Lugano

During choir tour, we had one day off as a free day. Some people went to Lake Como nearby, others stayed in Lodi, and some went to Milan. F. and I went with F.’s dad to Lugano, a town and lake in Italian Switzerland.

IMG_8701

It was low key. We went to Lugano, had lunch, found a spot next to the lake, and hung out. We swam a little bit but the water was really cold and got deep very quickly. We read some, and I fell asleep. We didn’t have time to go up one of the mountains in a cable car, but that’s okay. I got what I wanted: to relax.

Delayed trains got us back to Lodi at nearly midnight. We were worried about getting back into the boarding school, as there were only four keys for the twenty of us and neither F. nor I had one. But we needn’t have worried, as there was a group from our choir still having drinks in the piazza.

Since they were going to stay out a bit longer, F. and I went back to where we had heard some dance music. It was an open air club, full of teenagers, with a bar and a DJ — only, no one was dancing! But we didn’t care. Despite being nearly twice the age as most of the other patrons, we chose a corner of the square and danced. Freestyle, discofox, a bit of ceilidhing, and other steps F. taught me. Afterwards, we discovered that the choir had followed us there and were watching us, but it didn’t matter — we enjoyed ourselves, and probably had the most fun out of everyone there!

Favourite things

Swinging:

IMG_8431

That swing set is over 60-years old, and it’s been standing in my back garden seat-less for who knows how long. That is, until F. made a seat for it for my birthday. Since then I’ve enjoyed swinging in my very own back garden whenever I want.

Ceilidh in the Castle

Every year there has been a ceilidh in the castle and every year I’ve missed it — except this year.

IMG_8276

And it was such a beautiful spring day! It was so much fun. Usually ceilidhs feature a lot of dances where you keep changing partners during the dance but this one only had two dances like that, which meant that F. and I actually got to spend most of the evening dancing together.

A video of ‘The Dashing White Sergeant’, one of my favourites, but one we had to sit out because we couldn’t find another group of three.

This was by far the best, most fun ceilidh I’ve been to. I’m so glad I went, at last!

Snowdrops at Cambo

IMG_8089For our Monday Adventure, F. and I again went hunting for snow — and found snowdrops. Every spring Cambo Estate has a Snowdrop Festival and every year we each have missed it, so we made a point in going this year on our day off. We had to go soon, I pointed out, because the crocuses were already starting to bloom.

Cambo Estate has lots of woodland paths, a walled garden, and goes right down to the sea. I’ve never been inside the house, but the mansion is used for receptions and a B&B. We spent a couple of hours just wandering around the woodland, following the burn, and even walked across a big sturdy log that bridged the burn. It was some two metres above the water. I felt very brave.  🙂

The snowdrops carpeted the ground like… well, like snow! It was beautiful. I’m so glad we went and that it happened to be a clear, gorgeous, bright and sunny day.

IMG_8115IMG_8083   IMG_8105

Loch a’Choire

F. and I went hunting for snow again last Monday and we found it near Pitlochry. We didn’t see much of Pitlochry itself, heading straight to the path that would take us around the base of Ben Vrackie.

There was a lot of snow. It was beautiful, exhausting, and a lot of fun. I kept stopping to look at the snow, the ice, the rocks, the drifts. Such fascinating formations it creates! (Click on photos to enlarge.)

IMG_8006

IMG_8013 IMG_8031 IMG_8051

This is Ben Vrackie with Loch a’Choire frozen at its base. We didn’t know how technical it would be in wintry conditions, so we just walked to the loch and then turned back the way we came. The snow was too icy to make snow angels and too soft to try sledding (at least, to try sledding using the plastic bags we brought along). But the drifts were big and deep and fun for jumping in.IMG_8036

On our way back we caught up with an older Scottish couple we had passed earlier in the day. We got to talking and went to Moulin Inn to have hot chocolate and tea by a warm, crackling fire. They asked where I was from, whether I was from Scotland or Holland — and were flabbergasted to hear that I was from Texas! And then, because they were driving to Perth and that’s where our train connection was going to be, they gave us a lift to Perth. Such serendipity!

Pancake day!

IMG_7997

Today is Shrove Tuesday — Mardi Gras, or, as we call it here: Pancake day!

The last few times F. and I made pancakes, we made American pancakes. Now it was his turn to introduce me to German pancakes.

Eierkuchen (or Pfannkuchen)
(a.k.a., German pancakes)
Makes 7

  • 250g flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 ts salt
  • 500 ml milk

1. Mix eggs, sugar, salt, milk in a small bowl. Put the flour in a larger bowl and slowly add the liquid mixture. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry like pancakes.

Serve with apple sauce or with cream cheese.