Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Summer Postcard...


Sorrento

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.

 A hot day in Rome in the Monti area with my sons.

Being in Italy and Switzerland, you notice how adept Europeans are at savoring summer, the good weather and being out during the warm months. Walking through the narrow streets of the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, I loved seeing people migrate to the street with their chairs, a glass of wine, a bit of food and sometimes a dog. They chatted with their neighbors or sometimes just sat and took in the warm night. A roaming string group moved throughout the neighborhood playing Mozart and people  meandered through 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 have read 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.


Positano. 

While we are talking 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 and the only way to get around is via gondolas, trams and cog-wheeled trains. We stayed in the charming 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. I slept like a baby each night wrapped up in my down comforter with the sound of faint bells from the nearby goat farm. 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.


A walk in the Berner-Oberland above and below.





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 on the 40 degree evenings and to the Jungfrau. I never thought I could be so cold in JULY! (What a Californian.)


Griffin with family friend Bill on one of our hikes and the Jungfrau glacier below.

 You can walk out on this glacier to a hut.


In the darling town of Gimmelwald.

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! It truly gives Paris a run for the money, but in a more understated way. In Zurich people dress immaculately, but are not showy. They are turned out with very simple jackets, trenches and pretty tailored pants and cool shoes. Most had a bright tote or backpack, but nothing overtly logo-ed or designer, just quality pieces. These people looked amazing and the Swiss are beautifully groomed- men and women.


Zurich


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. No jean cut-offs to be seen 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. :D

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.

Kim



14 comments :

  1. Loved the pics - especially the snow ones I saw on IG when I was in Italy not too far away in the middle of a heatwave! Funny you mention the older people too bc one day I did a hike in Austria and I saw people in what seemed their 80's mountain biking. Yet Austrian food isn't exactly low fat low carb...plus they drink so much beer too. I think maybe just being active counts for a lot?? x

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    1. Naomi, I know hard to believe it was blizzard like conditions in July! I agree more older people than young on all the mountains and it must be their fitness. Food must not be hurting them. People are drinking beer like mad in Switzerland too.xx

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  2. How wonderful! And how particularly wonderful you could have so much family with you. What a perfect summer - including your time spent focused on the concrete world all around.

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    1. Lisa, Thanks so much. Switzerland was wonderful with the family. I know you have enjoyed it too. It felt good to be away from all the social media and I am trying to limit myself going forward. Less stress for sure!

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  3. Loved reading this post Kim and of course it brought back a lot of memories living in Switzerland a few years. So glad you got to go to Zurich too and I remember sitting on those benches looking at the lakes on warm days. You're so right too about how fit people can be there and social media is not such a big deal compared to the US. I remember meeting Europeans and especially Swiss people who were not on FB, Instagram or twitter so I couldn't agree more about how important it is to savor the summer and talk to your neighbors, etc. Love that you were able to do that on vacay and now that you're back in the Bay Area.
    xoDale

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    1. Dale, I was thinking of you in Zurich! Especially thought of you at this amazing gummy store... I know you had to have been there! I can see how people care less about IG and all that there. Smart. They are out savoring the day.xo

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  4. Oh Kim, what a wonderful trip! Plus you did it with extended family! Happy 50th Birthday Max. Have fun in St. Louis and tell me how you liked your "egg" at the arch. We also went and took a tour at the Budweiser Brewery while we were there and saw the most adorable baby Clydesdales! It is nice to unplug isn't it? I just got back from vacation and hardly used my phone at all. I don't twitter or any of those other things, but I do like to look at FB. Have a fantastic time! Kelley

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    1. Thank you Kelley. It was a good way to celebrate 50 for him. I am excited to do the arch and I will have to report back. The brewery sounds neat. Who wouldn't love baby Clydesdales? I hope you are enjoying summer too. It is good to be away from the phone and into a book or your travels. Old fashioned and soul reviving! Hugs!

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    2. I am also seriously impressed that you did your vacation with only a carry on. Amazing!

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  5. You summer sounds wonderful! The way we all should spend it! I've been off social media a lot more this summer, but I could/should still cut back more...

    Your Italy and Switzerland vacation looks and sounds lovely! Beautiful photos. I'm sure you all made wonderful memories. And, yes, I've been very, very, very cold in Europe in July...

    Andrea
    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

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  6. FABULOUS VACATION!
    GOOD FOR YOU FOR SHUTTING DOWN.........
    YES, we AMERICANS have LOST THE ART Of just visiting with THY NEIGHBORS!!!!!!!
    I noticed this 23 years ago when we moved back to the STATES from ITALY!

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  7. Beautiful post. Loved the part about admiring Europeans ability to hang out with neighbors and truly enjoy summer. The best is bringing home godo tidbits to try and incorporate into our daily lives, right? Sounds like it was tricky packing for diverse climates. Gorgeous scenery and photos - thanks for sharing!

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  8. What an amazing family vacation! I'd love to know more about your time in Switzerland, that sounds like a spot my own family would really like to visit. My kids are all good hikers. I love a holiday that combines lots of physical exercise and fresh air, allowing good sleeps!
    Enjoy St. Louis, I really love Missouri, I lived there briefly in the late 90's. Yes go to the Budweiser park with the Clydesdales!
    xx

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