Burton Dane Travels

We're traveling through Europe and parts nearby for a year. We'll be posting our pix and adventures here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lago Di Garda

What does this picture look like to you?

How manifest that a _____-shaped lake (complete with _______) is the site of such testosterone-ridden sport as windsurfing, kiting, sailing, diving and paraflying. SEE PICTURE IF YOU DONT BELIEVE ME.

This um, lake, is surrounded by a remarkable mountain watershed that looks like something from an adventure movie and around its edges lie be-suited (and un-suited) bathing beauties.

There is an island near the narrowest part that claims to be land-mined although it is almost a swimmable distance from the shore here. We kayaked there to explore--but did not--and learned that well into the 20th century, the area was still held by the Austrian Empire. Interestingly, Mussolini centered his fascist social republic on the Western shore of Lago di Garda in 1943.

Mark: What I like about the lake’s shape is it allows winds to build in the morning, die in time for lunch and a nap, then build again in the afternoon.

I joined up with the kiters at Xkite to get a bunch of time on the water.

Although it quickly became second nature, I marveled at their methods. They take up to 40 kiters on a pontoon boat and launch them one at a time in the middle of the lake. The calls of “primo” (first) are worth the ride itself.

They have a few smaller boats to launch less than 10 kiters or skitter around relaunching and instructing. It makes for a great way to kite cause there are few hard things around, like land.

The view from the water is of steep cliffs on one side and steep, sloping broken faces covered in olive trees and firs on the other.

The photos show us after our funivia (cable car) ride to the top of Monte Baldo and before our walk down (hey, I’m bald on Baldo...ha, ha , ha, heard that one).

There’s also one of Ben and a friend in a boat at the beach by the campground.... another great visit.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lecchi, Italy

This part of Tuscany/Tuscano is the prettiest we’ve seen. Sharply rolling and folded hills covered with olive trees and vineyards. The wild parts are forested with oaks and cypress. The buildings are exposed stone, typically set on the ridges. The new ones share material and design with the old ones to match perfectly. The towns are small, the life bolstered by tourism but still authentic.

We joined my Aunt and Uncle to enjoy the beauty, foods and weather. Lynn and I took cooking lessons from Simone, the chef at a little restaurant called Malborghetto. He taught us how to make three four-course meals then, paired them with four wines.

These were great lessons. Simone’s cooking style relies on superior ingredients and simple preparations to make delicious and beautiful meals. He taught us all we need to know to duplicate these meals at home. We also learned about coffees, salt, knives, food safety, timing and life in Italy. I added an extra day of lessons, Marilynn is looking to add an extra month next year!

The meals culminated with Frank, Jules and Ben joining us to eat for 2+ hours in the garden patio. We all ate way too much while I drank way too much. This was on moral grounds, we didn’t want any of it to return to the kitchen.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Don's Birthday Video

This illustrates one of my Dad's famous chess rules.

Happy Birthday Dad/Grandpa