New Years Eve always gives me a travel itch -- a desire to be out exploring and discovering something new. As the midnight hour rings, the beginning of the new year sneaks into being almost unnoticed, overshadowed by the wondrous feeling of being some place new. Detached from normal routines there is no need to focus on the obligatory celebration -- just being out there in the world is celebration enough! And it is with this traveler's mindset that I somehow find it easier to clear my head, reflect on what's passed, and set intentions for new beginnings from a simple place of discovery.
Welcoming a new year from a Medieval borgo in the Nebrodi Mountains: Montalbano Elicona. Some details of our weekend:
A little stone house of our own, rustic and cozy in its medieval dimensions and lack of large windows.
The high altitude meant real winter temperatures and lots of bundling up to explore all there is to see. Like the morning we spent walking through the village's narrow lanes lined by more of those little stone houses, no two alike--some crumbling, some restored--, peaking in the child height windows, peering over terracotta tiled roofs, climbing steep staircases that eventually lead us to the castle door, taking in the breathtaking panoramas visible from all angles.
From up here the panorama is spectacular and includes not only verdant valleys and rocky peaks, but also the Tyrrhenian Sea and the protruding humps of the Aeolian Islands, for these mountains are just kilometers away from Sicily's northern coast.
For these reasons and more, Montalbano Elicona is on the list of Italy's 100 most beautiful villages.
Back home the new year has silently slipped into being, while our family is rejuvinated from a weekend full of new discoveries and much time spent outdoors in the natural environment. We are revved up for a year full of love and joy whether it be at home, with friends and family, or on some travel adventure. We see a young three year old enthusiastically embracing all the new experiences and thriving from the intensity that comes with them--laughing and being together, being out in the world, being creative and free-spirited. Pure simple joy. This is my intention for the new year! HAPPY 2011 everyone!