Like a fly on the wall…

We’re back in Venice now, getting ready to come back home. The thing about being away for so long is that you can settle into a travel rhythm where you do not feel compelled to rush about and see as much as you can. So this time back to Venice we sat at the side of a beautiful square and watched life happen. 

There’s no grass to speak of in Venice. It’s pretty much all paved with stone, so the squares around the churches (there are 130 churches on this tiny collection of mud flat islands that make up the historic city of Venice) are the playgrounds and parks of the area. We sat on the rock block of an ancient building’s foundation, worn smooth by the seats of countless people before us, and took it all in. 

There was a guitar-playing busker providing the perfect backdrop to the scene, making it feel like we were watching a movie montage. The sunlight was just right: soft and yellow, glowing and warm, making the church bricks redden and gleam. Families were out, friends and neighbours were visiting, people were walking their dogs, and tourists were walking through, some with suitcases in tow and some without, speaking different languages. Not a child went by who didn’t try to chase a pigeon. Some were in a hurry and some were taking it easy. It was a beautiful scene. 

Come, sit, like a fly on the wall, on the side of the square with us. Sorry I can’t share my gelato with you…


P.S. We’ve had some fantastic adventures in both Italy and Slovenia, which I will share with you soon. Stay tuned!

The Ladin Valleys – A Linguist’s Dream

We have moved from our base in San Cassiano to a little apartment in the hamlet of St. Linnert, outside the village of Badia. Grounded by some rain in the valleys and snowfall in the rock-filled areas (a little too early in the season, say the locals!), our via ferrata adventures are on hold for the moment. But we’re enjoying this landscape, nevertheless. We’re exploring WW1 ruins, hiking, and taking in the language and culture of the area (while praying for sun and warmer temps!). Read More

The Col Rosa (Ettore Bovero) Via Ferrata

This via ferrata, situated near the town of Cortina, represented a long, but very worthwhile day’s adventure up a dramatic peak, the Col Rosa. It is the toughest VF that we’ve done to date. Though it was rated a 3B, it was very unlike the 3B we did at Corvara the other day. This one was full-on climbing for an extended period of time with very airy exposure, most of the time. Read More

Piz da Lech Via Ferrata

One of the beautiful things about hiking in Europe is that there are so many ski resorts in the mountains here that it’s possible to do lift-assisted hiking in virtually every town you come upon in the summer in this South Tyrol region. Doing that, you can then spend the bulk of your time up in the views! (And get strudel at the base… just thought I’d mention it! It’s Germanic Italy here, after all.)

Piz da Lech is a via ferrata that begins near the town of Corvara. Perched above the town, it is easily accessed by taking the Boè gondola, followed by the Vallon chair lift, up to a point on the mountain that is within a short hike to the start of the VF route. It has outstanding views from the top of the Sella group of mountains, with their dramatically-cut stone pillars and deep chasms. The Sellas are mountains that remain hidden from view until you summit up top… and catching a glimpse of them from way up there is so well worth the effort! Read More

Averau… Part Via Ferrata and Part WW1 Adventure

The main reason we came to Italy was to do via ferrata. It was something we’ve only done once before, and it captured our hearts and imaginations, so much so that we planned a vacation around it two years later. Back in 2015, on our last day in Arco, Italy, we rented equipment and gave it a go. And we loved it! Oh how we loved it!

In via ferrata, there is an iron cable bolted into the rock. It’s a permanent fixture on the mountain’s skin. Read More

Ciao, from Venice

Adventure, for me, takes many forms. If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that it can certainly come from pushing physical limits, scrambling in the mountainous landscapes I love. But it means more than that for me. I want to see and to explore difference… life lived in contrasts brings out the sense of adventure, and a deeper appreciation of the experiences we have in this world. Read More

Jura Canyon Playground

Jura Creek Canyon is an amazing place to take young children. The fun part of the first canyon is just minutes away from the trailhead, so even the youngest, smallest feet can make it there. And when you get there… well, let’s just say it’s the ultimate playground!

Rock twists and turns, sculpted smooth by the passage of water through weaknesses in the rock over a millennia. Sunlight filters through, where it can, from the narrow opening above. The water is never deep (outside of spring run off time), and keeping feet dry becomes a fun game that encourages kids (and the kids inside every adult that goes there!) to use their bodies in new found ways, balancing on logs, doing the splits from wall to wall, making human bridges across water channels. The walls are close and ever so fun. Read More

Hiking the Paradise Valley to Sentinel Pass & Moraine Lake

We had a plan. And we thought it was a great one (probably our first mistake!).

Knowing how crazy Moraine Lake parking can be, we thought we’d drive up, park & lock up a bike, then head 10km back down the road to the Paradise Valley trailhead, park, and hike in. We’d do the detour to have lunch at the giant steps waterfall, hike out the other side of that loop, head up and over the lofty 2600m Sentinel Pass for a fantastic snack, and wind up back where we’d planted our bike on the shores of beautiful Moraine Lake. Bill would then ride down to the car & bring it back up the road while I waited with Seamus and our packs. Read More

What Goes Up Must Come Down (Abbot Hut Part 5)

This the last of a five part series of posts on our adventures in the Lake O’Hara area. If you missed the earlier posts, go here:

We woke up the next morning to clear skies and no smoke… a spectacular day in which to explore the remainder of the Alpine Circuit at Lake O’Hara… a spectacular day to make that dreaded scree descent. Read More

Abbot Hut Stories (Part 4)

This the fourth in a five part series of posts on our adventures in the Lake O’Hara area. If you missed the earlier posts, go here:

This hut has incredible, rustic charm, a long mountaineering history, and plenty of tales to tell. While achieving the climb to the historic refuge, and being up there, on top of the world, adventuring, cooking, sleeping and eating with great friends was an amazing experience, what captured my imagination even more were the stories of the people who had come before us. Read More