Coffee and Scenery

It must be because so few of my prayers are answered that I feel like it’s a miracle when they are. It’s not really fair to say so, since it’s quite obvious that much of what matters in my life I take for granted. In other words, if any one of a myriad of my blessings were taken I’d be horrified that I hadn’t appreciated them as miracles before losing them. I don’t want to have to lose it all to appreciate my blessings, however empty I may feel on any given day.

On this given day I had a coffee before I rode a Haflinger into the mountains. A trip that generally takes two hours we did in one with me on my tank and Franz on his Marremano. Thursday morning we will try to go again. This time I want to ride the Marremano.

It was quiet in the mountains. There were no people, some goats, lots of trees and trails to follow. The world is rich with water here so there’s no lack of green. Old houses litter the roads, they’re all in various states of habitation from totally renovated to totally abandoned. The trails are in excellent shape and you can run, walk, or trot at your leisure. They aren’t too steep or too flat, there are no bikes or cars in the way, and we passed half a dozen open meadows just begging to be galloped across.

After the ride Franz offered me a coffee.

In the afternoon we went to Stefania’s parents’ for lunch. It was a typical European meal, complete with Mom and Dad and several courses including dessert. We took our time eating and talking. Then we had a coffee.

Stefania and her sister took me for a walk behind the house. We followed an old Roman road through the vineyards and apple orchards. It was a steep climb and I quickly forgave myself for the tiramisu. At the top of the climb sits a picturesque mansion called the Villa Maria. There’s an enormous tree in front shading an iron table with seating for twelve. The villa is plaster covered, with stone sills and wood shutters. The driveway is so huge it’s paved in gravel and iron gates at least twenty feet high block the view to the front door. It’s magnificent.

A little further down the road is another castle. It’s tiny in comparison to some of the others along the valley walls. It’s privately owned and lived in. These castles are everywhere. They’re no different from the houses, some empty and abandoned, some renovated, some lived in.

After the walk we stopped back at the house to have a coffee before going to another village by the lake. We walked through the narrow streets, I bought a few souvenirs for my family, and we had a coffee.

After a few days here I feel that life isn’t very different than it is at home or anywhere else in the world, probably. It’s the scenery that’s changed…and there’s a lot more coffee.

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