I have been doing an odd thing this fall. Each day I look at the photos taken on the same day a year ago, or three years ago to see where we were in either Spain or Italy. Then I choose a photo from one of those folders and make it my desktop photo on my computer.
Today's desktop photo was taken on a hike in the Alpujarra mountains in the Andalucia region of Spain. We spent a week in Ferreirola, a tiny village that was established by the Moors in 1492. Each day while we were there we took a different hike. The trails were steep, the drop-offs steeper, but the views were spectacular. We encountered very few people, but many goats grazing on the hill sides. When we stopped we could hear the sound of the bells on the necks of the goats echoing across the canyon. This photo was taken looking back towards Ferreirola. The landscape was beautifully barren.
This was the place, more than any other on our Spain trip, that we hope to return to someday.
Three years ago we were in Tuscany. The moon was full outside our room at the Agriturismo near Sienna.
There is no doubt that Tuscany has picture-book beauty and endless historic offerings to explore. We arrived in Tuscany at the end of our trip - a bit exhausted and having seen numerous cathedrals and quaint villages. We were full with so many experiences; from Umbria to Puglia, from Calabria to the Aeolian Islands near Sicily. What we had cherished most in the weeks that led up to our time in Tuscany was the absence of tourists, and specifically American tourists in the locations we visited. It seemed that in Tuscany, each time we stopped we were arriving just behind a bus load of tourists from Alabama or Texas or New York. The voices were loud and there was a frantic rush to the various shops which clearly depend on these same tourists.
Today I picked tomatoes and peppers (as it seems I have been doing for weeks!) The tomatoes have been sliced and salted and are drying in the oven and the peppers will probably get roasted and then frozen for late-fall chili rellenos.
I have just spent 4 days showing a high school classmate around Oregon and seeing my home through the eyes of someone who had never been to the northwest. It is a magnificent place to call home. When I moved here 27 years ago I swore that I would never get used to the beauty, but I did. It was renewing to marvel at the moss-covered trees in the coastal mountains, and to watch someone draw in their breath at the awesomeness of the Columbia River Gorge.
All of this reminds me that I am living a blessed life.