Flippin’ in Castellina again10.05.09

Castellina in Chianti is just this tiny, tiny village. But even so, such a nice place to rest. Nice places to eat. And a market every Saturday morning. These small flips start out with two tiny shots in the strange, partly covered street through the village center which is under larger parts of the buildings in the village center. Then we move up to the main street and turn around for a look into the market. All shot on September 5th 2009.

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Playing with fire09.26.09

I was brought up being told every now and then that it was dangerous to play with fire. Well, maybe it is. At least if I play with fire. I can’t know for sure since I have not tested that concept yet. But one of my very first memories is standing in the window one afternoon or late night watching a nearby school burn down. So maybe someone else had tested the concept and found out that it was not such a smart move.

Anyway, I am still a bit amazed whenever I see someone skillfully playing with something I would not dare to do. And doing it in such a manner that they even dare to involve someone from the audience to take part in something which could turn out to be a bit harder than what it looks.

On walking the harbour of Marciana Marina after a nice dinner we saw a crowd standing there in one of the piazzas and we ended up checking it out. Turned out it was Istvan Goldman ‘Goldi’ doing one of his shows. Sadly we only caught the last few seconds of it. But chatting with Goldi he could tell me he would be moving down the seaside walk and do another show a bit later. So the flip below shows the last few seconds of the first of these two shows and the first minutes of the second show. Turns out the Flip-camera does not behave to bad under rather dark conditions even when there are some very bright spots (the flames).

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Climbing 700 meters in less than 15 minutes09.25.09

So we went to Elba (Isola d’Elba) on the Tuscan coast. And with only six days there we had to work hard on the priorities in order to get most of it all in addition to hours on the different beaches. Of course we simply had to visit Napoleon, even though he was away on one of his many excurisons. But that is a totally different story. Except that during the 300 days he was there he spent some nights in a tent halfway up Monte Capanne, the highest mountain on Elba.

Monte Capanne is 1019 meters, and there is a decent footpath going all the way. There is even a decent footpath for hikers going all the way from the east coast of Elba to the west coast bringing you to all the interesting mountain- and hilltops if you’re into that. It’s said that most people would make the hike in three days or less. I, for one, would probably spend the week. And also just climbing Monte Capanne would take too much of my few days of holidays. So we took the easy way out, i.e. we went with the Cabinovia lift.

You could say that lifts are lifts and nothing special about that. I disagree. Time and again since the early sixties I have used Fjellheisen in Tromsoe as an easy start in walking a mountain (ok, more than 10 years since the last time, but that doesn’t mean they need to have such a silly website). And smaller hills/mountains which may be enjoyed by rail like Drachenfels. What makes the Canovia on Elba interesting is the sheer size, or lack of that, of the cabins. Each cabin can carry 2 grown-ups, standing room only. If you add a third person to the cabin you may feel like you’re on the tube in Tokyo. And the cabins themselves are more like baskets with a railing lower than waist height which you easily can open if you like that.

But it is forbidden to open the cabin during the ride. That’s smart. (hah) It’s also forbidden to make the cabin swing. (another hah) That does not cover the swing which lasts for some minutes after you have entered the cabin, a swinging sensation brought to you just from the sheer movement caused by you entering.

That said, riding the Cabinovia is a pleasant experience. Even for those who may have some difficulties with heights. The ride starts softly among the trees, just a few meters above the ground. After a while you climb through to the tops of the trees – all the while the trees getting shorter. Until you get to the bare mountainside.

Halfway through the flip below there is a short scene looking back at where we came from. The base station for Cabinovia is close to the city Marciana at about 300 meters above sea-level. And the city you get a glimpse of all the way down at the beach is Marciana Marina where we stayed in hotel Gabbiano Azzurro Due. The feeling of climbing to the skies was strengthened when a fighter plane passed “just above my head”. They were not looking for me so I made it safely all the way to the top and was greeted by staff for “having made it”. The last few seconds of the flip just pretends to show parts of the scenery which may be enjoyed from the top of Monte Capanne.

There is a bar at the top. But, alas, as we spent every minute until closing-time enjoying the scenery they had closed the bar when we came to to the Cabinovia mountain-station (some 20-30 meters below the top). No birra per me a Monte Capanne. Ma, prosimma volta?! Certo!

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Castellare09.09.09

Whenever you are in Catellina in Chianti, why not take the short trip down to the Castellare wine producers just down the hill? We did. And as explained in this short flip we tasted three different wines.

I am sure you get all the italian in this flip. But on the names of the wines there should be no problems understanding them. Except maybe for “I Sodi di S. Niccolò”. Well, the reason for that name is that “sodi” refers to hard-worked ground. And the grapes used for that wine is from such hard-worked ground. Hence the extra good quality of this wine.

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The three stars (Le tre stelle)09.08.09

Close to San Gimignano in the southern part of Tuscany you find the Agiriturismo Le Tre Stelle (the three stars). These stars are three women who run an agriturismo with a little special twist. Every day they serve a joint dinner for all their guests at a long table in the patio. This dinner is homecooked and made from their own produce.

They also do nice wines. A white Vernaccia and good red ones. More on them later.

We learned about this agriturismo through a swedish TV-series on food and wine from under the Tuscan sun. This program gave them a bit of attention and some Scandinavian guests. If you are looking for that particular Tuscan experience, this may be the place to go.

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Marina di Campo09.06.09

One of the most beautiful beaches on Elba is found right in the centre of the town Marina di Campo on the south side of Elba. It is a long (miles) beach of finegrained sand and from time to time you have nice waves there as well. Two or three rows of umbrellas and restaurants with tasty seafood. Hereby recommended.

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Biking and bathing in Marciana Marina09.06.09

Bathing is essential and one of the main activities in Elba. There are literally hundreds of beaches in all different qualities, from the fine-grainy sandy ones to the pebbly ones and clifftype spots. This is just a short flip showing of a combination of biking and bathing. The kids had great fun. And the main character in this flip goes by the name of Pietro.

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Il ristorante La Fenicia in Marciana Marina09.05.09

Just back to mainland Toscana after visiting Elba. Our first night in Elba, after checking in with the Gabbiano Azzurro Due Hotel, started out with a very nice seafood meal at the restaurant La Fenicia in Marciana Marina. Here is a short welcome from our friendly hosts for the evening, Patricia and Giacomo. If you like seafood, this is a very nice place to go.

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Pratesi blue08.26.09

From Pratesi, Toscana

From Pratesi, Toscana

Not suede, but blue (like me and you?). Nice companions from Pratesi in Ambra, Tuscany. A factory which only trades shoes in Tuscany. Three small shops and a small factory in a small village. In fact, if you hurry too much along you will never know you passed the factory. Family-owned business. And I have been lucky enough to meet the owner on one of my shopping trips. Have to go back again this year to look for more niceties, I think.

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Viral marketing model08.24.09

I have been waiting for someone to come out with the really smart, new model for viral marketing using the new social media channels. I kind of new it would have to be the travel business which would have to be the ones with the best ideas. But I was happily surprised to see that it was my beloved Tuscany which should be the “product” to be marketed. The people behind Work for Tuscany are offering dream positions for the creative, smart and nerdy people. Their goal is setting up the most creative and most inclusive dedicated team in Florence, Italy, communicating and promoting the best of Tuscany through social media.

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  • the tuscan cat
    I for one believe that Leonardo (da Vinci) was really smart. And I also believe cats are smart creatures. So when I spotted a nice cat sleeping on a scooter carrying "the signature" Leonardo somewhere in beautiful Italy I just had to "shoot".

    For all you non-norwegian readers: older entries are in Norwegian only. Sorry.