29 December 2006

Fun In the Alps

"Peaceful Pragelato" Mecca for Nordic skiers
Our guests have come and gone and now we await our guests for Capo D'Anno(that's new years to you). We had a great Christmas at Bella Baita, with new friends. There was lots of eating and drinking with story telling too. Hot spiced wine, many Christmas cookies, Italian goodies and a foray up the upper valley for a bit of skiing atmosphere, made for more than a few memorable moments. Not all of our guests were skiers, but everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and snow. It was a great day out and a good time was had by all. It's a pretty mild winter for us and the snow that we did have around the house has crept away. Winter is the quiet time of the year for us at Bella Baita, except for the Christmas /New Years holidays and last year's Winter Olympics, of course. 19 days until this years Universiade. We're not far from several ski areas, so we like to get a bit of skiing in ourselves, while we regroup for the coming spring, summer and autumn seasons. We have a few ideas for next winter to keep us busy and off the slopes more than we would like, but we'll just keep that under wraps for now.
Winter or summer Val Chisone offers something for everyone all year round.

"Sestriere" of World Cup and Olympic Downhill fame

24 December 2006

Have A Merry Merry

We're having a great time here in the alps for Christmas. We are anticipating our far flung guests with lots of preparation for food, drink, decorations and general merriment. I hope all of you will have a wonderful holiday and that the real Santa and his helpers find their way to your home.
If you find you're looking for an Italian Christmas in the Alps, we hope you'll consider visiting with us here at Bella Baita Mountain Retreat, your home sweet home away from home, and base for discovering Piedmont's mountain charm!

22 December 2006

Last Minute Giving Idea

Down for the count till the holiday officially begins. Inundated with lots of requests for money for this or that or so many to buy for. Honestly It seems to me that a few small meaningful or useful gifts amongst the immediate family and friends is quite enough. Of course with children it's always fun to see the excitement of "children's faces looking up holding wonder like a cup...". that is of course before they get older and jaded. Sigh...
My suggestion for Christmas or any other time of the year is a great gift giving idea from some folks in Portland Oregon. They are called mercy kits from Mercy Corps and for as little as $35 you can give a struggling family a selection of seeds for a family garden or for a bit more a goat for a gift that continues to give year after year. These kits are useful and tailored to all parts of the world, the US included and embrace many ways of enabling people to help themselves. There are other gifts that you can purchase, where your recipient will receive a wreath or easter flower basket or some other lovely and thoughtful gift, where part of the purchase price goes to the many varied projects that Mercy Corps have implemented. Rebuilding kits for Katrina, children's food kits, rain forest kit, just to name a few. Book mark their site and think about a meaningful and generous gift throughout the year that will not only bless the giver and the receiver, but connects you in a way that isn't easily forgotten.
My wish for all of you is health and contentment.
"I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting."


16 December 2006

Torino/Turin Window Displays

Continuing on with the theme of big city Torino/Turin outings. I have been enjoying wanderin
g around somewhat aimlessly, naturally drawn to all the food displays, whilst I have been making weekly trips to Torino to see my dentist. This week is the last appointment for a long while I hope. Paolo is a wonderful dentist, but dental work is never as much fun as window shopping.

13 December 2006

Italian Christmas lights... Torino style

Christmas in the city is always a magical time, " secondo mei".
As a kid growing up in rural America going to the city at Christmas time was a thrilling adventure.

For me it meant getting up at the crack of dawn, settling into the back seat of the car, sleeping till we reached the mighty Mississippi where the rural farm land slipped away as we passed over the bridge and the big city loomed large and strange. It was a mysterious and fascinating special day. We would spend the day in search of the most beautiful and lavish Christmas displays and the shortest line to tell Santa where he could find us and what we would love to see under the tree.
I still get a thrill anytime I go into to a major city especially at Christmas time. I have a fascination for the lights and store displays. Torino has that unique European flavour mixed with an exoticness that now I almost take for granted. I find myself feeling like a kid again lingering over many small details and not wanting to miss a thing!

08 December 2006

More Bells

I had a few comments from "it's all about the bells" that I needed a few more bells,
so here are a few more a few more in.
Not exactly Christmas bells but seasonal all the same.

03 December 2006

November Morning or Fabrizio says "the seaside at winter time"

Sometimes our view can be so amazing that it's hard to believe that it's the same place. Bella Baita's view from our balcony never ceases to capture my eye an make me go oooh ahhhh.....

01 December 2006

It's all about the Bells

Fall Festivals have always had a special appeal for me. The one in my small town growing up were all about getting back to school and wearing all those new autumn clothes that were too warm in the beginning of September to wear. By the time the fall festival rolled around there was a crispness to the air and apples everywhere and all those foods that only get made by the ladies of the church or D.A.R. for the fund raiser of the year. Silly carnival rides and animals getting the coveted blue ribbon first prize before that trip back home in the cattle truck and the family piled into the cab up front and back. It was just a lot of fun. It's not so different here, although the animals usually arrive under their own steam with the family either on foot or some on horses and everyone gathering around admiring their cows or their neighbors herd of sheep or goats. Then there are the stands of fruit, veg, crafts , or vendors selling everything you need to mend your harnesses or make your own wine. The women folk wander off to have a look round all the market vendors that have arrived on a day different from their regular day and, Mio Dio, they're staying open past 12:30, the magical witching hour when everyone shuts down and goes home to have a proper meal and siesta. Not on festival day. The stands stay open although everyone is in the back having a bite to eat or sometimes the family brings along a fold up table and chairs complete with real cloth tablecloth and proper food. The farmers take their animals home for lunch after the awarding of the biggest and best bell to the honored cow, goat or sheep. There is quite the cacophony of bells, whistles, maaing and mooing as the herd and entourage of family in cars, on foot or the beloved "vespa" to make the trek home and enjoy a bit of respite after a morning enjoyed visiting or gossiping with your neighbors. Seems like a grand idea to me.

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