Showing posts from November, 2017

inside and outside the villa

We will always remember our time gathered in a villa in Abruzzo. It was our base from which we began to explore Abruzzo and connect with family. From the living room the local village sat on a nearby hill, the Adriatic Ocean covered the horizon out front and the Gran Sasso National Park's snow capped mountains completed the vista to the left. The villa was our home, we cooked, talked, slept and reconnected with the world via our devices at the end of the days adventures. We've all arrived morning exercise with an incredible view, even if it was 5 degrees! anyone for eggs? breakfast is served minestrone brewing for dinner the Renault and Citroen chariots that carted us around Pescara and Abruzzo morning sun on the villa mountain backdrop outdoor eating would be good if the temperature was greater than zero! kitchen dining space off the kitchen lounging more lounging daily washing and drying routine s


It is always special when our mob is together, these days mostly for special occasions. This morning we are gathered again after being scattered across the globe. The breakfast view that draws us out of bed is of snow capped mountains to the left, our 'local' mountain village on the right and the ocean coast inbetween. Special doesn't do the moment justice. Rare and beautiful. There will be more photos to come for sure ... the light is stunning. 

Roma pics

Some pics from Rome: Having never been to Italy but lived near Carlton for decades I always wondered if there was an authentic local version of what Brunetti's made iconic. The answer is yes. The view from our apartment. And some with us ...

obsessive genius

When I was in primary school we learned to read with class copies of old fashioned 'readers'. Of all the stories I remember just one called The Boy Who Wanted to Fly. Ever since then I have been fascinated by the extraordinary talents of Leonardo Da Vinci. It was therefore a 'must do' for me when in Florence to explore more of this strange character who seemed to be centuries ahead of his time in his imagination of science and technology. I picked up a little book that includes a translation of some of his notes, and have learned so much more of this enigmatic, shadowy figure. What is common knowledge is that he was a master in many fields; painter sculptor architect inventor anatomist He seemed obsessed with automation. He invented a robot, he created machines that ranged from hydraulic saws to military tanks. Most of all, he wanted to fly. He designed machines that betrayed an understanding of flight inconceivably ahead of his time. What I have

what travellers can learn from chefs

Picture the professional taster diverting or shutting their eyes as they examine the contents of their mouth with tasting and smelling focus. They strive to discern the subtle flavours and textures, the passage of taste from initial impression to lingering sensations. It is what sets quality cuisine apart; the attention to detail, depth of flavour, texture, design on the plate ... It is bad form to hoover good food down without appreciating the skill of the chef. So here we are in Italy where spectacularly interesting historical monuments, landscapes, statues, buildings and streets are ubiquitous. Our challenge is to slow down, to look up and around, not in the 'lost tourist kind of way' but in the 'appreciative diner kind of way'. As in good cooking, it is the things on the margins and the layers that are the difference between common (which can of course be hearty) and exquisite.  Walking down ancient laneways to get from A to B feels disrespectful. The rooflines

under the Tuscan sun

So we headed out of Florence and were mesmerised by the colour and contours of Tuscany. Highlights included San Gimignano and lunch at an organic farm / winery.

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