Mostly nature photos with a little castle party thrown in for some diversity, from our last two weekends. The scenery is pretty spectacular around here, and we are lucky to have friends with cars and EU licenses who are super keen to go hiking on weekends (we still haven’t figured out if maybe, just maybe, I am allowed to drive for another year).

Our hike last weekend was ridiculously hot so we were all happy with the occasional wind and rain on Saturday. Matt especially as he got to use his cycling poncho for the first time. He looks a little like a giant bird when he wears it, but everything stays dry so he is content.

One of the best discoveries of Italian hiking, aides from the scenery, is the Malghe and rifugio that dot the mountainside. I originally thought malga meant ‘mountain restaurant’ but learned this trip, when we met all the cows, that actually it is something to do with being a house for cows. But there are plenty that also serve food, so all I really learned is that I’m not 100 per cent sure when I can count on a malga. But when you do find an open rifugio (with food and beds) or malga they are the most amazing thing because you can sit down inside, in the midst of your hike, and order cold drinks and hot food. And beer. The Europeans are much more used to this than we are, and we continue to bring full packed lunches on our trips into supposed wilderness (which feels a lot less wild when you see the driveway to the malga). But we are learning.

Also on our weekend: we napped post hike so we could stay up late and watch the England vs Italy game at midnight. I’m not so bothered by soccer, but can find it entertaining. And a bar full of Italians watching their team’s first World Cup game is entertaining. Did you know that the Italian equivalent of ‘come on!’ is ‘dai’, which sounds just like ‘die’, and which they spend a lot of time yelling at the screen. It can sound just a little bit threatening.


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