We’re currently living at the bottom of a steep cliff in Lyon, France. Behind us is a sheer wall of rock about 170 feet, or 52 meters high. It comes crashing almost directly down from the area above with a gentle horizontal slope at the bottom directly into the Saône River. (more…)
We turned around and saw one for the first time. It was outside the coffee bar, just across the narrow street in Fiesole. On the sportello (little door) that covers the gas meter was a painting of a street scene—specifically, the very house that belonged with the painted door! It was signed FL and dated 2013. We smiled at our discovery and asked Riccardo, the owner of the bar, what that colorful picture was all about. He told us about an artist in town who likes to paint pictures on those little utility doors. Interesting! (more…)
After all . . . it was just my favorite hat!
Once in a while, I run across something that really suits me. My blue baseball cap is one of those unique treasures—cool green stitching around the bill, a quirky off-centered design that was a bit tricky to figure out, and, of course, it was broken in just right with sure signs of wear—obviously a fave. (more…)
“È quest’autobus per Santa Brigida? Is this bus going to Santa Brigida?”
Seems like a pretty simple question, but after a 5 hour hike and an hour wait for the last bus of the day, we wanted to be sure. We had no interest in retracing our steps back to the car. ” Sì, questa è l’autobus giusto. Yes, this is the right bus,” she replied with a smile. (more…)
Last week we experienced a serendipitous moment. While browsing online for a nearby restaurant, we came across one with a curious name: Vino y Otros Remedios (Wine and Other Remedies). The name was intriguing with its suggestion of healing the body with great foods and wines, but it was the reviews that really sold us. We cross-checked a couple of sites. Yep . . . it looked like a winner. Since it was located only a block and a half away, we were out the door without giving it another thought. (more…)
At the visitor’s center in the small French town of Saint-Vallier-sur-Rhône, we asked the director, our new British friend Hillary what to do. We had taken the train from Lyon earlier that morning, with the intention of continuing by bus to the tiny burg of Hauterives, to visit Ferdinand Cheval‘s “Ideal Palace.” That was the plan . . . until we found out that the buses were really few and far between. The next bus would be along in 4 hours. A taxi was a logical second choice, but they’re hard to come by, and would be on the super high side of pricey. We were determined to see the Palace—hence our dilemma. (more…)
Walking down a narrow side street in Lyon, on my way for a morning coffee, I (em) caught a glimpse in my peripheral vision of what appeared to be a small salon de coiffure hommes, which basically means barber shop.
Committed to living on the dazzling edge of intuition and spontaneity, I instinctively veered to the right, and found myself standing in the doorway, face to face with Henri B. I didn’t really need a haircut, but the spirit moved me, so there we stood, in close proximity. He was a pleasant man with a gentle demeanor, but spoke no English whatsoever, nor did he want to try. Mostly, we agreed to talk intermittently without any overriding need to understand each other. (more…)
This is a very strange story indeed. However, I swear on a stack of French Bibles from the 1600s that it’s absolutely true. I also know that I would have much more credibility if Cheryl had been with me on this outing, but that’s just not the way it happened. Please hear me out! (more…)
We sat down on the perfectly placed stone bench to enjoy a quiet moment with nature. A rustling sound began somewhere nearby: perhaps two lizards playing, a harmless garden snake, or just leaves blowing in the evening breeze. However, the strange sound intensified and before we knew it, we were sitting amid rubble. Our sacred stone perch overlooking the valley had literally disintegrated beneath us. No one was even slightly injured, but our quiet meditation had been bruised rather badly. (more…)
Yesterday, I walked through the picket gate and casually glanced to my left, where something caught my eye—the light blue ceramic ball floating above the ivy bed.
When we first moved into this magical house some 20 years ago, we decided to fill it with old things, befitting its centenarian status. On weekends, we scrounged the dusty corners of local antique shops in search of finds. One bright Saturday afternoon we found an old lightning rod, like the ones that used to be perched atop houses and barns. We were flooded with fond memories of our roots in the mid-west—the land of grand thunderstorms and crazy lightning. In western Indiana, we actually used to take our kids out for drives during dramatic storms to watch the light show across the theater of the flat fields. They were fantastic! (more…)