Summer 2011- Part I: Italy and Language Camp

Hello Family and Friends!

I am back from Italy and from Peace Corps Russian Language Camp and now home in Luhansk for two days before I get back on the train to return to Kiev.  Believe it or not, I do work and I am not just traveling around! Our organization's office is under remodel and I have been working from home between travels!  When I return from my next round of travels- Crimea and Budapest, I return to work in a newly remodeled office!
La nostra terrazza in Rezzonico, Lago Como, Italia
My week in Italy with my daughter, Frances and son-in-law,  Josh, was wonderful.  Fran and Josh found a very good “rent-an-apartment” service and reserved a lovely 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment in a small town on the north-western side of Lago Como, Ressonico.  The kitchen was small but workable, the bedrooms and bathroom were fine, and the terrace with the view of Lake Como DIVINE.  I did not realize how much I enjoyed sitting outside on the terrace/patio and having coffee or reading a book.  California and/or Hawaiian lifestyle… I will not take it for granted anymore.

I arrived late Saturday 16 July, in time to have the first of MANY delicious Proseccos.  Josh is really a wine connoisseur and his choices of wines for the entire week were excellent.  Prosecco labels to look for in the US are:   Altemasi-Trentodoc-Brut, Gancia-Brut,  and Carlo Gancia, Cuvee Platinum-metodo classico.  The Altemasi -Brut was our absolute favorite.  
Dinner "al fresco""
The castle of Rezzonico

The beach at Rezzonico

We lost our view during a rainstorm!
Every day, we slipped into a very easy routine:  exercise in the morning, then have coffee outside on our terrace, and then go out sightseeing, visit a village on the lake and have a pizza or a Panini at the “tavola calda” /small restaurant on the lake.  Home around 6p.m. for hors d’oeuvres and more Prosecco on the patio and then we all cooked dinner and dined of course, on the patio. 
Fran and Josh - ready for morning exercise

Scenery near our small apartiment

Scenery along the road to the top of the hill

Scenery along the road to the top of the hill- almost to the top

Bellagio, Lago Como, Italia

Wine Tasting in Bellagio

Varenna, Lago Como, Italia

Menaggio, Lago Como, Italia


Had to get my feet wet!

Lunch in Gravedona, Lago Como, Italia

Fran and Josh at lunch in Gravedona, Lago Como, Italia

We spent one day driving to St. Moritz, Switzerland, as we realized it wasn’t that far north of us.  LOVELY drive, beautiful valley leading into the mountain pass, then a switch back road of about 25 turns  and then a high valley, glorious lakes and then, St. Moritz.  I did not realize the town was so small, built into the hillside.  AND when we were there (July 22)  is was 47 degrees!  We wanted to have lunch with a view of the lake and we ended up finding a glorious 5-star hotel, the KULM Hotel, and wandered into the lobby.  It was warm and the hotel served lunch in the lovely lobby that had a glorious view of the lake.  We had a small, delicious, but expensive lunch - the Swiss Franc to the dollar is quite something! It  was certainly nice to see how the “other half” lives!
Waterfalls - en route to St. Mortiz, Switzerland

St. Mortiz, Switzerland

St. Mortiz, Switzerland

St. Mortiz, Switzerland
St. Mortiz, Switzerland
It was very hard to leave Italy- the weather, the crisp air, the clean villages, the smooth/good roads….and to leave Fran and Josh.   After living in Ukraine for 17 months, it is amazing to see that Italy really works!!! And Italy enjoys having tourists!

The Russian Language Camp was “camp”; I have not been to camp in 40 years.  We had many language classes, activities and sports and we are supposed to speak exclusively in Russian.  It was very good for me to practice Russian again, especially as I had been having way too much fun speaking Italian.  THE MOST EXCITING PART OF CAMP—I have improved my Russian language ability!  I have been graded “intermediate HIGH” level and I WON THE PRIZE at the camp for the person who tried the hardest to speak Russian all the time and participate in activities.  The Peace Corps Staff were so funny when they gave me the prize… I am  the only one they know that speaks Russian with an ITALIAN accent!

Summer 2011: Part II Crimea and Budapest will appear in mid-August.  Until then, I hope all of you are well and enjoying the summer.

A big hug to everyone!


  1. I'm reading this great non fiction book called "Caroline's Adventures". Each story is a short read but it's so wonderful, I find myself reading it several times and then talking it up to all my friends. Every few weeks a new sequel comes out and the next adventure is as gripping as the last. I happen to know this jet setter, "Ms Mackenzie" and I give her 2 thumbs up (if I had a 3rd hand, I would give her 3). Yes, she is a friend but her high marks is due to her ability to go out in the world and live her dream and then share it with so much gusto. I feel her happiness come through in each word.
    Thanks Caroline for keeping me in the loop!

  2. I love living vicariously through you. Frannie and Josh are such a strikingly beautiful couple--their smiles speak volumes, too-- and I can only imagine what fun it was spending the week in Italy with them. Congrats on your camp award, too! You have created such a memorable blog of this adventure you are having in the Ukraine and Europe. What a keepsake. Love you, my friend, and can't wait until the time comes we meet again!