Sep 23, 2011

Satellite debris to fall over Italy

NASA and other organizations have calculated that lovely Italy ranks highest as the possible recipient of America's space debris. First McDonalds and now UARS!  They estimate the defunct satellite will enter the earth's atmosphere sometime today.

Although they anticipate debris will fall somewhere over central to north Italy, (not near to me) I have the news on so I'll know. I'm unusually curious about this satellite that will disintegrate and leave bits and pieces of itself in Italy. Well, until NASA comes to gather all the pieces.

Perhaps it's my romantic imagination running off with me, thinking that even mindless metal would leave the lazy silence of space, endure the blazing heat upon re-entry if only to have a few parts touch Italian soil.

Enough of that...

(photo from wikipedia)

Sep 13, 2011

Photos Tende France

The clock tower in Tende skirting the edge of the cemetery. 

The neat doorways of the cemetery looking over the town of Tende in France

Cars parked at a dead-end but with a view :-)

With the steep hills surrounding, it's not surprising that gliding would be a popular sport

Sep 11, 2011

La Via del Sale 4 x 4 road in Northern Italy

The Via del Sale or the Salt Road is the name for the various old stretches of dirt roads or trails that run from the inland areas of northern Italy to the coast. They were used in ancient times to transport goods such as wool or weapons to the Ligurian ports to trade for precious salt to preserve their food.

For one reason or another, it's taken four years to finally go in search of one of these high mountainous trails.

One popular trail runs from the Torino area to Ventimiglia on the Ligurian Coast. We decided to skip the trail on the plains and start with the mountainous trail that runs along the French and Italian border.

 Colle di Tenda

Passing through Fort Central
Just before the Tunnel that passes under the Colle di Tenda, we turned right to follow the signs for Tre Amis and climbed until we reached Fort Central above the tunnel.
Coming up to Fort Central
If we were excited to find signs for the Via del Sale, we were soon disappointed to learn that the road was closed to 4 x 4 traffic due to landslides. It was however open to trekkers, horse, bike or motorbike (enduro) traffic.

Bactracking through the Fort, we followed the signs to Valle de Valmasque in French territory. There was the quick way down....

We opted to skirt the hills  before heading back to the valley floor and followed the trail past the remains of yet another fort that was used in WW1.Here is a photo of me on the outer wall of the fort.

A on the fort ruins

On the way down, driving on the edge

Arriving at the town Tenda before going back into the hills on the other side
La Brigue to Nava
Going through La Brigue towards the Notre Dame des Fontaines we followed the dirt road and signs to Nava. A nice fog was coming in which didn't seem to bother this crazy group who had the fortune, seeing they were on two wheels, to take the Via del Sale from Limone to Ventimiglia.

Refugio along the way

The only female rider we encountered on the trail. Brava!

Narrow road with cliff on side and fog rolling in...a nice combo

I want that house on the edge of the world.


Sep 5, 2011

Summer is over, the vacation as well as the weather. The mornings of having my rooms bathed in the soft morning light has been exchanged for the dismal quiet that comes with the closing in of the fog. Blue above is practically non-existent and droplets of rain are par for the course.

So reminiscing a little, these photos highlight our awesome summer. Of course, Tala is a huge part of it....

Our favorite moments, naturally hers, because we played a LOT. What dog wouldn't feel in heaven with sand to dig, water to jump in and a Frisbee to catch. And it's one of natures gifts to let humans see animals express their joy in movement like the last happy leap through the air to pounce on the Frisbee...

The morning light made this sloop look like it was beached on an expanse of sand. The water was so calm almost every morning that we made it our first order of the day.

This man brought his very nervous horse to the beach, which I thought was a good idea since it looked like it wanted very much to buck him. He'd have had a soft landing. I was the only one on the beach and was a little miffed that he decided to stop right next to me to take a dip. But I was entertained by seeing this very fine animal take a swim, then come out to roll in the sand and then rinse off again. (photo taken by my phone so it's not so great.)

 Will miss the food. There is a huge difference between the southern dishes and the northern and I prefer that from Calabria. This was taken when we were at the festival at Bivongi for the Mercato della Badia where there was a large sampling of their typical dishes. Can't for the life of me remember the name of this breaded thing....

Packing the car (the day before) to head back home...Tala was making sure she wasn't going to be left behind. I think she'd be as happy as I would to get back into the car for the 15 hour drive back to sunshine and sand.