A year of travel

2015 was an interesting year of travel for me. Here are some of my favourite places visited this year.
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In January we drove to the beautiful Granite Belt to stay near Stanthorpe for Australia Day. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local winery and the Australian bush.
Australian bush
My lovely friend Poorna is studying in Oxford and invited me to spend a few days with her on my way to Italy in February. The city is full of amazing things…and I met my first robin.
Oxford robin
I arrived in Italy in time to see the fabulous Viareggio Carnevale. I go every year if I can. It is a spectacle not to be missed.
Viareggio Carnevale
Bagni di Lucca was hit by a freak tornado in March, not long after I arrived. The noise of the wind was terrifying in the middle of the night and we awoke to destruction in some of the villages.
Tornado in Bagni di Lucca
Lucca is just 30 minutes from Bagni di Lucca and I visit often…even in the rain.
Lucca in the rain
I headed off to Verona with a friend in April. It is one of my favourite cities in Italy.
Spring finally arrived at Casa Debbio and my plants began to grow. There were fruit blossoms on all the trees and my newly planted terrace started to take shape.
Blossoms at Casa Debbio
I visited a magnificent garden in Tuscany. La Foce was begun in the 1920s by Iris Origo and it is now open to the public on certain days…I will be back, I loved this garden.
La Foce
May was a busy month. The Giro d’Italia came through Bagni di Lucca, right past our apartment, causing much excitement.
Giro d'Italia in Bagni di Lucca
Soon after came the most beautiful road race in the world, the Mille Miglia. Once again, it came past our place.
Giro d'Italia
We visited Poppi, Castiglion Fiorentino , Cortona and Arezzo, a firm favourite. I don’t know why more tourists don’t visit Arezzo, but I’m pleased they don’t.
In late May we drove to Barcelona, stopping at Arles along the way. It has one of the biggest food markets I have ever seen.
Arles food market
The town of Arles is quite lovely, no wonder Van Gogh was drawn to it.
Everyone should go to Barcelona at least once. It is worth a visit for Gaudi alone…but don’t miss the great food at the Boqueria markets.
Gaudi in Barcelona
On the way home from Barcelona we stopped at the sea side town of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-mer.
We stayed the night at Eze, a beautiful little town perched on top of a rock overlooking the sea near Monaco.
Then it was home to Brisbane for a while to enjoy our lovely winter.
Brisbane City beach
It was back to Bagni di Lucca in September in time to renew my drivers licence. Official things are always fraught with difficulty, but they must be done. It is just as well Italy is beautiful and we can forgive it for these things.
Ponte a Serraglio
I took myself off to Padova to the the Giotto frescoes and fell in love with this underrated city.
Florence is an easy day trip from Bagni di Lucca. I go often and it is always fun to see the shop windows full of fabulous designer fashion.
Roberto Cavalli Florence
My sister showed her Curly Flat wine in shows in Stockholm and Helsinki, so I went up to help. Stockholm is a gorgeous city.
I can never get enough of Helsinki.
Autumn is a time of chestnut festivals in the Garfagnana and one of the best is in Cascio. It was a glorious day in the mountains.
Cascio chestnut festival
I had to leave my garden at Casa Debbio in late October. I shut down the house for the winter and dragged myself away.
Casa Debbio
I had a brief stop in Rome on the way back to Brisbane and explored the Jewish Quarter behind  Teatro Marcello.
Teatro Marcello Rome
Back home we went to the beach…a good reason to be in Australia.
Main Beach
My Pop Up shop went well. It was great to see some faces from my days in retail in the Brisbane Arcade. I am now busy sewing for my next one at the beginning of February.
Pop Up shop
Now 2015 is almost over and it is time to start planning next year’s travels. I will be back in Bagni di Lucca in mid February. I can’t wait to get back to Casa Debbio to continue with our garden.
We are planning to go to Sicily in spring. We will drive down, stopping in Naples and Calabria on the way. I hope you will all come along for the ride.