How is everyone? It seems it’s been a while since I’ve written so thought I’d give you a quick update…
The Long Walk of Achyness
Just after I wrote the last blog post, some friends came to visit me in Sarnano and I thought perhaps it might be the ideal opportunity to combine their desire to see the Lame Rosse (the cool rock formation I wrote about in the last blog installment) with something new I was keen to see, the Gole di Fiastrone (literally “throats of the Fiastrone” referring to the river and the formation of it). I dug out my map and found a route that would take in those two features but also another sight: the Grotto dei Frati. I estimated it would probably take about 6 hours which isn’t bad really – we’re all fairly fit and enjoy walking.
It was indeed 6 hours but half of that was up a near vertical slope! I enjoy walking but I’m not cut out for climbing!!! So, it goes down as the hardest walk I’ve ever done but I’m very glad we did it. About midway through we came across a sign that said the trail was for “expert hikers”. I felt proud and stupid all at the same time!
The cat helping me find the best route…
The Fiastrone riverbed. To continue the walk to the Lame Rosse we needed to cross this river. I did attempt it – I took off my boots and waded into the river and about 2 feet in, I wimped out and came back. It’s cold and slippery. We sat looking mournfully across the other side of the river eating our lunch and were fortunate enough to come across some people coming from the other side of the river wanting to get to our side. We watched as they made their way precariously across the river on some broken tree branches and debris. None of them died so them having set a precedent, we followed shortly thereafter. In fact, one of our members actually braved walking across the river wielding his dog.
This was taken on the way down from to Lago di Fiastra. You can see the dam at the bottom of the river. That’s where one of our cars was parked, a depressingly long distance away and that was about 4.5 hours into the walk!
This is part of the Grotto dei Frati, a little area cut into the rock face that still seems to be used for religious ceremonies.
And from the Grotto dei Frati, you can see the Gole di Fiastrone (where the river meets the rock about the center of the photo). To get there I think we’d have had to have waded up the river. Definitely more of a summer activity!!!!
Forli and Giovanni Boldini
The following day I went to Forli with another friend to seen an exhibition of the wonderful Giovanni Boldini. He does some amazing portraits and it inspired me to get back into trying to get good at drawing portraits again. The day ended up taking us on quite a road trip and we stopped off at Citta’ di Castello and then Gubbio in Umbria.
One of the squares in Citta di Castello
A sculpture with her breasts out in what seems to be a type of courtroom – an effective way to appease a jury no doubt.
Little church dedicated to baking pizzas in Citta’ di Castello.
Cutie pigeons taking in the scenery around Citta’ di Castello.
Citta’ di Castello – it’s a walled town, as many of them are but this one seems much more intact.
This is the beautiful town of Gubbio
Gubbio again with the rains approaching!
The Science of Happiness
I finished my Science of Happiness Online Course last week which I started earlier this year. It’s free, online and you can do it in your own time. It’s my first online course and I hadn’t realised there was such a wide variety to chose from. I went for this one because it appeals to my interest in psychological things and well, I think I’m pretty happy but there’s no harm in looking to see if there’s something else that could make me happier eh?
I think people always have a view of psychology as being a bit of a “fluffy” science, but this course wasn’t by any means. There were a range of topics covering the links between happiness and empathy, compassion, social connections, forgiveness, self compassion, goal setting, generosity and gratitude etc. Information was presented in conjunction with corresponding scientific studies including not just how feelings are affected but how our physiology is impacted too and why happiness-inducing behaviours might have evolved in the first place. My favourite titbits – did you know that rats can laugh?! And quite a heart-wrenching finding – “touch” is so important to us humans that until caregivers were instructed to hold and touch babies in orphanages, many of them died. Have a read here…
In other news…
I made pitta breads – they taste exactly like pitta breads! I’m reasonably impressed with myself! (They don’t have pitta breads in Italy as far as I can work out).
And…. I came across this bug… It was almost exactly the same size as my car. I’ve decided to call him Megabug.
And….I cleaned out the Snake Pit under the house – this photo was taken part way through. There were actually no snakes in it very much to my relief. I took a golf club down there just in case.
And…. I went to a jazz concert at the local theatre with a friend which was a mix between really very good and very bad (this latter review is not an indictment on the musicians, who were brilliant, but instead, my ability to retain interest when listening to the more “unstructured” jazz pieces). I was definitely impressed by the good bits though and I have resolved to find some good jazz tracks to get into.
And….. following on from my recent “Driving Guide”, this photo was taken in Forli and nicely demonstrates the appropriate distance between parked cars when parking in Italy.
And…. finally on the photo front – we’ve got kittens in the neighbourhood! These belong to Batfink’s aunty and father (who are we to judge?). There are another three (true brothers and sisters to Batfink) too. I want them all.
I think that’s it for the photo journalism! I hope everyone is having a good week.