Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Simple pleasures

We have arrived! Is it possible to feel utterly content after only three days in this heavenly place? We are quite far out in the mountains, which rise to about 650 meter above sea level, high enough to grant us eagle views and cold nights, where a fire is a wonderful addition to our comfort!
The house promised a lot by just seeing the pictures online, but the reality is completly and disarmingly breathtaking, charming and relaxing.

The kitchen is a Italian country side dream, large and perfectly suited to have many people around the enormous farm house table.

There is a cozy sitting room to read, sit by a large stone fire place or gaze out through French doors into the most wondrous view into valleys and mountain ranges, a music room witha piano and ballroom qualities. Plenty of bedrooms guaranty that all parties have a chance to retreat, take naps or read quietly.
All is furnished in a simple, but stylish and comfortable way, country antiques, most comfortable beds and sofas, original stone floors, huge fireplaces and wonderful views all around. The rooms have old, handcut wooden beams and thick walls to keep the heat out. There are of course all the modern ammenities, from wireless network to modern appliances in kitchen and bathrooms, solar powered hot water and pool. We felt immidiatly at home and the children had no need to fight over the better bedroom...

We are about 20 minutes by car away from town, reached by an alpine road with many curves and breathtaking vistas, small hamlets sit in these mountains, often hidden from view and not that easy accessible. The most romantic places can be found and Sansepolcro has all a traveller seeking Italian architecture, history and landscape
could wish for. The food is delicious, small wine shops sell, apart from wine the most delicious home made cheeses. There are markets in tiny towns, filled with abundance of fruits and vegetables this lovely land has to offer. Peaches and pears, grapes and plumes are ripe now, next to lettuce, squash and tomatos. The area is also known for its original brioches and we indulge shamelessly!

We are so grateful for this place, where we reconnect with each other, our families and just enjoy the simple pleasures of live: walking, reading and dreaming, talking, cooking and eating together. Sitting by the pool and see all children diving, splashing and sunbathing, picking lavender for the bedroms or chasing lizzards around the house gives me such a satisfied and absolutely happy feeling.

There is a natural simplicity to life here! We are here!


PS: I have had trouble uploading pictures today, so there are only a few today, I'll try tomorrow again! (Nothing is perfect... :))

Pictures by V.Zlotkowski

Friday, July 23, 2010

Through the mountains

Having left Munich only two days ago, it seems already weeks behind us. We visited dear friends, enjoyed a great summer night in their garden, where our children reconnected and we grown-ups drank to friendship and life...
But we had to say good bye and hope soon to see each other again. There is simply not enough time...Thank you for everything!!!

Driving through the Alps along the Achensee, Germany into Austria and then fast into Italy was a feast for the eyes! We climbed up and up, the mountains rising with us!

It took us about 4 hours of driving time to reach Venice at around six o'clock.
We were a bit tired, but the sights of the great city revived us quite fast! The children could not believe the gorgeous views, bridges and pallazzos! And even I have ben there before many years ago, I felt like a child again, seeing the places with new eyes.Venice seems to keep a secret and I do not want to discover it, I just walk and walk, looking at the old buildings, being captivated by history and sheer magic!

Some architectural highlights:

These pictures are just a tiny selection, before any editing, truly touristic snapshots, I will do a little work when I am back and show you a lot more of the glorious details I can't resist anywhere!

It is still a little hectic, travelling from place to place and I am so looking forward to finally arriving in Sanseplolcro and to put down tiny roots and feel at home in the hills of Tuscany! And meeting my lovely in-laws and of course the boys & girlfriend...

I hope you are all well, thinking of you and wish you have a great summer of your own!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

German ways

Arrival at Farnkfurt

Our first week almost behind us it has brought family reunions, celebration of my parents 50th wedding anniversary and a landscape which is summer warm and absolutely wonderful.

Volkach on Main

It was wonderful to be reunited with my second oldest son, my parents, sisters and all their families! We talked and laughed together until the sun came up in the morning...

Hotel Four Seasons, Volkach

Brothers reunited...

Me and my sisters...

The region of Franconia in northern Bavaria filled with vineyards and soft rolling hills along the Main river! The food is excellent and the wine even better!

We visited Wuerzburg, the next big city and attractive university town with a most impressive former prince bishop residence.

Horsebackriding in the country side...

Today we left the area to drive towards Munich to visit old friends and here we are now, me just now squeezing a few minutes to tell a little about it!
Via a small thermal bath town south of Munich, where we spend one day, we will go on route to Italy!

So, dear readers, I will report back in a few days, when we reach Venice...


All pictures by V.Zlotkowski

Monday, July 12, 2010


Our foothold in Italy is a wonderful farmhouse in Sansepolcro, a little up in the mountains, overlooking the Tiber valley and only one hour by car east of Florence.

Internet search made it possible and we are so excited about the location. It's sumptuous wine country, hiking country and the cultural cradle of all things beautiful Italian.
We had entertained the idea of going to Italy for a couple of years now, but this time we feel our younger children will be able to truly absorb some new impressions and do not only rely on playgrounds and swimming pools! Touring will be possible and some memories will hopefully be brought back to last a lifetime.

We have a wonderful itinerary, my list to visit places is long, beginning with Florence, its museums and surroundings, Pisa, a visit to Rome and many local explorations. Sansepolcro is the birth place of Piero della Francesca, who's murals and painting are still to be seen in Sansepolcro. I am so inspired by the Italian renaissance and architectural greatness!

Italy has always in my mind been the place for La dolce Vita, a place to receive beauty and to find peace in wonderful landscapes. I will try to do this too, to leave the needs behind and just let the simple life be my guide. Local foods, walks in the mountains, cooking with my darling mother in law and just being with all my children will give me more then I could ask for!
Perhaps some painting will be done and sketches of the landscapes...Photography is my passion, so many pictures will come back with me.

Just let us all be safe, sound, healthy and return home full of energy for a new school and work year ahead!

Wishing you all the most delightful summer!


Pictures from the vacation website.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Service announcement


Dearest readers!

As of mid next week we will be travelling throughout Europe and I planning on keeping a blog travel journal. Hopefully I will be able to post once per week to keep you somewhat updated and show you lovely things I come across while visiting Germany and Italy! Yesterday I introduced you a little to our first itinerary in Germany, since these smaller towns are perhaps not so well known.
I will comment less or not at all during these weeks, but I will read my favorites with my morning cafe latte!!!

This is an exiting trip, since it combines family reunions, sightseeing tours and places we want to show our children for the first time. We will relax and hang out with all 4 children, grandparents too and I will learn to cook some authentic Italian dishes! In bella Italia... in that kitchen!!!!

Just imagine....

And don't forget, live every moment and create memories! A happy weekend to you all!


Images as indicated and google images.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our journey

Modern skyline of Frankfurt am Main

Our journey begins actually in Frankfurt (Goethe's birth place), this is where we start our road trip through southern Germany and Italy! The places we are going to visit are not necessarily well known outside Germany, so I will give you a little introduction and a taste of the region. Germany is a wonderful vacation country, simply due to it's many regions with very particular landscapes, architectural styles and culinary specialities.
Wuerzburg is perhaps better known to Americans, since many American soldiers were stationed there after WWII. By now American military presence in Germany has ended, but many families might remember their stay.
The city is well known for its castle and Wuerzburg residence, the University and lovely location on the river Main.
And on our way to Volkach we will pick up one of our older sons arriving from Berlin in Wuerzburg! Yeah!

Map of Bavaria, Wuerzburg almost at the border on the northwestern corner of Bavaria, Volkach is just 20 minutes away from there towards east along the Main!


From a travel guide:

"Volkacher Mainschleife" (Sinuosity) - Wine Culture, Arts, and Sports All in One Place:

The Volkacher Mainschleife is one of a kind in Germany; only here, the River Main has built this sinuosity over Millions of years. Around the Mainschleife, a Vacation Paradise has evolved in Volkach and its quarters of Astheim, Escherndorf, Fahr, Köhler, Dimbach, Eichfeld, Gaibach, Krautheim, Obervolkach, and Rimbach, as well as in Nordheim, Sommerach, Obereisenheim, Untereisenheim, Stammheim, and Wipfeld: Idyllic villages and spots in every season.

Volkach, town hall.

The Mainschleife is also THE region for wine, fruit, and asparagus in the Franconian Wine Country. Between late April and late June, the Volkacher Mainschleife is a Mecca for asparagus fans. Seamlessly the wine season follows: vintner and wine festivals offer wine to taste, before fall brings the peak season and the wine harvest. To watch the vintners do their work first-hand is a special experience.

When it comes to culinary treats, the Mainschleife is just as unique: Enjoy typical, Franconian meals, as well as selected asparagus and fish dishes, along with the matching wine.

Bocksbeutel wine

And, of course, there are the cultural highlights: The Pilgrimage Church "St. Mary in the Vineyard" with its Riemenschneider-Madonna, the baroque "Schelfenhaus", and the "Barockscheune" ("baroque barn") museum in Volkach for instance, or the "Kartause" museum in Astheim with its church treasures; just a few of the many unique destinations.

Tilman Riemenschneider(c. 1460 – 7 July 1531) Madonna and Child.

For those who prefer a more athletic approach, the region offers an excellent network of biking trails which are also great for inline-skating. The Main River itself also offers a variety of activities such as fishing or sailing. If you want to learn more about the region, the Tourist Information of Volkach will be happy to help out. Telephone: +49 (0)9381/40112 or online: www.volkach.de
End of quote.

My parents have spent many happy vacation times in Volkach, enjoying the walks and the wine.
They choose this lovely place to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and I am so glad their beloved destination is for all of us to enjoy!

From there it goes after 6 days towards Munich

and then we will continue our journey towards Bad Toelz, a small town in the Alpen region.

It's thermal baths have attracted us before and we will stop and take a dip!

From here we will begin our travels into Italy and I will give you a small preview on Sunday!

You can imagine how excited we all are and that I sit here, apart from squeezing some time at the blog, having my hands full and my head in suitcases! :) Only a few more days!!!


Well, I do not mind at all!

My check list is almost complete:

Pick clothes to take (for all 4 of us!!!)- check
Pick shoes to take - check
Hairdresser - check, this morning....:D
Nail salon together with my daughter: still to do
Drop off dog at bording home: next week
Major house cleaning: I know, will do as late as possible...and all the odds and ends, which pop up when you need it least, like the just broken water boiler.....Yikes!

I so love getting ready!!!


All images via google image.
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