, which is actually about a week from now and a work day! I believe you have some latitude in deciding when to celebrate.

Cottager and I started with a great coffee in Greve, then grabbed some groceries and woke the kids up for breakfast. By 10 am we were high in the hills of Chianti to do a three hour walk. Beautiful. Had a reservation at a better than our usual type of place and had a wonderful spot on the terrace, great service and food. More on this to come. Then drove to Florence where we have a campsite steps from Piazza Michelangelo, had a great walk through town, drank some rose and watched a concert in Piazza de la Signora and now about to fall off my pins with fatigue. Walked at least 20 km today. So grateful I can. Happy birthday to me!

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