Sunday Sevens #129 1.4.18

Happy Easter and welcome to this Easter Sunday edition of Sunday Sevens. Last week we were on the slopes, skiing in the Dolomites. (If you missed my Postcard from the Dolomites, you can find it here.) This week we started off back at home in Gibraltar but once the Little Postcards broke up from school for the Easter break midweek, we found ourselves heading back to the airport to fly to England.

Back in Gibraltar

Ah! Look at that sunshine breaking through the clouds. After the wettest March on record in Gibraltar, it was so lovely to see the sunshine at Catalan Bay on Sunday.

Back in training

Monday morning and I got my first chance to climb the Med Steps since 27th January! Bronchitis and then very wet and windy weather rather got in the way of my training for the Med Steps 5 in May.

I went up alone on Monday and managed it ten minutes slower than on my last attempt, partially due to my decline in fitness, and partially because of the copious amount of apes which were sitting in the way on the steps. There were lots of baby apes and some rather fearsome parents so I wanted to give them a wide berth!

I have a lot of training to do before May!

Happy birthday Grandma

My parents left Gibraltar mid week, but before heading back home, my Mum celebrated her birthday with us. It was lovely to be able to spend it with her as most years we are apart. We had a birthday meal out to celebrate the occasion, and this was my dessert – a panacotta which tasted as good as it looked!

On the road again…

Bright and early on Thursday morning we hit the road again, with children this time, bound for Malaga airport and a flight back to the UK for an Easter break…

Hello Jurassic Coast!

We flew to Bristol, then drove down to Devon, to Sidmouth to be precise so we could visit the Jurassic Coast. Living where we do, means that we don’t really ‘holiday’ in the UK. We visit at least once a year but the main purpose of the trip is to visit family and friends. This trip though, was mainly for sightseeing with a couple of visits to see friends.

Snow!

Before Friday, Littlest Postcard had never seen snow before. Driving between Lyme Regis and Sidmouth, the wet weather took a rather colder turn and the rain turned to sleet, then snow. Such excitement! It didn’t stick unfortunately as the ground was too wet, but it still counts I reckon!

Hello Exeter

Yesterday we travelled to Exeter to meet up with a couple of old friends from our university days. It was so lovely to catch up with them after many years. It was my first time in Exeter too (if you don’t count traveling through the station). It’s a beautiful city, very reminiscent of Norwich and a bit like York too. I would’ve liked to have explored a bit more than we did but time was against us.

However you are spending your Easter I hope you are having a happy time with your loved ones. Take care until next week. Here’s a few photos from this last month – as always, it’s been a busy one!

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for Sunday Sevens.

Friday photo challenge (week 13) Rainbow

This week’s photo challenge prompt is ‘rainbow’. I’m rather partial to a rainbow, in fact I love them, so this week’s challenge was rather easy… My first photo is a close-up of my first Sixty Million Trebles blanket.

Next up is one of my current WIPs, my rainbow ripple.

And then, there’s this… my next portable project – a rainbow Scheepjes Whirl by the name of Jumpin Jelly ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

And here’s a double rainbow which appeared outside our front door a while back…

I think this photo may have appeared in a Sunday Sevens once upon a time. In fact, as I was looking back through the Postcard from Gibraltar archives to find a photo of a ‘real’ rainbow I realised that almost exactly a year ago I wrote this post, which seems very apt to include today.

Fancy joining in the Friday photo challenge? You can do that on your blog or on Instagram:

Next week, our focus is ‘sweet’. Just make sure you tag me (@postcardfromgibraltar) or #postcardfromgibfridayphoto so I can see you on Instagram and leave a link to your post in the comments below this post. Happy snapping! 😊❤️🌈

A postcard from the Dolomites

It’s so hard to believe it now in the 23 degrees Celsius spring Gibraltar sunshine, but this time last week, I was learning to ski in the Dolomites in Italy. What an amazing trip and what an absolutely beautiful place. In true Postcard from Gibraltar style I had to send you my very own Postcard from the Dolomites…

We left Gibraltar on a very wet Sunday lunchtime – can you just about make out the Rock through the mist and rain? We travelled by car to Malaga airport before catching a flight to Treviso airport outside Venice. We arrived after dark and then set off on a very long and winding drive up into the Italian Alps. It was all hairpin bends and thick, thick snow, the like of which I had only ever seen on Christmas cards before now.

We reached our destination at 11:30pm. All I could tell you about it then was that it was a long way from home, there was a lot of snow and it was very cold! It wasn’t until we woke up the following morning that we saw the beautiful fairytale village we were staying in, San Vigilio di Marebbe:

After breakfast, our first stop was the ski hire shop to get kitted our with all our gear before our first ski lesson. I had never skied before, I really had no desire to learn to be honest. A lot of our friends make the 3 hour drive from Gibraltar to Sierra Nevada to ski during the winter months and we have often been encouraged to go to, but the prospect didn’t really appeal. This trip came about through Mr Postcard’s work and my parents very kindly stepped in to look after the Little Postcards so we could go alone – it suddenly looked attractive!

So there we were, skis on feet, poles in hands and hearts pounding as we trepidatiously snow ploughed down a rather gentle (I can say that now ;-)) slope from the hotel to the bottom of our nearest piste.

And so it began, the first of 17 hours of ski tuition over 5 days. In for a penny, in for a pound. If we cracked it we planned to attempt Sierra Nevada en famille next winter, if not we’d give it up as a bad job.

After a few tentative slides down the nursery slope, we were bundled into a gondola and taken to the top of our first blue run ‘Miara’. This was utterly petrifying, although by the end of the week it became like an old friend. Last run of the day was down ‘Pedagà’. This felt like a black run to us novices – look you can’t even see the bottom!!

And that was it for day one. Our first ‘proper’ night began in the hotel with a particularly loud party. There were several accordions playing and one chap was banging what looked like a modified broom handle covered in cymbals on the floor. Trays of nibbles were brought round…

…then there was an almight cheer as a lady came in with a bouquet of flowers. Turned out, it was Manuela Moelgg a local sporting heroine who had just returned from her final world championship race after 18 years of competing. It felt like the whole village was celebrating.

The following morning, between breakfast and our first ski lesson of the day, Mr Postcard and I took ourselves off for a wander to see more of San Vigilio.

We had woken to a brighter, sunny morning and our surroundings were looking so pretty.

The beautiful church of San Vigilio, with its wrought iron headstones…

…and the homes and businesses with their ornately carved balconies…

Then we headed out of the village into the countryside.

How’s this for a picnic table with a view?

Ski lessons called though, so we headed back into the village with a pledge to return and see more.

This time our trips down the Miara felt slightly less daunting, although just as we were feeling at ease with our snow ploughing and turns, our instructor sent us down some ‘gentle’ bumps – gulp!

At lunch, we took a cable car further up the mountain and found the most stunning place for lunch…

Scotch broth, just the ticket!

Then it was back down the mountain for more lessons.

On Wednesday morning, we woke to almost cloudless blue skies. Perfect weather!

Look! That’s us down there, we were spied from above by a friend passing on a cable car!

This time, we got our first ever chair lift to another blue run, it was as so pretty there…

What a place, every view is like a Christmas card!

After skiing, we’d arranged to meet some friends back at the same mountain top restaurant as yesterday, Col dl’Ancona. This time we had completed our lesson before lunch so were allowed to enjoy a little après ski at lunchtime…

What a place…

Thursday saw us reach new heights, the plateau on the top of a mountain, Mount Kronplatz or Plan de Corones to be precise…

It was the site of a huge bell placed there in the year 2000 to mark the cooperation of the three communities who live around the mountain San Vigilio (where we were staying), Bruneck and Olang.

The large brass floor plaque below the bell is written in the three local languages, Latin (which is spoken in San Vigilio) as well as Italian and German.

The huge bell, which is rung at midday, is circled by a model of the surrounding mountains and markers to show the direction of significant cities including Berlin, Brussels and Milan:

This row of mountains with completely covered snowy summits is the Austrian alps…

We attempted two blue runs from this lofty location, both rather steeper than we had been used to, and I fell for the first time on a particularly steep section where I just froze in mild panic. We got down though, eventually, and were all very relieved when we got back down to the village again.

Mr P and I decided to go back out for another longer walk, on the same road as before but further this time.

It was clear that the spring melt had begun, in the two days since our last walk, we could see a marked difference in the amount of snow at the roadside.

Our walk took us up along a footpath through the trees and away from the road.

It was mostly compacted snow under foot, but at times it was decidedly slippery as the snow gave way to ice.

Wood is a big thing around here. Obviously a lot is needed as fuel to keep homes warm in the long cold winter, but also a lot is used in construction too. Wherever you look there are buildings for storing wood, or log piles heaped with snow.

We headed back out of the woods and onto the road where we came across a rather jauntily decorated house.

We had been promised a lake along this road, but all we found was a rather disappointing pond, so crossed over through the trees on the other side and past a stream.

It was here that we found an amazing cross country ski track…

It stretched for miles in each direction.

We had caught a glimpse of one skier through the trees, but apart from that one person, we were all alone. It was so peaceful.

The sun was falling lower in the sky, so we thought it best to head back to the road before it grew cold and dark.

Friday was another beautiful day, our last day of skiing and one in which I had a couple of incidents. I learned two valuable lessons about chairlifts; 1) don’t let go of your ski poles when you’re on one unless you have checked the straps are round your wrists and 2) chairlifts are best got onto in the vertical, rather than horizontal position. I shall say no more.

I did end the day on a high though, we skied two thirds of the way down this slope twice…

And I managed three times down the blue ‘Pedagà’ run without an instructor (but with an experienced friend) to finish off our morning’s skiing.

And so our ski adventure came to an end…

It was a marvelous experience, one I feel incredibly lucky to have enjoyed. I learned a new skill, met some lovely people, made new friends and got to see a truly spectacular part of the world. Oh, and I didn’t get hurt! Win, win!!

As the last rays of Friday’s sunshine set on the mountains above San Vigilio, I felt a tad melancholy that we were leaving, but also hopeful that one day we would return. Ciao until next time…

In case you are ever in San Vigilio and need ski lessons, I can heartily recommend Scuola Sci San Vigilio di Marebbe – our instructor had no end of patience!!

Sunday Sevens #128 25.3.18

Well it’s been quite a week for me. I started it in Gibraltar, spent most of it in Italy and a fair chunk of yesterday in Barcelona (airport only unfortunately – but you can’t have it all!!). Here’s this week’s jet set edition of Sunday Sevens (or in this case Sunday Eights)…

A rainy escape

This was my view as we crossed the runway in Gibraltar last Sunday on our way to Malaga airport. Running away and leaving the Little Postcards with my parents, it was the first time we’d left them for more than two nights in about 12 years. We were enroute to the Dolomites in Italy for a skiing break with some of Mr Postcard’s work colleagues.

Until this week I had never skied. It wasn’t something I ever particularly fancied trying, I imagined I would be asking for an injury if I tried, so I was quite content to be a non-skier. That was all about to change.

First day on the slopes

After 10 hours of traveling on Sunday, we arrived at 11:30pm. First thing in the morning, we were up for breakfast, next stop the ski-hire shop and then an 11 o’clock appointment with David our ski instructor.

Those first ginger movements across the small slope from our hotel to the bottom of the piste were petrifying. As was the first couple of snow-ploughs at the very bottom of the slope. How we would ever master this with any grace or dignity intact was beyond me.

A pre-ski walk

Day 2 saw us with a window of opportunity between breakfast and our first lesson of the day. We put our hiking boots on and made a break for it to see what was beyond the pretty Village of San Vigilio where we were staying. We didn’t have to go far to see the amazing views. What a truly beautiful place. Ski-wise, we saw a slight improvement on our technique after 4 hours with our tutor, but we’re not attempting to score a place on Team GB for the 2022 Winter Olympics yet.

That’s me down there!

So that’s me down there, spotted from way above the piste by a friend traveling past on a ski lift. There were 3 in our class, me, Mr Postcard and another friend from Gibraltar. Our instructor is in blue and, quite remarkably, is able to ski backwards… he’s been skiing since he was 2 1/2 years old apparently. No hope for us two then, starting at the ripe old age of 40+.

Another snowy walk

On Thursday, after our lesson (which didn’t go too well – I fell for the first time on a very steep slope near the top of an amazing mountain, the views were great even if the skiing wasn’t), Mr Postcard and I continued out on the same road we had taken before but carried on for a few kilometers. We ended up on a woodland walk and then hit a cross country ski trail. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

Survived it!

Before we could say ‘après ski’ our five days of skiing were over. 17 hours of lessons later I can now parallel ski (slowly). And what’s more amazing is that I didn’t injure myself. I only had a few mishaps, 1 fall, I dropped one of my ski poles off a chair lift (eek) – fortunately no one was underneath at the time, and I may have come a cropper on a different chair lift shortly afterwards, but all in all I think it was a win. Cheers!

Ciao San Vigilio and grazie!

The last rays of sunlight on the mountains behind the gorgeous village of San Vigilio on Friday evening as I finished packing and got ready for our last Italian dinner. Wow, what a week it was, such a laugh with some lovely people and a great experience I will never forget.

Homeward bound..

We had a trip and a half yesterday. 5:20am pick up from the hotel, 3 hour drive from San Vigilio to Marco Polo airport in Venice (I’ve always wanted to go to Venice), a flight to a very wet Barcelona (I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona). 5 hours at Barcelona airport. A flight to Malaga, and a car journey back to Gibraltar. We watched the sun rise over the Italian Dolomites and set over Spain as we descended into Malaga airport. 17 hours door to door!

Mr Postcard says I can now tick Venice and Barcelona off my bucket list, I’m not convinced that seeing the inside of the airports counts as truly experiencing either city :-/

Phew, what a week…

I’m off for a lie down! Thanks for stopping by.

I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for the weekly Sunday Sevens blog series (which features 7 photos from the past 7 days).

Friday photo challenge (week 12) Spring

Spring is my favourite time of the year for climbing the Med Steps. Everything is so lush and green after the winter’s rain and the wild flowers pop up in the dusty, dry soil.

It’s the time of year when one of Gibraltar’s national flowers, the Gibraltar Candytuft, comes into bloom…

All these beautiful plants and colours are just what you need to distract you from your aching muscles as you haul yourself up the steep climb!

For more on the beautiful wild flowers of the Med Steps (and how I attempted to recreate them with wool!) you can look here.

Spring is the theme for this week’s Friday Photo Challenge. Next week it’s ‘rainbow’.

Sunday Sevens #127 18.3.18

Blimey we had a wild night of weather last night. I know there’s a mini-beast from the East hitting the British Isles at the minute, but we also had tales and heavy rain overnight. Gusts in the Port of Gibraltar reached 100km per hour overnight and our poor balcony took a bit of a battering as we faced much of the wind head-on.

Anyway, weather aside, I hope this edition of Sunday Sevens finds you well and that you’ve had a good week.

Mother’s Day

Last Sunday was of course Mother’s Day. I was very lucky and was given this beautiful bouquet of roses by the Little Postcards along with a box of chocolates (they know me well). I was a very kind Mummy and shared them (as much for my benefit as their’s though – my figure is looking decidedly rounded these days…).

A blessing of unicorns

Way back last summer when I set off on my Summer Craft Challenge, the first thing I made was Europa the Unicorn. She came as a kit with Simply Crochet Magazine issue 54 and was designed by Ilaria Caliri. Europa came with us on all of our European adventures last summer (some of which I have still to tell you about when I get the chance!).

Anyway, back then I was asked by a couple of friends to make them a unicorn. That number of requests grew to four and I thought I had better pull my finger out and get on with it, so a unicorn production line began. And here they are in all their rainbow glory along with Europa – the girl who started it all (with the golden horn).

I do enjoy making amigurumi creatures but the counting and careful noting of rows and increases / decreases means that I need to concentrate – something I’m no good at in a house full of boys! So at last, only 7 months after making the requests, my little blessing of unicorns (yes that’s what Google says the collective noun of unicorns is) are heading off to their new homes and this unicorn factory is closing.

Another WIP completed!

Work in progress number 6 of 2018 completed (if you include the unicorns a number 5). This ripple scarf was actually finished a while ago, but this week I blocked it to make the pointy edges sit nicely ready to give it to my Mum. It was a late Christmas present (I just didn’t get it done in time to post it to England in time for Christmas) and I was able to give it to her when she arrived in Gibraltar this week. It’s made using a Scheepjes Whirl in Red Velvet Sunrise. I’m very pleased to say she was very happy with it, even though it was a bit late.

Boat spotting

We get to see all sorts of different boats and ships coming past out window on a regular basis, but a couple of times this week we saw a small cruise ship park up (I know that’s not the correct terminology) outside our home and it looked like it was bunkering (taking on supplies). It was an unusual sight as normally a cruise ship would anchor in port. But we couldn’t see any passengers on board so we presumed it was perhaps a new ship on it’s sea trials. We found I interesting anyway!

Lunchtime treat

As I mentioned before, my parents arrived in Gibraltar this week and we went out for a sneaky lunch while the Little Postcards were at school. I’m salivating just looking at this photo, I could go another plate of fish and chips now!! It was utterly delicious and far nicer than the tin of soup I would normally, have for lunch on my own!

Coastal Crochet CAL update

I am bang up to date on the Seaside Stashbusting Blanket CAL organised by Eleanora at Coastal Crochet. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I’m really enjoying the slow gentle nature of this crochet along. Just four rows are released each week and that’s a rate I can keep up with! I have a feeling I may be making a colour change soon though and give the aqua blues a rest for a while…

Stormy Saturday

Blimey we had a heck of a storm yesterday. This winter seems to have brought us more than our usual number of storms here in Gibraltar – I know you may think we have got off lightly as we didn’t have the snow and ice that many have suffered further north but we have had an awful lot of wind and rain! This is what our balcony looked like first thing this morning. Our poor pots have seen better days – they seem to spend more time on their sides these days!

Thanks for popping over to see what I’ve been up to this week. I hope whatever you have in store next week, it’s a good one for you. I’m linking with Natalie from Threads & Bobbins for Sunday Sevens.

Friday photo challenge (week 11) Communication

On a rocky ledge high above the Strait of Gibraltar sits a huge dish. Somewhere in an office in Gibraltar sits someone controlling this dish and communicating with a satellite up in space.

I find that fact quite fascinating. Also fascinating is the name of the tunnel which runs below the dish. It’s name? The Devil’s Bellows!

‘Communication’ is the theme of this week’s Friday photo challenge. Next week’s is ‘Spring’.