Before I begin this week’s post I am going to ask a favor of all of you. Please DO NOT DISCLOSE what you are about to read to anyone other than trusted friends/family – I will say no more other than show this:
More about this transgression in a minute, first let me set your minds at ease as no doubt you have had sleepless nights since last week’s post, wondering what on earth is “CIAMONIELLO?” Travelling the world imparts a great many things: respect for cultures other than your own, appreciation of history, art, awe of innumerable natural wonders around us, spiritual enlightenment and personal growth and many more. It also shows you that there are many universal truths As is written in Chapter Three of The Book of Ecclesiastes (or for those more musically inclined, lyrics “written” (borrowed) by Pete Seeger for his tune, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” sung most famously by The Byrds in 1965):
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
This was indeed a time to embrace…a time to laugh…a time to dance – and this picture proves it:
This is our delightful guide, Giampiero Faga, whose joie de vivre so overtook him that he chose this lovely lady sitting with a companion – not part of our group – to dance with. And, as it turned out – she told us a sweet love story which is not really a digression from my theme as it so deftly illustrates “a time to love. It turns out that these two people were part of separate married couples who had been fast friends over the years. Sadly, the husband of this woman and the wife of her companion passed away. Through common sorrow and healing they turned to each other and are now blissfully together; not married, but having a wonderful time. Viva amore!
Now back to the main story. Ours was a merry group and didn’t need a reason to celebrate – however upon a day it was the birthday of one of our party (to my fellow Classic Journeyers I have mixed and matched pics/dates to enhance the story) so special acknowledgement was needed – and what better way than toasting with this very Italian liqueur – lemoncello:
Now our birthday girl (as with all my posts I do not show pictures or names of others than myself – I did however get special dispensation from Giampiero to use his (Gracie, Giampiero) became very merry after a number of toasts – and in good time – “lemoncello” became “CIAMONIELLO.” The entire troupe adopted this – and it became our special secret code – to the consternation and confusion of a few of the waiters who had no idea what we were yelling:
NB: not our real waiter – one of the few pictures I did NOT take.
In truth, our entire time in the Northern Lake region was a celebration – of love, life, natural and man-made wonders and most of all – appreciation of simple pleasures. This was exemplified in our visit to a local cheese maker during our excursion to Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore is the most westerly of the three large Prealpine lakes of Italy and the second largest after Lake Garda. The Prealps refers to the Alpine foothills at the base of the European Alps’ they are the transition zone between the High Alps to the Swiss Plateau and the Bavarian Alps in the North, the Pannonian Basin in the east, the Padan Plain in the south and the Rhone Valley in the west. Don’t know why buy I have the sudden urge to yodel:
More on Lake Maggiore’s in a future post – for now let me introduce you to some of my adorable new friends that I met at the farm:
We had many onlookers while we visited these lovely milk cows – a large family of cats (unfortunately I am allergic to their dander so as cute as they were – I had to keep my distance) dogs, pigs and the like. I did keep my eyes on this fellow, as he didn’t seem too pleased that I was handling his women:
We were given a tour of the cheese making facility showing us a quick A to Z on the process of making everything from yogurt to long aged hard cheese: Once the cows are milked (twice a day) the farmers get down to it – I have tremendous respect for these tireless workers:
But of course our education could not be complete without a tasting of the delicious finished products – including the local specialty, “La Toma del Mottarone” (Mountain or Country Cheese) fresh milk and of course some local wine for those of us who felt it was getting close to cocktail time:
Magnificent – as nothing went to waste as that cat family i mentioned waited in the wings (or closer) for any scraps:
So as you can see, this visit is not something we want to share with other than our trusted friends and families please!
Bellies full after our lovely aforementioned lunch, we headed down to the lake side town of Stresa to board a private boat for a ride west across Lake Maggiore to Isola Bella (Beautiful island) to see palaces and gardens built in the 17th century by one of Italy’s wealthiest families, the Borromeos. In fact the three islands of the area, Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola di Pescatori are called the Borromean Islands. Here’s a little sneak peek of the Isola Bella and part of the gardens of the Palazzo Borromeo:
So next week we will explore: WHAT THE RICH FOLK DO. Until then –
Avere una settimana di stabilimenti!