Travels, Mishaps and Retirement

We’ve been back home a month now, after covering nearly 1500 miles (2400 km) this summer. Only to end up falling down a step and spraining my ankle, and now I’m laid low with an icky cold! So I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better for me to just keep traveling all the time. 😀 Or healthier, at any rate!

But since my energy level is pretty low, I thought a fun post was in order. So I’m going to give you a little tour of some of our meanderings!

Our summer Travels

This post covers the second leg of our journey. The first part, down in our summer village, will be coming soon!

1st stop: Bobbio in Emilia Romagna

We got to visit the delightful little town of Bobbio while visiting friends near Piacenza. Full of age-old charm, with narrow cobblestone streets and ancient buildings, Bobbio was voted Italy’s most beautiful village in 2019. And it’s certainly easy to see why!

One of the town’s main attractions is the long picturesque Devil’s Bridge. A name stemming from the old superstition that the devil was often behind the construction of bridges, because they joined two places that God wanted to remain separate.

Nonetheless, Bobbio was an important center in Roman days, when the bridge was built, and later also became an important hub of Western monasticism during the Middle Ages.

Complete with a castle, cathedral, and very old library, its location in the Appenine mountains make it an ideal place to visit. Cool in summer, it offers hiking plus canoeing and swimming in the Trebbia River. Or skiing and other sports in winter.

A tiny place, but so pretty, and well worth a visit!

2nd stop: Casale Monferrato and the rice fields of Piedmont

Casale Monferrato in Piedmont is often considered one of Italy’s hidden gems. A beautiful, mostly agricultural area lying at the foot of the Alps, it’s replete with a Medieval castle and cathedral, and ancient buildings.

But what I found most interesting were the rice fields along the Po River. Flooded during growing season, the area looks like a big sea, crisscrossed with roads. With the distant town in the 1st image becomes an island totally surrounded by water. And undoubtedly a damp, uncomfortable place to live. But I hope we get to return and perhaps visit the fields!

We stayed with new friends in the tiny hamlet of Pozzengo. There’s not much to it, but it was a peaceful and blessed interlude – even though their daughter, son-in-law, and 6 grandchildren were staying there! What wonderfully well-behaved kids!

We were also amazed at the hazel nut farms, most of which go into the making of Italy’s famous Nutella in the region’s factory! And it was interesting to see our hosts’ son training his dog to hunt for Piedmont’s expensive truffles, which grow in both white and black varieties.

Semi-retirement and changes

Because we decided against Italy’s draconian green pass, Hubby couldn’t return to teaching in the schools. Which makes us semi-retired. We plan to request retirement next year when we’ll qualify for full retirement benefits. For the time being, we’re getting by with our support base and private English lessons.

I enjoy having him home more. Although I do find it harder to keep up and get things done. So once again, it’s a time of change and adaptation. But it’s all good, and we are counting God’s blessings to us! And I hope you too have many blessings to count!!

BOBBIO images: 1ST ROW = Left; Middle; Right is mine. | 2ND ROW = Left by Raffaele Pagani CC BY-SA-4.0; Middle is mine; Right. | 3RD ROW = Left by Matteo Russo CC BY 2.0; Middle by Sergio & Gabriella CC BY-NC-ND 2.0; Right by Kirk K CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. / MONFERRATO images all mine except the last two: Rice fields & poppies by Idéfix, CC BY-SA 3.0; Sea of rice fields by Di Laurom. / FOOD images: Truffles, Hazelnuts.

Author: Signora Sheila

American born, Italian at heart. In Italy 30+ years. I'm glad you're here and hope you'll join my journey!

7 thoughts on “Travels, Mishaps and Retirement”

  1. I’m truly sorry for your fall and sprained ankle, my friend, but so glad you got to go on this remarkable trip and enjoy places I can only dream of–so incredibly beautiful. And I’m happy to hear Hubby is home with you more–they do take getting used to when they’re around more, don’t they? But what a sweet time of sharing and making memories now together. Italy is definitely on my bucket list, Sheila–all because of you!


    1. Thanks so much, Dayle, but my ankle is now well! Yes, we saw beautiful sights, but even better made wonderful new friends and finally got to see old ones! Hubby & I are loving all the time together, but takes adjustment and organization to keep up with everything. I really do hope you get to come over some day, dear friend!!


  2. Sheila, I’m sorry about your fall. Thank you for the beautiful photos and descriptions of Italian spots. Keith just retired in September. It is indeed a time of adjustments and a new chapter/season in life. It’s a chance to enjoy each other like never before. I’m so glad that God gave you a wonderful man. May the Lord bless you and Mario richly. Karen


    1. Thank you Karen! My ankle is nearly well, now I just need to defeat this cold! I’m glad you & Keith are enjoying retirement together, and that you too have a wonderful man. I think these will be good years! Blessings to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

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