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Solstice Card Photo Shoot: Cliveden House, Maidenhead, England

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Cliveden House is a very nice place for a walk outside.  We were on a quest to make some photos for our solstice card.  We did it!

Romey walks the grounds.

Noel plays the part

 

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Location one

The one below is the one we chose for the front.

Noel and Romey way up there.

Location two.

Here is the shot we chose for the back of our card.

A Walking Tour of Bath

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Some pictures taken during a brief two hour walking tour of Bath.  Fred Mawer is an exceptional tour guide even by blue badge tour standards.  Highly recommended.

Romey and I felt a little like this seagull who scored a huge piece of bread.

We started at the Royal Crescent hotel, about which more here.

Somehow it seems to me that these trees should be oaks instead of sycamores.  But they are properly regal and huge, centering the Bath Circus.

Architectural details make all the difference.  Speculative real estate development for the win.

All of the stone for these buildings is local, giving the town a unifying, opulent feeling.  The tea house.

We walked on the day that the Christmas market started.  Fred points out an old sign.

Apparently there is a cocktail scene.  We will have to come back and try it out.

Romey and Jane Austin.

Religion?  Justice?  Do not enter.  A conceptual collage.

The river Avon with some voiceover typical of our tour.

The cinema from Fantastic Mr Fox

All in all Bath is a beautiful place well worth a visit.  We can’t wait to return.

Lets Almost Go See a Waterfall in Norway: Vettisfossen

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The day could not have been prettier.  Light rain, but gorgeous light.  And peak Fall leaves.  And waterfalls everywhere you look.  The funny thing is, though we hiked about 13km, we never made it to the big waterfall!  Ran out of light.

I guess we’ll just have to go back

THIS is not the one!  But look.  Spectacular does not even begin to describe this walk.

We had some very late lunch very near the top at an old farmstead and village.

The turn around point.

The Backyard (well, mountain) in Tyinkrysset

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Sometimes walking out the door and around back is the best way to hike.  We bushwhacked up through juniper and blueberry towards a small lake where fish are rumored to live.  Tyinkrysset, Norway is beautiful.

This little stream is just up the road a few hundred meters.

Here are some pictures of our walk in the mountains.


     

A view of the valley.

Chilly Romey.

Panorama

Our intrepid hosts at the top.  Our fearless leader Nova was dressed for the weather.

 

We love being in Norway.

Coffee and brown cheese?  Nova says yes.

   

Kongevegen, Norway Hiking and the Stave Church

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The trail, built by hand with horses and carts through steep mountain passes, is incredible.  Like a movie set.  This is one hike in Norway not to miss.  We did a few kilometers day hike to the Stave Church completed in the 1180s.

The Kings Road is what Kongevegen means, BTW.  The scenery at peak Fall is stunning and magical.

Romey and the logo bench.

 

Just up over the pass the first view of the Stave Church.

We approached from behind (with a herd of sheep).  These are not the sheep!

 

Our fearless leader Nova.

Don’t eat the mushrooms.

A quiet moment of conversation.

A boy and his dog!

An impressive waterfall on the drive home.

Coffee stop.

And back home for beer and a small fire.  This is the only kind of smoking that I like to do.

Street Life in Spain

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Seems like our time on the streets in Barcelona and Madrid centered around Vermut (of the local variety) and Aperol Spritz (of the industrial variety).  Here are some random shots.

We might have found some gorgeous jewelry in Madrid.  Maybe.  Happy today day!

These handmade shoes were beautiful and very much local.

We found the barrel in Barcelona.

 

While waiting for fingernails.

Ayn Rand or Romey?

Dinner in Barcelona.

Flowers in Barcelona

The out take.

Walking with the hoards.

Beautiful dresses which may be too small?

A picture of the designer.

Random door.

Rubber ducky, you’re the one…  (memories of playing the bathroom song with Matt in Italy…LOL).

And now it is time to go home

Palacio de Cristal Madrid: El Retiro

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Crystal Palace they said.  Worth a quick visit.  But wear your sneakers.  We were dressed up for dinner on our last night out.

Wrong shoes and bad art aside, we were glad to walk through the Madrid equivalent of Central Park.

The art inside the palace was awful.  We think it was made by the box head guy below.

Spare no expense!  Use the GOOD duct tape.

Anyway, there were turtles and ducks.

Play for Your Dinner

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The thing about Italians is that they love live music.  And they love Americans too (in spite of our recent proclivities for absolute dumb shit behavior).  Rhine and I took advantage of this by dragging around our instruments and playing for our supper where we ate.

The first great restaurant run happened after our worldwide debut as Into the Unknown in Campiglio Cervo.  The crowd converged and decided we needed a reservation subito subito.

In the end, I was spirited off with Santa Mariela so I could see the restaurant and meet the owners with my own eyes.  That’s because Ruers above Piedicavallo exists past where the road ends.  So you have to walk there once you ditch your car.  Incredible views await.  And the kindest people.

On the same fact finding mission, we also had to make a quick trip to visit Dick (a local Scott of great flare) and his cat, and catch up with pretty much everyone we encountered.  This was fun, but it made us late late late.

My scouting expedition revealed this view (that is Biella down there somewhere).

We returned (very late) in the Fiat 500, parked at the edge of the world, and proceeded to have an excellent dinner replete with local wine house made cheeses,  polenta, roast beef, and even gluten free stuff for Matt.

 

After dinner we got out our instruments and played a little music.  Here is part of the “first song” (a song by Bob that we always play first so we never have to figure out what to play first).

Then we entered the kitchen to play for the cooks.  This was a blast, and the staff was most appreciative.  Lets just say we are welcome back any time, forever.

Check out the face on this guy.

This kind of experience is what makes a trip to Italy an amazing, humanizing experience.  And to top it all off, the Signora would not let me pay all that I owed.

Of course, once we did it once, we had to do it again.  That’s just how it goes.

Rhine and I scouted out a restaurant run by the slightly pazzo Roberta in Sanctuario San Giovanni.  The moon was almost full, and the werewolves were awakening.

The local Barbera was outstanding.  This was one of the best simple meals we had on the trip.

Top of the world to you.

If you look closely, you will see Rhine.

Roberta recognized us as part of the concert crowd from Campigliano Cervo and asked if we had brought our instruments.  Since we rushed to arrive by 8:30 the answer was no.  Roberta asked us to return the next evening after our big opera, and a plan was born.  We promised to arrive a punto by 8:29pm.

She sent up home with a 100 year old plate for April and some goodies for breakfast.  We shared some grappa.

It took some doing after the big opera performance, but we did make it.  The moon was full.   Everyone else arrived shortly thereafter.  I played my violin at the edge and made Mariela cry.

And, once again after dinner, we played in the kitchen for the cooks even as the vegan meal was blitzkrieged on the massive stove.  The floor was sticky, but the love was palpable.

We stayed until the grappa ran out.

And we will return.

 

 

 

 

 

Passeggiata al Bariosco (near Rialmosso, Italy)

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On my last day in Rialmosso (Italy) after all three performances were behind us, the hiking boots finally came out.  Sadly the boots were massive overkill since the “hike” was really just a walk and the walk was really just a stroll.  But, I lugged those boots all the way here from Virginia, so on they go!

Anyway, the stroll in the park was behind Rosazza on a mountain trail that was well tended and obvious in the Italian way.  Gorgeous, filled with green trees, burbling creeks, and an ancient Italian village at the top.

I like listening to the woods as much as looking at them.  The sounds were curative.

We did the blue hikewalkstroll.

The four others included Santa Mariela, Matt (of the piano), Shooka (of the opera), and Dani (movement artist).

A fellow Tennessean.

 

A miniature concert at the top by Shooka with some movement by Dani.

 

After the walk we headed down to town (about one km away) and revisited Auto Bahn.  The others joined us there for dinner.