05 December 2005

Holiday season

Our wandering had a stop lately. Luca, my boyfriend, is working a lot and there's no much time for going around. Nevertheless we have discovered a new Berkeley neighborhood, well "new" at least for us. It's "Elmwood". Nice wooden houses, few upscale shops and some nice restaurants. We have even found a pet shop, finally!

Good news is also that we will spend Christmas in New York, and I look forward to the snow, the holiday lights, ice-skating (with 10000000 tourists from all over the world), window-shopping, freezing in the streets, Central Park all frosted, etc... etc... :-)

Of course we "just" need a good pet sitter in Berkeley for the holiday season... any help?

04 December 2005

Planning future travels

Because we will be staying in California longer that we thought, we wish we could use this extra-time on the west coast to visit those places:

Monterey bay & Big Sur
Las Vegas
Hawaii - Kauai island
The Grand Canyon
The Anasazi pueblos
and... Why not Mexico! :-)

Let's see where actually we will be able to go before June 2006...

28 November 2005

Fat Friend

Here is Phileas again, fatter and fatter. Who said that fruits don't make you fat? ;-)

17 November 2005

Animal Planet

It's been a quiet period lately. We didn't travel much, but worked hard. Nevertheless, apparently California is so nature-friendly that if you don't go to the wild, the wild comes to you! And we are enjoying our small-scale wilderness in the garden.

We have Phileas Figues the squirrel, who every morning comes for a visit and picks his favorite figs from our tree and eat them on the fence (where politely he leaves the peels)

We had an amazing encounter with a flurry fatty funny raccoon, Rocky, who came with a friend and spent some time on the fence, looking at us, with as much curiosity as we had

And we have, of course, a lot of kitties. Our lady Pernilla had a very bad fight recently with another cat - we actually had to bring her to the hospital - and since then her tongue stays out of her mouth... Look at her eyes!! We really hope she'll get better...

31 October 2005

Crochet week

I'm learning how to crochet (thanks to the power of Internet!) and I am all absorbed by my handcrafts.

Because I have realized that this is a real addiction I have opened a new blog just for crochet :-)
Check it out: "Cloudy Crochet"

16 October 2005

Napa - Getting Drunk with Coppola

Next stop due was the Niebaum-Coppola (yes, Francis Ford) vineyard. Being a cinephile I couldn't avoid at least seeing this kitsch place. Imagine Paris les Jardins des Luxembourg in California style. Very funny.

The wine tasting was 15$ so we skipped it. Made a quick tour of the castle, there is a shop and a movie museum dedicated to the filmmaker.

Next stop was the V. Sattui Family a very popular place where the wine tasting is free and the wines are cheap.

Sure this place looks like an "autogril", but we took a bottle anyway.

Then before dusk we made a final stop at Charles Krug winery (a Mondavi winery) for a last wine shot. This, in my opinion was The Best wine we had in all day.
On the way back, taking the Silverado trail again we had this gorgeous shot of the moon on the vineyards. What a great - alcoholic - day!

Napa Valley - Mondavi

Because we found ourselves drunk at 11 am we needed lunch. So we moved toward Yountville, a small town, absolutely adorable, where we had a very good meal and where, if you like, you can take air balloon and explore the valley on air. I'm certainly not interested since I hate to fly and I suffer from vertigo, but it must be something really interesting to do.

Anyway, after lunch we realized that many wineries close around 4-5 pm, so we had to rush and drink as much as we could!

The first stop was the Robert Mondavi vineyard. Our touring guide says that it's a must see place, where all the Napa Valley phenomenon begun.

So we paid our due respect to Mr Mondavi and tasted three wines (5$ each glass!) and realized that his wines are really really bad!!!! but his estate is a great place to see.

Napa Wine Country - Silverado trail

Luca's mom went to visit us so we decided to explore the wine country - al least a small part of it - tasting as many wines as we could. I must say that I'm not a fan of American wines, in fact I mostly drink French wines, which are good and reasonably priced. But, hey, since we are in California, let's try local wine production!
So we rented a car (a very goofy white Ford Taurus) and we headed for the Napa Valley. After an uninteresting 40 miles, we saw the first vineyard and it was sudden love!

Look at it, isn't it beautiful? We all were impressed by the vastitude of it. Miles and miles of vineyards. Leaving the bigger route we took Silverado trail, a very charming and scenic route among so many wineries.

Although we had a list of wineries we couldn't decide which visit and which skip so we chose randomly the "Monticello vineyard", because of the evocative name (President Jefferson's estate).

As you can see the place is BEAUTIFUL, and the wine full bodied (too much for my taste but Luca and his mom liked it) and very expensive. For 10$ each we had a 4 wines tasting, and immediately found ourselves drunk. It was 11 am...

15 October 2005

Waiting for Halloween

Look at this. My very first Jack-O'-Lantern!
Isn't it nice?? :-D

Thanks to the precious instruction I've found on this Pumpkin Carving website
I couldn't have done it without the precious help of my kitties, though...

Look at her, so vain and mysterious witch

And here she is, ready to leave for a night of follies

11 October 2005

Living on the edge

Of the fence...

One thing that we all have enjoyed here in California is the small garden of our house

The kitties have discovered a new life on the fence. They will miss it in New York

A whole new world made of trees, birds, squirrels, hummingbirds and much more

And don't forget the dust! Actually we've changed the name of one of our kitties in "Dusty (Springfield)" because she really likes dust!

03 October 2005

Sunset on Stinson beach

Stunning sunset on Stinson Beach

Even the birds were enjoying it!

Muir Beach

After all these woods we wanted to see the Ocean! So we headed to Muir Beach

Our first encounter with the Pacific Ocean

And I've tasted it and it was... cold!

Sunny day on the shore

Have you ever seen such big mussels?

Muir Woods

Our exploration of Northern California could not avoid the magic Muir Woods

Do you remember the famous scene in Vertigo? ;-)

This wood is really magic, there is something unique in the air

Look, a deer!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a lovely stream

But I'd rather not stay here alone...
Blair witch Titta

26 September 2005

Yosemite - Day 2

On the second day in the park we headed toward the Tuolumne Grove, home of the giant sequoias.

It was even more incredible that we had expected. What a natural wonder!

Can you imagine a tree that big? Astonishing!

After lunch we took a walk on the northern part of the park, toward Lukens Lake. There, we found a complete silence. Nobody around. It was extremely emotional and scaring at the same time. I was thinking all the time "I hope no bear will show up and kill me". We even saw some blond hair (or fur?) on a tree. Maybe a Mountain Lion or a Wild Cat had scratched his back there. Beautiful!