James (and Susannah) show Norah how to skip rocks. Form is of utmost importance!
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Lago Miage is fed by a glacier and snowmelt from the mountains. It can be high or low depending on the season. We saw it when it was most definitely LOW--can you see where the water line is during high season? At any rate, the water was this strange crystal blue color. It was very striking. And, it was surrounded by rocks for the kids to throw...what could be better?
The next day we drove back to Lago Miage...well, we tried to drive there, but you have to walk the last 2 or 3 miles UPHILL to get to it. Chiara's uncle failed to mention this. But, we had packed a picnic, Susannah was strapped to James' back, we all had our sunblock on, and darnit, we were going to see that gal darn lake! At this point in the journey, Norah had had enough, but we kept her going with the promise of food when we got to the lake.
James took Luke and Norah really CLOSE to the stream and I had to just stay away and let them enjoy it (but I did think of how I would save them if any of them fell in and played it in my mind over and over...am I crazy?). Susannah and I stayed up above, on the path, where it was SAFE!
Monte Bianco was next on our tour of the Val d'Aosta. Of course, when we got close, clouds were starting to form on the summit! Bummer! Anyway, here it is from afar. We went to this beautiful little town called Courmayeur. In Courmayeur, the Mountain basically looks like a giant granite wall (with lots of snow on it) rising up to the heavens. It was really breathtaking! We found out from Chiara's uncle Marco that we should go to a little place near Courmayeur called Lago Miage. We tried the first day we were there, but as it was a Sunday, there were throngs of people, so we decided to go back the next morning. Boy were we glad we did it (see following pics)! It was beautiful.
The Romans had a settlement way back in who-knows B.C. in Aosta, and today there are some parts of the old Roman city preserved. We were trying to tell Norah who the Romans were, and we think she got it, but she usually doesn't even know what day of the week it is, so I don't know how much "2000 years ago" means to her. Anywho, here's the bridge.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Overall, the castle was impressive. I wish the tour guide had been a little friendlier, and I wish the furniture inside was more authentic so we could get a better feel for what life was like in the 1300's. Still, we had a good time exploring the castle.
After our time near Monte Cervino, we headed back toward Aosta and stopped to tour this castle, Castello Fenis. It was restored in the 1930's but dates from the 1200's to 1400's. It was pretty neat to tour another castle, and this time we enjoyed it more because it wasn't winter time. Castles are FREEZING in the wintertime but nice and cool in the summertime!
We took a 3-day weekend trip up to the Val d'Aosta, which is in northwestern Italy, very near the border. There are 2 famous mountains near here: The Matterhorn (Monte Cervino) and Mont Blanc, and we intended to see both! Here's the Matterhon before it became shrouded in clouds...this is the best shot I have of it. You will notice later, it's always hiding behind a cloud bank.
On another nice sunny day, we went to the Parco di Monza and rented one of these 4-person bikes. They squeezed all three kids into the front seat (Susannah was buckled in) and we proceeded to pedal their heavy bottoms all over the park. That has to be one of the heaviest bikes ever made! The kids liked it for a while, but then Susannah started to cry and that just sucked all the fun right out of it!
We went for a day trip to Lago di Segrino, which is a small lake just north of Desio. We bought a day pass to a club where we could use their beach, restrooms, umbrellas, and boats. James took Norah and Luca out on the lake for a ride in a canoe. They had a blast! While we were there, we met some people who happen to live in Desio, and who are friends with Chiara's Aunt Rina! What a small world!
Anyway, after we had our keys back, we drove up over the city of Tirano and had lunch at a lovely restaurant overlooking the valley. Here's Norah waiting for her lunch.
In early July, James' friend (from high school years) Matt and his wife and son came to visit us in Desio. We had dinner one night and the next day, we went to Lago di Como together. The kids played together with their new friend Ezra, and it was fun for Chiara to finally meet Matt and his wife Bevin. We know the kids had a great time, because they all started to cry when we had to say goodbye. They all wanted to spend more time together! Here are Matt and James along with the kids.