HORSE ON THE MENU

Category: Val di Non

Wooden, hand-painted sign of "Rooms For Rent" hanging from a red post
2 comments

The 6 Lessons Of Italian Apartment Disasters

No matter whether you’re buying or renting, finding a place to live in a new city or town can be daunting.

You finally find the right place, but it’s out of your price range. You find the right price range, but you’d rather live in a cardboard box than in that neighborhood. Or on that street. Or with those people nearby. You’re always two hours too late to beating the person who “just signed the lease,” or two months too early to the current tenants vacating.

In a foreign country, however, home hunting can be epic. The contractual rules, the currency, even the living standards are different, and then to negotiate all those things through the veil of another language…? Well. You might as well have landed on the moon. (more…)

Running the race with Fernando's wife (Val di Non, Italy)

A Snowless Snowshoe Race: Val di Non’s “Ciaspolada”

The gun sounded and they were off. Their pronged snowshoes digging into the trail, sending snow spray in a zealous arc behind them. These were the die hard competitors, leaving the rest of us in the proverbial “dust” at Val di Non’s Ciaspolada snowshoe race that day.

I tried to take it all in — the news helicopters circling overhead, the building-sized sponsor banners, the fanfare and commotion of so many people at one winter sports event. And as I looked out at the land beyond the snowy trail, trying to gauge the distance to the finish line, all I could see was green.

That’s right: green (or greenish-brown, really). (more…)

Tractor Spreading Muck (Val di Non)

Muck Spreading Season

Val di Non summers are short and cool; the winters, longer and harsher than I was used to, coming from Seattle, WA (USA). That makes spring and fall these sort of brief, frenzied seasons that leave your head spinning. You’d think just four seasons would be enough to round out the year — but no. There’s a fifth season in Val di Non, one people don’t bring up, or fail to mention, or refuse to acknowledge at all.

Yet everyone knows it’s there.

So long as your olfactory senses are intact, you can hardly miss “muck spreading season”. You’ll be forced, in fact, to breathe it in and wonder about it every time it leaves you gagging, grasping for air. And as you ask, How long will it last, this time? (more…)

SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK: 3 Things Not To Do (Part 4)

This is one post in the four-part ‘SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK’ series, including:
* The Encounter (Part 1)
* The Aftermath (Part 2)
* The Invisible Wounds (Part 3)
* What Not To Do (Part 4) 

A dog is running your direction. Perhaps it’s friendly, perhaps it’s not — you aren’t sure. It’s getting closer, but its tail is not wagging, and it’s charging, and…holy h#&*! Within mili-seconds, you’re hit with the realization: this dog is on attack.

Most of us react to a scary dog out of instinct (screaming, running), but this will only put you in greater danger. To keep yourself safe, here are THREE THINGS NOT TO DO in the event of a potential dog attack: (more…)

A darkened tree in water

SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK: The Invisible Wounds (Part 3)

This is one post in the four-part ‘SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK’ series, including:
* The Encounter (Part 1)
* The Aftermath (Part 2)
* The Invisible Wounds (Part 3)
* What Not To Do (Part 4) 

dog attack was not on my list of things to plan for in life.

At first so grateful to have survived, to have incurred so little injury and to have just walked away, I didn’t stop to think: there could be psychological repercussions from this. I kept telling people, “It could’ve been a child, for God’s sakes. Or an elderly lady.” Instead, it was me: able-bodied, resilient adult.

Perhaps that’s why I didn’t see it coming. Hadn’t anticipated the shock that was in store in the days and weeks following the attack. A year and-a-half would pass before I put the pieces together, before I understood: being jumped by a German Shepherd had rattled me to the core. (more…)

Hike with our neighbors' sweet German Shephard

SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK: The Aftermath (Part 2)

This is one post in the four-part ‘SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK’ series, including:

I was bleeding out of my stomach.

It wasn’t a large wound, but there was blood and a visible entry point where the dog bit into me. Today, a scar remains—and in the shape of a dog’s tooth (no less). Looking back, I probably should have had stitches, but the doctor/dentist never offered, and I wasn’t keen on sewing up my own flesh.

(more…)

Dog baring teeth

SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK: The Encounter (Part 1)

 This is one post in the four-part ‘SURVIVING A DOG ATTACK’ series, including:

I’ve been around a lot of dogs in my thirty-some years. I mean a lot.

My childhood involved everything from mutts and a Dalmatian to a brood of Alaskan Malamutes my siblings and I raised with our mother, hooking them to wheeled rigs that we rode around the park (yes, this happened). We’re all bleeding-heart dog lovers, as a result, who take in the strayed/abused/neglected canines of the world — and, today, I’m the only one without a dog.

Which is why it’s so puzzling that, the only time I’ve ever been attacked by a dog was when living abroad. Dogless. And in Italy, of all places.

In Cavareno, to be precise.

(more…)

Happy wood stacks
2 comments

HOW TO TALK ‘NONES’ – Making Friends (Part 3)

This post is one of the four-part HOW TO TALK ‘NONES’ series, including: 

As I mentioned in It’s A ‘Nones’ Life, the Nonesi can be a little hard to get to know — any real entry into Val di Non culture can be a bit of a challenge. As one of our [non-Val di Non] Italian friends living in in the valley explained to us: the Nonesi are as friendly as they need to be, with the expectation that you’ll soon be on your way, returning to wherever you came from.

This is precisely why I’ve put together a cheat sheet, of sorts: lists of things to prepare you for life (or extended travel) in Val di Non. Hopefully you’ll be better prepared than we were when arriving in 2012…as unsuspecting as fish in a stock pond. (more…)

Winter waterfall in Fondo (Val di Non, Italy)
6 comments

HOW TO TALK ‘NONES’ — The Valley of Tears (Part 2)

This post is one of the four-part HOW TO TALK ‘NONES’ series, including: 

Jason asked me one day—the kind of day where boredom lays over everything like dust — “What do you think gets a Noneso really excited?”

I thought about it for a few moments, but could think of nothing, wondering out loud, “Cross-country skiing? Motorbikes…polenta?” The conversation was starting to sound less tongue-in-cheek, and more snarky by the second. Aw, c’mon. That’s unfair, I thought. “I’m sure there are plenty of things…”

But nothing came to mind. Other than talk of saving money (or Amanda Knox — which gets any Italian anywhere all riled up), I’d seen very little that could stir the emotion of a Noneso.

(more…)

Jewish Star

HOW TO TALK ‘NONES’ – “Troppo Jewish” (Part 1)

This post is one of the four-part HOW TO TALK ‘NONES’ series, including: 

Note: A person who speaks the ‘Nones’ language is known as either a Noneso/a (singular male/female) or a Nonesi (plural)

As a baptized Episcopalian who grew up in predominantly Southern Baptist Kentucky with no Jewish family members, I can count on one hand all of my encounters with people of the Jewish faith. I’ve traveled and sojourned in mostly Hindu, Buddhist, or Catholic places, and other than an intense fascination with The Holocaust, I can speak of few legitimate connections to the world of Judaism.

Until now.

(more…)

Dirt motorbike

Spring In Val di Non (aka “Dirt Motorbike Season”)

Springtime, in most places, is a gentle season — a welcomed reprieve from winter’s frosty dull. Things start slowly coming alive, grasses poking their verdant heads above the warming soils, flowers opening like untended wishes. Winter is finally abating, as the landscape is almost imperceptibly colored in.

But springtime in Val di Non is not like this. It’s an outright assault to the senses. (more…)