I've never been to Italy, and I really enjoyed staying with my friend, Dianne, and her family. Everything I saw was lovely, and everything I ate and drank was delicious! I made some new friends, enjoyed the great outdoors, and tried to learn a little Italian. I visited a cathedral, a castle, an all day spa, and Milan!
Not only did Dianne "give" me Italy, she also treated me to a trip to Switzerland one day! We took a ferryboat and went up Lago Maggiore to Locarno, Switzerland. The boat ride was really wonderful and a great way to see other small lakeside towns, as we headed up the lake. Once we were in Switzerland, we did a little shopping and enjoyed a delightful lunch overlooking the harbor. We also toured the sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso and, of course, bought a good bit of Swiss chocolate. :)
It would be hard to say which adventure was my favorite. I can honestly say I enjoyed it all! I must admit, though, that I have a special place in my heart for Lago Maggiore. I marveled at its beauty every time I saw it. The water was blue and clear and sparkling. Every time I swam in it, I was in awe of the mountains surrounding me. I pinched myself, literally, to make sure I wasn't dreaming when I swam with swans, as I looked up at the castle across the lake.
Best of all, the fun was shared with my friend, Dianne, who made me laugh and made me feel right at home. She was also kind enough to share her friends with me. I've never met such a fun group of women who accepted me so readily. Dianne said it is the culture of the "ex-pats" - people who know what it's like to be in another country that isn't their own - to easily accept others and make them feel welcome. Or, as one of Dianne's friends humorously put it when she first met me, "You'll find this is a really nice group of ladies. Not a bitch in the bunch." :)
Now, it's almost time for me to prepare for the new school year. We have 'camp' one day this week to meet our new sixth graders, and next week will begin the teachers' week of inservice. Things will start getting back into a routine soon enough.
In the meantime, I'm going to treat myself to long mornings with lots of coffee, extra reading time, and lovely afternoon naps.
Life is good...