I travel quite a lot for business (just about to go over 1,000,000 miles on United this year) and I am just back from a week in Northern Italy, in the wine region of Franciacorta. It's a pretty scenic area, as you can see from this photo from the driveway of my hotel...
So why mention it here? Because Franciacorta is in the lake region nears the Alps, and I even managed to get in a hike through a wildlife preserve near Lake Iseo. No, it's not the Sierra Nevada. In fact, it's pretty darn civilized in comparison. Even when you get deep in the Alps, you never get the sense of isolation that you can find in the Sierra...just when you think you are getting away from it all, you look on the other side of the mountain and there is a cafe at the top of a ski lift...
But that doesn't mean it isn't beautiful in its own right.
That's the Monastery of San Pietro below...from the heart of the walk through the preserve.
And it did feel good to get out and stretch my legs for a little bit--especially after all that time sitting in airplanes. Boy, were my arms tired!
And while the wilderness experience isn't much like the Sierra, the food and wine in this part of Italy sure does make freeze dried dinners seem like fare fit only for prisoners of war. Amazing food. Wonderful wines. And did I mention the art?
Not surprisingly, there was a lot more culture than wilderness here, but that's not always a bad thing. Check out these photos...
Starry Night fresco from the Oratoria Santa Giulia in Brescia, which reminded him of the sparkling stars over the Sierra...
Fresco in the Monastery of San Pietro di Lamaso
There were frescoes everywhere...most of which date from before the Pilgrims landed in New England...
This link will take you to the Picasa page where you can see the whole trip.