The linden tree

Kamenice nad Lipou – a gorgeous garden not far from where we are staying. The 700 year old linden tree was the star – it has weathered many storms, and with some support, survived the ravages and challenges of time – some people are like this too. ⭐️⭐️ ( by the way Lipou means linden😊 )

Check out its supports. Amazing tree. Happy gardening today.

Leaves of Grass

One of the most exciting things about coming back home is seeing the changes in the garden. We were both very jet lagged after twenty-nine hours in the air, however, our car had hardly come to a standstill when our older cat Sarge, came bounding from behind the camellias with his garrulous greeting! It was after copious pats that I noticed the tulips and the daffodils in full bloom and of course, the grass.

Yes, grass. As much as we loved our Italian escapade: the Medieval towns, the castles, the famous sculptures, the abundant artworks, the historic churches, after a time we found we missed greenery and indeed nature – maybe it was all that stone work. We did enjoy the Tuscan countryside via bus and some yellow roses protruding amongst the monuments, some nice potted containers, a balcony grapevine, many old persimmon trees and vine covered buildings, but we probably needed more back yards.

Now we have come back to our mountain home among the gums trees and the soon to be flowering rhododendrons. Apologies for the cliches! Perhaps the last words should go to Walt Whitman, “I believe a leaf of grass is the journey-work of stars”. I might have to look for that old John Denver CD. Can you guess which image is of our garden?







Turin, Italy

We have come to the end of our Italian journey. However, before we say good bye to Italy, for this time, a comment or two must be made about the last two cities we visited – Milano and Torino. The purpose in taking the group to these cities was as diverse as the cities themselves. Turin saw our school pilgrimage come full circle while Milan became the pinnacle of consumer decadence and artistic grandeur.

Turin is a beautiful city. The pedestrian promenades are lined with exclusive shops but really this is not why one comes to Turin. For without the rich baroque architecture and the dynamic piazzas, Turin would be another soulless sprawling city, peddling its labels. Visiting the Reale Palazzo – entry gratis – the home of the Savoia family, one can understand why the revolutions of the mid 19th century occurred. It is grand indulgence, grand decadence and grand opulence outdoing itself in every grand room. From the immense crystal chandeliers, I counted at least twenty, to the museum and trophy room where the spoils of the hunt are immortalized alongside the fine embalmed horses in full galloping gait preserves a glimpse of a dynasty and points in history long gone. A spectacle which one must see if visiting Turin.

Next door and just beyond the gates of the palazzo is the small chapel of Saint Lorenzo. This heavy, dark place of worship contains a replica of the shroud of Turin. Certainly there has been much debate as to the original’s authenticity, however, carbon dating in the 1990’s apparently revealed it was of the 12th C. Nevertheless, it, and the adjoining displays of crucifixion torture, are equally indicative of a cruel time as well as being an icon for faith.

Speaking of which, our young travelers had predominantly come to Turin to visit the Casa De Madre of the Salesian Order, Valdocco. We spent most of the morning here learning about the work of Don Bosco and his legacy, that of educating the person through a charism of faith and kindness. Our students were really able to appreciate the vastness of his mission and indeed witnessed a practice Mass at the Basillica for future missionaries. Milan, is a different story and worthy of its own post.

Check out, Caffe Torino images!











School in Trento

For three days our group spent a delightful time in Trento. Located in the Trentino Alto Adige northern region of Italy, Trento is skirted by the majestic Dolomites. For Church history buffs, Trento or Trent in English, is also home of the Council of Trent which saw the Church’s Bishops come together to address social impacts and reforms in 1545, especially rising Protestantism.Trento had a strong Roman influence and its Roman name, Tridentum, depicted of course by Neptune, is a strong symbol for the town.

Our main aim in Trento was to attend school. Our sister school adjoins the building which hosted the Council of Trent. The group attended classes as part of a gemellaggio or sister school reciprocal visit. We, as teachers, also went to class – Latin and Ancient Greek at 7:45am which was extremely stimulating and very enlightening. All enjoyed the hospitality and genuine good humor of the Profs. We were even more privileged to have met the dirigente and be invited into her magnificent office for coffee. Later she joined our group for a farewell dinner. The young members of our group responded to her very positively and engaged in much polite conversation in Italian!

While meeting with the dirigente we viewed the school’s remarkable collection of ancient manuscripts. A volume of Petrach’s poetry dated 1554 was exhibited before us in all its delicate and ancient state. The text was completely in tact and quite robust for its age. It was quite amazing to be touching this manuscript which was as old as the discovery of the Americas. It was gently returned to its grand 1812 bookcase!

Trento is a Medieval town, of course. One of the highlights is the Castello del Buonconsiglio. A magnificent fortified castle built in the 13th century and later extended to include a palazzo in 1530. The castle was the defense of the town which stood on the main road linking Italy to northern Europe. It is the repository for many religious icons and works of art as well as housing an extensive exhibition of Medieval Knights. However, it was the Aquila Tower and its wondrous depiction of the twelve months of the year (March is missing) which really impacted on me. These charming frescoes were painted in the 14 century and depict the cycle of the seasons. Today they remain a wonderful and romantic depiction of life in the Middle Ages under the feudal system. A definite must see if you are in Trento!