30 November 2011
Italians love their dogs, and dogs love everyone whether friends or strangers. I guess they are not there to guard one’s property but rather, to be an extension of their master’s hospitality.
29 November 2011
28 November 2011
…but it looks more like just an attempt to “reinforce” the concrete columns to prevent it from collapsing!
27 November 2011
Anna, the B&B owner, is hosting a dinner party for 7 diet-conscious guests and this is the antipasto that the chef has prepared for tonight. Different fingerfoods such as baked polenta, baked aubergine with cheese and squash paste wrapped in thin pastry sheets…with balsamic vinegar as dip….absolutely delish!
26 November 2011
25 November 2011
Lovers who wear the same colours stay together longer…..
Another “cena” (pronounced “che-na”, meaning dinner) is being held tonight for 15 people and in-between washing plates and helping the chef, we get the privilege of tasting champagne courtesy of Anna, our host.
23 November 2011
22 November 2011
21 November 2011
One of the benefits of working for a B&B is the chance to stay in the kitchen and watch the chef cook. Here she is preparing biscuits for arriving guests. I have never done biscuits before so when I go back home, I will be concocting my own biscotti!
A dinner for 5 people is being prepared tonight so we volunteered to help the chef for the 4-course seafood meal. Here H is about to clean and cut the “polpo” (octopus) to be cooked as the “secondo piatto” (main dish).
This is the Primero Piatto – fish baked and presented in a scallop shell, accompanied by polenta topped with smoked herring.
20 November 2011
Legend goes that these sons of Remus were chased out of Rome when Romulus had killed his brother. Senio and Aschio escaped riding a horse taking with them the symbol of Rome which is the she wolf.
The 13th century Romanesque-style Massa Maritima cathedral
19 November 2011
18 November 2011
The landscape around us are purely agricultural. Here, a farmer is preparing his farm for sowing wheat.
17 November 2011
Stumbled upon the fruit shop in town and were amazed to see these clementine selling at 50sentimes a kilo! I asked the lady shopkeeper where it comes from and she replied, “Sicilia!” It tastes so sweet!
16 November 2011
We arrived in Scarlino, Tuscany late last night after driving for 5 hours. This is the view from the grounds of the Bed and Breakfast hotel where we will be working as volunteer helpers, hopefully, until February next year.
Scarlino, Tuscany, Italy
15 November 2011
We are leaving for Tuscany today but first, H had to go to the pharmacy at the next village for some medication. This is the main road of the Roya Valley which we have to negotiate everytime, a bit snaky but the scenery is out of this world. “Just like in a filmset!”, one guest remarked sometime ago. Indeed it is, it is already popular place for film shoots!
14 November 2011
Tracing my steps in Saint Paul de Vence….The last time I came here must be ten years ago!
South of France
Saint Paul de Vence, France
13 November 2011
“Bye-bye, Silvio!” …..”Resign, Resign!”…..”Disappear!”….”Finally!”
These are just few of the insulting words hurled by the crowd at the departing ex-PM after submitting his letter of resignation to President Giorgio Napolitano. Out of humiliation, and to prevent untoward incident, he had to get out through the back door of the Quirinale Palace in Rome, the seat of the Presidency.
12 November 2011
The pretty bell tower of our village church
Roya Valley, South of France
11 November 2011
Autumn fruits of Italy
Mortola, Liguria, Italy
10 November 2011
Stepping up a new life for old buttons!
At a supermarket in Ventimiglia, Italy09 November 2011
The Cuneo-Ventimiglia-Nice line which cuts through our village is considered as one of the most daring railways of Europe.
Roya Valley, South of France
08 November 2011
The green shutters of Ventimiglia.
07 November 2011
Surprised to see a Dubai-registered car plying the motorway of the French Riviera!
Somewhere near Monaco
06 November 2011
Took a detour to the port town of Piombino to check on the ferries plying to Elba and Sardini, two more Italian destinations we would like to visit someday. This poster is displayed in one of the art and culture noticeboards of the town and I thought it would be nice to share it with my readers!
It’s a Sunday morning in Italy, a day where sports enthusiasts like these cyclists hit the road as a group.
05 November 2011
Went to check the marina of Scarlino and these pine trees along the road make a very pleasant scene. The image we always have of Tuscany is that of cypress and pine trees and we were not mistaken. It must be the conifer capital of Europe!
I am standing from the driveway of the hotel and this is the landscape I see. On the horizon is the mediterranean sea and on a clearer day, the island of Elba (Napoleon’s exile island) is easily visible.
04 November 2011
The next day, we went exploring the surrounding area of the hotel and in a nearby olive orchard, we saw this farmer doing some serious trimming job. The Olive harvest has just finished and the next job is to prune the trees so that air easily circulates on the branches thereby encouraging a higher fruit yield for next year.
The Tuscan landscape is mainly agricultural. Vineyards, olive and other fruit orchards mesh in perfect symmetry where cypress trees serve as territorial borders.
03 November 2011
Today H and I drove towards Tuscany to do a 3-day trial stay at a Bed and Breakfast villa which we found at Helpx. No, we are not going there as tourists, rather, as volunteer workers in exchange of food, accommodation and most of all, the experience to live, work and breathe the Italian way of life. Toscana (or Tuscany) became onen of our dream destinations after reading so much about it from novels, books and travel magazines. Yes, we always dreamt about coming to this region and now it is really happening! We are so excited and looking forward to another adventure albeit immersion trip!
The long, steep and windy road towards the hotel. It is set on top of a hill, the only house standing! Could it be that they own the entire poggio (hill)?
02 November 2011
Went for a short walk up the hill and saw this apiary of our neighbour. I’m sure it produces exquisite honey considering the mountain air environment we live in.
Vallee de la Roya, France
01 November 2011
It’s All Saint’s Day and we did our traditional visit to a cemetery. This one is of our village. As in most cemeteries I’ve seen in rural France and Italy, they are situated on higher grounds, in a beautiful setting surrounded by cypress trees.
Vallee de la Roya, south of France