Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Gorge Walk into the Snow

Fara San Martino, such a beautiful gorge and utterly fabulous climbing.  The sight of all those newly bolted routes and stunning limestone colours and formations certainly got our climbing muscles twitching.  But not today, my fingers would have frozen onto the rock.  

And it was such a beautiful day for a walk.  Brilliant sunshine, crystal clear skies with far reaching views, cold, very fresh and plenty of snow just onwards and upwards a bit.  

We didn't quite make the full giro (about a 6 hour walk) as we were running out of daylight, serve us right for starting the day with a lazy breakfast in bed.  Fried egg & prosciutto on toast, with coffee of course.  It was rather nice.

KP wondering why we hadn't bought the climbing ropes

He had a point there.  Beautiful, beautiful limestone

Going into the gorge is just like going through the wardrobe
and stepping out in Narnia

Just sooooo much rock, so much yet to be bolted too.
A gorge to rival El Chorro (well known climbing mecca in Spain)

The restoration of the XIII century monastery of
San Martino in Valle is coming on beautifully

Onwards & upwards

Up into the snow line now

Coffee & Cake time :-)

Just so beautiful, and not a soul to be seen

Uh oh.  Snowball fight time.

The sun picking off the peaks is just not done justice
 by my lack of photographic skills

The sea in the distance can just be seen.
The perfect combination - sea, rock & snow

That's me!

And the treat of watching the little chamois,
watching me, watching you

Friday, 6 January 2012

Update with Pictures (Jan 2012)

2012.  Where on earth did 2011 go?  

It's now exactly a year since that memorable final signing day when we bought our house and we moved into our little spot on the hill, our own little corner of Abruzzo, and started to bring the concept that is  Kokopelli to life.

A deity of fertility, growth, fun, dance, music, mischievousness and song, Kokopelli is the perfect symbol to reflect the spirit of what we are creating, and Serramonacesca with its unbridled beauty, its abundance of characters, and vibrant beating heart, is the perfect spot.

And so we have spent the last year pulling, pushing, teasing and encouraging the vision and ideas to come together and naturally grow and evolve.  The central hub and the cog on which all the wheels will move together is our barn.  We're not creating just another campsite for people to pitch up and put up their  barriers.  Kokopelli is all about friends, living and experiencing.

The barn, after almost 6 months of work, is coming alive at last.  Turning a ramshackle, neglected, pig/rabbit/dump it/wine making space into the central hub of Kokopelli hasn't been easy.  KP and I haven't always agreed, which became interesting at times, but we also worked together, pulling as a team, until compromises on design, materials and time lines were reached.  We got there in the end, with Max and his merry men having done us proud and become warm and firm friends.

View to the barn from the front.
 Doors to showers & toilets are just to the right
So what we now have is the barn, a fabulous mixture of the old, the salvaged and the new, working together to create the living hub.  The front has been transformed into three: a large room housing four beautifully spacious showers, each with their own dressing areas, there are four large wash basins and hair drying space.

To the right is a smaller room housing two toilets, each with their own hand basin, and a disabled toilet and shower.  Then we have our storage space and the boiler room with an absolutely massive tank, solar heated with gas back up, to ensure copious amounts of hot water. 

Dishwashing & laundry. Awaiting tables, shelving,
drying racks & clothes lines
Built on to the side is a huge open space for dish washing and laundry, which has been left open and airy to take in and capitalise on the fabulous views to both the Majella and Gran Sasso massifs.  

There's a half roof covering the washing area but there are no walls and the rest of the roof space has the huge beams left exposed and open to the sky. This will eventually become dappled sunlight through dripping vines.
Terrace awaiting fencing, plants,
tables, chairs, parasols & barbecues

Round the back, however, is where it really happens. Two fabulous rooms with the most glorious views. One a free space for all to use, to eat, cook, read, play or just chill when the weather's too hot, too wet or too cold.

The other is a "camping without camping" room. If sleeping under canvas is pushing the "back to nature" concept too far, this room is the perfect compromise.  It's simple, it's basic, it's cheap, but it's very pretty and very comfortable with room enough for four.

Both rooms lead out onto our grand terrace where all can meet, share, cook al fresco and enjoy.  It will become littered with tables, chairs, parasols and barbecues.  It faces west so is a sun trap during the day and the perfect sunset marvelling spot at the end of the evening as the sky turns pink behind the mountains.

All we need do now before we open in May is the exciting finishing touches of furnishings, fixtures and fittings and a bit of landscaping.  There were times last year when I wondered if we'd ever get this far.  But here we are.  Happy.

The Barn Room for rent.
Awaiting rugs, curtains, cushions
double bed, sofa bed, chests, wardrobe

The Barn Room (as above)

The Communal Barn. Awaiting dining table, chairs,
gas cooker, fridge freezer, games, books, maps

The Communal Barn (as above)

Shower room showing 2 of the 4 showers, and 2 of the 4 basins.
All awaiting light fittings, mirrors, shelves, towel rails, etc

Shower room, as above.
Open door shows dressing area leading into the shower

Another view of a shower showing the dressing
room leading into the shower cubicle

Corridor through to the toilets

One of the three toilets, each with individual hand basins

Large toilet with wet room shower,
suitable for wheelchair access