Travel Trail

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My husband and I stayed in Germany and Denmark for six weeks in 2004. I'd like to share some pictures, poems and personalities with those of you who are interested.  We've been back twice since then, but I'm too busy with the other pages on this site to add more photos.

Our first stop was in northern Germany to meet family friends. We stayed with them in Kiel for a few days to get over jet lag (15 hours of flying is a killer!) and to repack for a trip together to Italy. Our destination: Tuscany, where we had rented a three hundred year old villa in the mountains. In the morning, our view from shuttered windows overlooked the town of Poppi, the valley and the River Arno below.

 

 


Poppi, Italy
 

The castle of the Guido sits atop a hill overlooking the town of Poppi and the River Arno. This castle, which was built in 1169, is a regal remnant of the days of feudalism in Tuscany. Poppi, itself, is a small medieval village and everywhere you walk, you stand on a piece of history.
 



Count Guido's stable and outbuildings have been converted into a three-star hotel and restaurant with room for conferences. A three course meal of authentic Italian food can be had for about 10 Euros and the accommodations are reasonably priced! My kind of place!


Picture from Casentino Albergo-Ristorante brochure

 

A Painter’s Palette

A gelateria on every street

Offering ices, simple and sweet,

Cool and creamy with texture and taste,

Rounded scoops, not a drop to waste!

A painter’s palette of colors galore,

Banana, ananas, limone and more,

Served in plastic pastel dish –

Any flavor that you wish,

To eat with a teeny, tiny spoon.

Gelato, gelato, I’m over the moon!
 



 

 

 

 

 


A View From the Villa

Casa Fantone
Poppi, Italy
 

Casa Fantone

Casa Fantone, we hear your calls

Flowing forth from fortress walls.

We listen to your fire’s roar,

And let our hearts prepare for more.

We embrace the life of the valley below,

Follow the River Arno’s flow,

Savor the taste of wondrous wines

Coaxed from the fruits of ancient vines.

But we heed the call of your fire’s roar

And return to let our souls restore.


(front view)


(rear view)

Casa Fantone, a 300 year old farmhouse that has been remodeled and updated, was our home away from home for a week. It sleeps at least 12 people and has modern kitchen and bathroom facilities, but it still gives one the feeling of stepping back in history. For instance, we discovered an ancient baking oven on the terrace which I am sure could hold at least 20 pizzas at a time! If only those walls could talk . . .

Warm Memories

An ancient oven built of stone

Waits on the hilltop all alone.

It whispers the history of long ago

As the village of Poppi wakes below.

“Gone are the bambinos of yesterday,

Their cries of delight as they romp and play

Amidst the shadow of olive trees,

And the laundry waving in the breeze.

Gone are the nonnos, napping in the sun,

Waiting for the smell of a new baked bun.

The lengthy lines on their furrowed faces

Speak of their youth and faraway places.

Gone are the nonnas, kneading the dough

Then letting it rise in the fire’s glow.

They chatter and chirp like hurried hens,

Clucking while cleaning their precious pens.”

Yes, an ancient oven built of stone

Waits on the hilltop, all alone.

 

Everywhere we looked in Poppi we saw laundry hanging out to dry, some of it attached to intricate pulley systems from one window to another. Quilts and rugs hung on balcony railings to welcome the refreshing air of a sunny day. We were no exception up the hill in Casa Fantone . . .

Buon Giorgno!

Clothes on the line,

Waving with the breeze,

Calling “buon giorno” to the olive trees!

 


 

The Dolce Vita
(The Sweet Life)

Tiled roofs and cobbled streets

Echo the sound of strolling feet;

Houses built of native stone,

Bright colored flowers, nurtured and grown;

Shutters of green, thrown open some days

To welcome the warmth of the morning rays;

Pastoral pastures, wagon loads,

Traversing the narrow, winding roads.

Life in Poppi is serene and slow.

Just stop and listen, and then you’ll know!

 


 

Morning Market

A shopping basket on her arm,

She buys the harvest from the farm.

Olives and onions, chunks of cheese,

Honey gathered from hillside bees,

Salami and sausage and pasta and more.

What a feast we have in store!

 

Hospitality

Brown eggs in a basket,

Prosciutto and bread,

Two bottles of wine . . .

We’re full and fed!

 

Flying in Fantone

Two little girls, swinging in the breeze,

On hammocks hung between the trees.

There’s nothing like a Tuscan day

To swing and sway the hours away!
 

Two little girls, swinging toward the sky,

Captured by the feeling that they can fly!


 

 

 

(Venice, Vienna and Salzburg to follow)

 

 

 

Denmark Days

We rented a "holiday house" in Denmark for the spring break, packed the van with rations for the week and took off. The terrain changed as we drove north along the coast. That part of Denmark was flat, flat, flat! The economy is primarily supported by agriculture and fishing industries and so we saw many beautiful barns and homes with thatched roofs!


One of many thatched roofs in Denmark!

 

We finally reached our rental home and found that it was surrounded by dunes that seemed to form a nest. When we walked over the top of the nearest dune, the vast North Sea was waiting for us.

Dancing in the Dunes

A holiday house nesting in the dunes

While whispering winds whistle their tunes;

The Canadian geese honking hello

To the chattering children playing below;

The thunderous call of the cold North Sea:

”Won’t you come and play with me?”

 


 

Holiday Hair

Denmark’s dunes have a halo of heather,

Their grassy coifs controlled by the weather.

Round and around our holiday home

The north wind wields its giant comb,

Sweeping and swirling up and down,

Grooming the grass like a crazy clown!

 


 

No, this is not a picture of Plymouth, Massachusetts! Apparently, thatched roofs are very common in Denmark, as well as in Germany. There is definitely an art to it. We were able to see the roofers at work on a brand new roof and it was fascinating to see it from the beginning. We stayed near the coast in Denmark and I'd say that half of the homes and barns there have a thatched roof. I had no idea that they were still being built. Shows how  much I knew!!

 

 

 

 

 

I followed them to school one day . . . I couldn't help myself. Once a teacher, always a teacher! I walked with the girls to the bus stop, rode the bus to school and sat in on their classes on two separate days, jumped rope to American jingles and completed the same assignments they were given (or tried to). Even though I could only understand some of the language, I came to the realization that no matter where we are, children are children, delightfully so!

Children Are Children

 
Children are children wherever you go.

They act the same from head to toe!
 

The boisterous boys with skinned-up knees,

Who love to laugh, to tickle and tease;

They twirl their finger in their hair

And weave their daydreams in the air.

They play a game of tag and chase,

Or have a rowdy running race.

The patched-up jeans and baseball caps

Belong to boys and chummy chaps!

 

The giggly girls with bows in their hair,

Who skip and jump from here to there;

Dainty dresses and frilly frocks,

Shiny shoes and slippery socks;

Barrettes and braids and freckled faces,

The missing teeth with smiley spaces;

Bracelets, braces, shiny glasses . . .

We love them all, the girls and lasses!

 

Children are children wherever you go.

They act the same from head to toe!
 

(Written For Frau von Heyden and Frau Domnick)
Tuttendorf, Germany

April 21,
2004


"Sassy Sisters" in Siena, Italy's piazza!
Would you believe Blues Brothers in skirts?!

 

 

  

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