Montagna e Citta

20 Aug

This past week-end was definitely the hottest of the entire summer so far.  It was pushing 40 degrees, humid and the type of weather that makes me want to laze on the couch all day with a fan blowing in my face.   But surprisingly enough the heat didn’t stop us from getting out and exploring our local surroundings.  We are so fortunate to have so many beautiful spots within such a short drive from our home.

This week-end we decided to do one day of nature (less than an hour drive to our north) and one day of city and culture (less than an hour drive to our south).  Besides the heat, being stuck for four hours in traffic due to a cycling race in a small town and the last day of my son’s flu, it was an absolutely lovely week-end.

Bright and early on Saturday morning we headed out to the local mountains for a hike in the woods.  We arrived in Maccagno, a small town near the Swiss border on Lago Maggiore, and started our ascent by car up the narrow winding roads to the start destination for our hike.  After about 20 minutes we arrived, some of us a slight shade of green, and ready for some fresh mountain air.

We hiked out in the open sun for about half an hour before reaching the nice refreshingly cool forest.  We then had about an hour and a half walk up towards Passo Focora where we enjoyed the views of the mountains and lake and ate a very heavy “mountain meal” consisting of local cheeses and polenta with deer stew (to the horror of our kids, “You’re eating bambi?”).

Rusty rest spot in the middle of the woods

We then returned down the mountain to our car that was sitting in the 38 degree sun and rushed (as much as you can down those mountain roads) to the lake for a nice cool swim.

After such a wonderful day in nature we decided to head to Milan on Sunday for some culture and our usual Chinatown visit and meal.  When we arrived in Milan it was an absolute ghost town.  The streets were empty of people and cars.  Apparently everyone flees the city in August due to the construction holidays and the oppressing heat and humidity.

We decided to check out our favorite photography museum (Forma) to see two really beautiful exhibits.  One was from Saul Letier and included many photographs of every day life from New York in the 50’s  and the other was a collection of photos of gypsy families from Romania and Slovakia by Josef Koudelka.  We really enjoyed both exhibits and would recommend anyone living in or near Milan to go check them out.

After the museum we made our way to Chinatown for a quick shop in the Chinese grocery stores and some lunch at our favorite Chinese restautant.  On our return home we, of course, headed to the lake for an early evening dip and cool off.

Overall a pretty perfect week-end.

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11 Responses to “Montagna e Citta”

  1. Deepa August 20, 2012 at 17:38 #

    Sounds like a fantastic weekend! Your kids are so lucky!

    • Jillian in Italy August 21, 2012 at 16:06 #

      It was a great week-end…but seriously too hot. This Canadian is still not used to these high temps. Thank goodness for the lakes around here!

  2. Theresa August 20, 2012 at 21:23 #

    It really sounds like the perfect weekend! I love the image of the rustic chair and would love to see the exhibition in Milan. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Jillian in Italy August 21, 2012 at 16:07 #

      They were indeed really beautiful photo exhibits. Definitely worth a trip to Milan!

  3. Jeanette Frump August 21, 2012 at 16:55 #

    This does sound like just the perfect weekend!! Nature one day, city and culture the next! How wonderful to get a glimpse of a family weekend in Italy! Thank you for sharing, I’m a new reader from the U.S. (thanks to a pin on Pinterest!)

  4. whitney August 22, 2012 at 04:05 #

    such a gorgeous spot! thanks for sharing.

  5. Judith August 22, 2012 at 13:20 #

    Hahaha I can only imagine how much you needed some fresh air after a drive through the mountains with this heat wave! Looks like you found some beautiful & refreshing spots though!

    • Jillian in Italy August 23, 2012 at 12:36 #

      We’ve been so grateful for these lakes the last few weeks. It has been so hot here!

  6. Kat August 23, 2012 at 00:45 #

    looking at your photos – just so refreshing! certainly fun to be near nature and the city. and yeah its been a hot set of days. looking forward to a nice break soon 🙂

    • Jillian in Italy August 23, 2012 at 12:37 #

      It must be even hotter down where you are! Have you been going to the beach a lot with the little guy?

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