Hello everyone!. Sorry for the absence. I checked out for a bit. We did a trip to Italy for my husband’s 50th and then met his family in Switzerland where we shared a house. My sons have been home and we have been enjoying a lot of lazy days without schedule and to be honest it’s been very nice. I have been trying to be away from the computer and social media and enjoy an old fashioned summer. Thanks to that I have enjoyed three books and am working on another.
Life has been a bit of a blur and as much as I like things like Facebook and Instagram, I just realized how much time daily is given up to such things. Books stacked on my bedside weren’t going to read themselves if I didn’t find some way to do less yet more meaningful things. This summer I tried to eat more ice cream, sit in the yard more and watch the birds, garden, hang with friends and generally be in the moment.
Being in Italy and Switzerland, you notice how adept Europeans are at savoring summer, the good weather and getting out during the warm months. Walking through the narrow streets of the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome on evening, we saw people migrating to the street with their chairs, a glass of wine, food and sometimes a dog. They chatted with their neighbors or just sat and took in the warm night. A roaming string group moved throughout the neighborhood playing Mozart and people meandered by on bikes. It made me feel envious that they really get what it means to enjoy life.
Here in California, with beautiful weather more days than not, it is rare to see people coming outside to socialize with their neighbors in the evenings. I read that in societies where this is common, people have the longest life expectancies. It makes sense. It has to be good for the heart and the soul.
Speaking about good for the heart, I have to tell you about the Berner-Oberland, where I stayed in Switzerland. This area is nestled in the heart of the Alps, surrounded by mountains and lovely lakes. There are no cars or roads and the only way to get around is via gondolas, trams and cog-wheeled trains. We stayed in the town of Wengen, which is just lovely and has a charming village with wonderful restaurants and shops and is surrounded by little farms and Swiss homes.
We walked everywhere and most days did over 20,000 steps- most uphill and at high altitudes. Our Air B&B was a walk up a small, steep hill and I struggled too get up there at the end of a the day, but by the end of the week, it became much easier. My husband and I swore we had never seen so many older fit people in our lives. They walked those hills with ease and clearly the diet of Alp cheese, sausages and local beer wasn’t hurting them too much. After a day of adventuring, I slept like a baby each night wrapped up in my down comforter with the sound of faint bells from the nearby goat farm.
In later posts, I’ll share all the details about Italy and Switzerland in case you plan to go. Both are wonderful yet so different. In fact packing was my biggest challenge on this vacation as I brought one carry-on size suitcase. Resort clothes were on my mind when I packed for Italy as we spent most of the time in Positano and Sorrento. Rome however requires a little more city dressing and of course Switzerland requires mountain clothes. That means clothes to hike in and layers. I brought a rain jacket and a ultra light puffer coat (I never travel anywhere without it), but still ended up cold. Fortunately I found a Benetton store in Grindelwald and was able to get a pair of black leggings to sleep in and to wear under jeans in the 40 degree evenings and to the Jungfrau. I never thought I could be so cold in JULY! Turns out it was an exceptionally cold week when we were there.
Our last day of Switzerland we had warm weather and explored the beautiful city of Zurich. I loved it and wow talk about stylish people. They are turned out with very simple jackets, trenches and pretty tailored pants and cool shoes. These people looked amazing and the Swiss are beautifully groomed- men and women.
One trend that was very big in Europe was the Birkenstock! Europeans are obsessed with them. My friend Jeanne told me all the Italians had then last year, especially the silver, gold or white versions. I saw the same in Italy and all over Switzerland. However, one difference is the way they wear them- it’s usually with a tailored sundress, so the look is a little casual dressy and it looks great.
When I got home I pulled out my old Michael Kor’s version of Birks and have been wearing them with my simplest black sundress and feeling cool!
Now we are off to St Louis for a wedding, so I hope I’ll have more from there to share too. If anyone has tips for that area, I’d love to hear them. I know we are going to the arch and I am excited for this wedding!
Hope you are enjoying summer and the simple things.