Home for the Holidays

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Being based in the Middle East, the major public holidays are centred around the Islamic festivals of Eid al Fitr, and Eid al Adha. The first of these, Eid al Fitr occurs at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and affords us a few days off, which this year we decided to take at our home in Gabiano, Italy – a place we affectionally call The Greenhouse.

We were last here back in August, and that visit inspired one of my early blog posts – since that trip, I have become a bit obsessed with photography, so this was my first chance to use my new camera here, and capture some images of the gorgeous landscapes and buildings located around our beautiful village, and the surrounding area. The view below was taken on a misty Saturday morning, from our bedroom balcony, (using my cameras HDR settings).

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This was only the third time we have stayed at the house, so it still feels very new to us, we are still discovering aspects to the house that we weren’t aware of, and indeed since the last visit, some final building works have taken place. The major feature that we saw for the first time was a wood store, built into the outside wall at the back of the property. This may seem an insignificant item, but despite the very warm temperatures that we experienced during this visit (mid 30’s most of the time), the winters here do get very cold, and we have a stunning wood burning fire built into a wall of the lounge room, so a good stockpile of wood is essential!

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We share ownership of the house with our good friend Maria, and she loves to embellish the property with flowers and greenery – a new favourite plant of mine was found next to the garden basin.

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Franco and Luciana

In my previous blog post about Gabiano, I wrote about our 94 year old next door neighbour, Franco, his wife Luciana, and their friends; they inspired me to learn about the wonderful Italian pastime of ‘dolce far niente’ – the sweetness of doing nothing. Sadly Franco passed away earlier this year, so it was with heavy hearts that we greeted Luciana soon after we arrived. Whilst a few tears were shed, she was still the same bundle of energy that we had met previously, and continues to be a wonderful inspiration, very critical of our inability to speak Italian, and an expert grower of fruit and veggies!

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A lovely picture of Franco, and his friend Mario, taken by Mel, on our previous visit

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Gifts from Luciana, home grown and yummy!

An Evening Stroll

For our first evening, we were invited to dinner at Maria’s house; it’s about a 2 minute drive, or 20 minute walk from The Greenhouse, but as it was a lovely warm evening (plus I was looking forward to a glass or two of vino!) we decided to walk.

The walk is entirely on quiet country lanes, with spectacular views wherever you look. The area is bordered by rich green valleys which then meet with surrounding hills in the distance – it really is quite stunning.

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We settled back at home a few hours later after a delicious dinner, and excellent Italian bubbles. It had been a very long day, but totally enjoyable, and we had so much to look forward to over the coming few days.

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