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Stepping back in time – we return to Borga Nari

It seems so surreal to be returning to Borga Nari after all these years, time stood still while we were away. Snow drifts gently onto worn rock and our children delight in the tiny flakes. Friends both old and new have welcomed us with warmth and kindness.

So now it’s time to begin creating our Simple Life here in Italy.

A place to stay, a temporary home for the Australians. The house we just bought in Bobbio Pellice has no heating, furniture and needs a quick repaint inside before we move over. In the meantime our friends offered their holiday place at Borga Nari. So we are back where we began for the time being.

The constant question is ‘why would you leave Australia for Italy?’

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Our new courtyard, woven balcony and snow soft as powder. Snowballs fly and faces flush with pink. I know in my heart that we’ve done the right thing for our family. Wilma asks me what I think of the place and my beaming excited response convinces her that yes I love it!

borga nari house wilma 2013

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Our wood delivery arrives and the rock walls absorb the warmth and radiate it back like a hug. Carina and I learn the fine art of wood stacking and the value of a roaring fire when the temperature is at zero. Sam and I walk about eyeing off the wood piles much like Homer Simpson with his donuts.

borga nari 2013 wood

borga nari 2013 orange door

Rediscovering our old home is a sweet delight I hope you enjoyed. We made it, we fought hard and long for our dream and here we are. Now the adventures really begin, little money and a lot of heart….lets see where it leads us all.

Signatureand the gang x

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The lost village – Abandoned in the Mountains

I thought tonight I would share with you all a little video from our time at Borga Nari, now you just need to bear in mind the following things

  • Big number one – this is not a professional video
  • I created this to send home to my family
  • if you wish you can forward to around 1:18 (you’ll miss our gorgeous daughter if you do)
  • I’d love it if you’d let me know your thoughts, more video, less video would you like to see inside our world?
  • continue on at your peril…..

So this clip was taken on an Autumn walk with my daughter Carina, we wandered down the trail behind the house to the stream passing the most incredible abandoned Borga which was almost totally hidden in the undergrowth.

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First Snow – Winter in Italy

Our first Winter in Italy 

The early hours of the morning when the house is still and sleeping is my favorite time. No sounds of laughter, no calls to solve problems only Mum can solve. A sharp contrast to the relentless pace of the day to come. Checking the kids are warm and sleeping I creep down the stairs like I did as a child Christmas morning.

If I step on certain planks on the landing my peaceful time will end. The temperature has dropped to 6 degrees inside the house and my breath creates a smoke like haze, winter in Italy is just magical.

The valley view has disappeared  and the  world is white on white.

No movement. Not a breath of wind, the world has stilled for a moment and I have caught it out. Close to heaven, spiritual. Every Christmas card and more. It’s as if the clouds decided to come to earth to relax.

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Winter in Italy

The kids are awake… let’s start the day.

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Rustic farmhouses – A Blair Witch moment…

There are community farmhouses (rustico borgata) all through the mountains around Gambasca. Ours is called Borga Nari, and we’ve found five others within easy walking distance of our house. We’ve been told by our friend Piera that when Autumn comes they pop up like mushrooms and then we’ll be able to see them all through the valley.

This Borgata was found on a winding walk down into the valley, along the banks of the stream on the thickest blanket of Autum leaves which constantly rustled with unknown creatures. Completely hidden and abandoned many years ago, almost covered over with bracken. People lived here, were born and died here, raised families and I am totally in awe. I long to know their stories, where did they go, who holds the history?

Most have hidden relics a wooden wheelbarrow (including the wheel), a full sized wooden sled that could easily carry Santa, and huge raffia covered wine/oil bottles. We found a tiny cobbled shoe at our house. It’s so hard to imagine people actually living here, some of the doors are only 4 feet high. I could swear I hear the sound of children playing and calling to each other. Each time I visit I have a “Blair Witch” moment of panic, just my mind playing tricks. I am in love with these abandoned remains.

If you also have a love for stories and history I would be fascinated to hear from you.

ciao for now

Lisa

Life’s Postcards

Living in Italy – Our first letter home…

Well we have found our home in a tiny mountain town called Gambasca, we both love it and in the agents car on the way up the mountain we could hardly contain ourselves. We are now officially living in Italy.

Buying a house in Italy is a curious process, everyone dresses up and meets at the agents office where the whole contract is read out loud before anyone signs. The view is spectacular and I didn’t even see inside the house (Salvatore and the agent had a look with a torch) I just know this is the one! We now own part of an ancient Borgata and Tre Giorni of land (the amount of time it would take two oxen to plow it). Luckily we were given the keys even though we hadn’t settled only paid a large deposit and had no clue what was going on and hoped for the best.

I feel as if we have been adopted. The house was owned by two couples who planned to renovate. One of the couples, Renato and Maria have been really helpful and they sold us everything in the place including some beautiful furniture, beds, tables and chairs, pots, pans etc so we haven’t had to get very much LUCKILY. (Shopping in Italy is a nightmare!) They also left all the tools for Sam and they came out to visit and explained everything to us and showed Sam all the boundaries and how everything works. We scored a toboggan and an ancient chamber pot of some sort that looks a couple of hundred years old.

We have part of the old farmhouse with rock walls and wooden beams, the roof is made of sheets of rock laid over each other in a kind of diamond pattern. The locals tell us that in these rustic farmhouses (ours is called Borgata Nari) usually the animals were kept downstairs. The owners lived up a level and they often had a level of hay above, they also had a room upstairs where they used to cook the castagni (chestnuts).

Most of the walls have the original sand and one doorway is about 5 foot and we have hit our heads so many times.

There is a great taverna downstairs which would have housed the cows, the kitchen is tiny and there is a cellar as well, all the rooms downstairs have vaulted rock ceilings.

Upstairs there are two rooms that we live in, and another two which Sam has been working on – the hay room, and the castagni room (more about this later).

There is not one straight line here but lots of character and history which we are slowly learning from the locals. Things are coming along slowly and the goal is to have the house sealed before winter arrives. Sam is getting the windows ready to have frames and glass put in and trying to work out how to seal the veranda for trips downstairs to the loo on cold winter nights.

Our Italian Rustico farmhouse now has some modern aspects to it a fridge, TV and washing machine. As the TV only plays DVDs we are going crazy on Spirit, Pooh Bear and Beauty and the Beast!!! Even Sam knows the words to all the wiggles songs now. The other night we stayed up late watching “Under a Tuscan Sun” but it will be more like Under a Blanket of Gambasca Snow here. We’ve seen pics of the house in winter and they get plenty of snow. Carina wants ice skates and Sam plans to fly down our hill on the toboggan.

We are close to the Alps on the border with France and have crossed over into France with the camper at 2750 meters which was spectacular. We came back through Mont Blanc after a great weekend for my birthday. At last Sam had to cope with another language and revenge was sweet when he tried to ask for directions.

It’s so peaceful here and the countryside is just beautiful. Sam cut down a few trees and now we have a beautiful view over the valley, there is a stream at the bottom of the hill and our property runs down to it. Last night we saw the valley lit up with fireflies and it looked like the stars had fallen to earth. It doesn’t get dark here till 10pm (Yep that’s right 10PM!) so Carina hasn’t seen our firefly “fairies” in the garden as yet.

Note : can you believe that my first letter home was over 2000 words so I will inflict it upon you in a few segments, ciao for now Lisa

Life’s Postcards