Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Last weekend we went hiking with some friends to Pasubio. Pasubio is in the Southern part of the Alps, and the Italians dug tunnels into the rock to defend against the Germans/Austrians in WWI. The tunnels are now laced together to form a nice trail.
When we reached to top, we had a picnic lunch. Amanda and I brought typical American fare, with PB&J sandwiches, granola bars, trail mix, and beef jerky. Our neighbors on the other hand, brought prosciutto panini, sparkling water, hot coffee (with sugar and cream!), a block of chocolate, and topped it off with a digestive liquor. The Italians sure know how to eat!The crew before the sweating began.
A WWI canon.

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Pasubio Part 2

The reward after a hard day's hike.
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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Our Anniversary!

Amanda and I went to a wonderful little agriturismo for our anniversary. (I think that Amanda mentioned it before in an email.) Everything around us - right down to the chairs and tables - was contructed by the man who served us. And his wife was an excellent cook. We enjoyed a night of fine food and wine undeneath a canopy of stars. It was wonderful (just like the last 6 years!)
Ooooh...so good.
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Making sauce

Every year the Porinari clan makes a ton of spaghetti sauce with the buckets and buckets of tomatoes they have. It's quite a production. There were stations for dicing, pre-cooking, pulverizing, final cooking with the spices and veggies, and the final canning stage. This year we got in on the action too. We had a blast dicing tomatoes for about an hour. (I think that everyone else clocked about eight hours on the project.) They'll have sauce for the next 10 years! A small portion of the tomatoe vines. (Franco and Elaria)
Here are the dicing and pre-cooking stages.
"Ouch! I cut myself. Again."
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Making sauce part 2

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A morning with Richards' Maple

Aunt Kathy, Uncle Jim, Margie and Rick brought us Richards' pure maple syrup and pankake mix from Chardon's Mill.
It was quite good.
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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, July 2006

The Czech word for 'hello' is 'ahoj'. (Pronounced 'ahoy.') It seemed fitting that this greeting was jovially exchanged so many times on the river as we floated by other boaters and folks sipping a beer on the shore.
Cesky Krumlov was wonderful.
The food and lodging was inexpensive and good. The people were very friendly and receptive to our botched attempts at the Czech language. The river was so cool and refreshing - great for canoeing or lazily floating by in an intertube. Most of the tourists were other Czech people, so the town had a very 'real' feel to it.
The bottom line: we recommend Cesky Krumlov. Budweiser in its home town.

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Cesky Krumlov Part 2

On day two we canoed down the river. It was a warm sunny day, and we enjoyed relaxing on the (mostly) calm river, going in for a dip when necessary to cool off. Along the way, there were huts with folks grilling up meats. We stopped for lunch and had some bratwust, and washed it down with the Czech Republic's favorite beverage. This hanging canoe let us know that there was beer and brats to be had.
Mm, mm good.
A very campground-esque atmostphere.
On day 3 we intertubbed around the town a bunch of times. Since the strip of land connecting one end of town with the other was only about 50 meters long, we could just jump out at one end and jump back in at the start on the other! It was the best five dollars we ever spent!
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Cesky Krumlov Part 3

A view of the castle.
One could find tables like this all over the city for relaxing with a beverage whilst watching the river (and life) roll by.
"Roar! I'm a bear!"
Krumlov at night.
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Cesky Krumlov Part 4

A typical river scene.
Notice the guy in the lower right going down the falls!
The river lassoing in the town.
"Only Skippies can stay here!"
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The Salzkammergut, Hallstatt, and a luge

Since the drive to Cesky Krumlov was 7-8 hours, we decided to break up the trip with a night in our favorite Austrian town of Hallstatt. When we first arrived in Europe we spent a night there, and we finally got our first chance to go back to a "let's come back here" spot. Hallstatt is located in the Salzkammergut, the lakes district of Austria. It is the place where Maria sings "The hills are alive" in the Sound of Music, and it is every bit as beautiful as Hollywood made it look.
Along the way we stopped for a bit our favorite alpine pastime: luging.

A crystal blue salzkammergut lake.
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A lovely river town on the way to Hallstatt.
The building on the left is decorated by a two-dimensional pear tree.
Cute Hallstatter balconies in the rain.
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