Meow – Today is International Cat Day!

There are celebration days for everything, of course there is one for our beloved felines: On the 8th of August there is the International Cat Day.

International Fund of Animal Welfare created the day in 2002. It is called also World Cat Day and has national celebrations, National Cat Day, as well on various days during the year, it depends by the country. The idea was to raise awareness for our felines, to help and protect the house cats as well as the wild ones.

This is THE day to put photos and videos of our inmates, our friends. Cats are the companions who easily see us as can/tin openers who are strange in their behaviours. Most people think cats love to be on their own, but the truth is, that they love to be in company. My cats have never ever gone to sleep in the evening unless everyone was at home. They all would sit at the door/window to look out for the last one running home.

Let’s celebrate International Cat Day together with some photos.

Do you have a cat? Or are you more a ‘dog-person’?



















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Collecorvino in the Rolling Hills of Pescara

In the rolling hills of Pescara, and only a few kilometers from the sea, there is the little hill village Collecorvino. The high mountains of the Monti Sibillini National Park and the Majella National Park are in a short distance as well. A perfect place to dive into the real life of Italy.

Exploring the hills of Pescara in Abruzzo I stayed with Cinzia, a super-host I found on Airbnb. Her place is really a perfect place for many reasons, tranquility, near to the sea and the mountains, in addition she is an amazing source about all kinds of information you could need here and pays a lot of attention to your well-being during your stay.

The little village you can reach in a few minutes walking up a hill. It has a few little streets that are more walkways than real streets. The views are breath-taking from every angle.

Historically the little hill-town is known since the 11th century, when a man called Corbino Langobardo decided to build his home here. He fortified the little village and gave it the name ‘Corvino’. But it was already mentioned in 853. The Medieval village was part of the parish of Loreto. Today it is part of Pescara.

There are two churches: Saint Andrew Apostle and Saint Rocco, both are from the 15th and 16th century. There is an old castle where you can find a watch-tower.

I walked through the little streets, had a look into the church in the center of the hill-town. Inside it was full of fortification constructions as the last earthquake in 2009 (!) damaged the whole construction. The little market on Tuesday was already over at noon.

There is a pharmacy, a post-office and a little supermarket, several bars for your daily coffee and cornetto. I had no problems with the masks (because of Corona/Covid pandemic), many were very easy with it. Always asking mask or social-distancing.

I think is a great place where to stay in the country-side, but also near to the sea. Pescara is only a ten minutes drive away, the motorway as well. And additionally Collecorvino is also easy to find.






Collecorvino, Abruzzo/Italy:

For further information:
Abruzzo Tourism
My Airbnb on Facebook


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My Secret Escape in Abruzzo

Collecorvino is a little hill village in the hinterland of Pescara, not far from the sea and with stunning views on the high mountains of the Monti Sibillini National Park.

I have never been for a stay in the Abruzzo region, though it is one of the most ‘original’ ones. I chose the upper part around Pescara and ended up again in one of the most beautiful places I could imagine: Collecorvino.

I came here via Pisa where I brought a friend to his family. He will stay there for a while and go back to Germany by train, while my stay is much shorter. I wanted to have a look to see if I would like to start a second home here in the region.

The place to stay these days I looked up on Airbnb, and I chose, like most of the times, with my heart. It would be the right one. And it IS the right one. Easy to find, at the edge of a village with all I need – post office, pharmacy, supermarket, bar (for coffee on the go) and a big supermarket 5 minutes by car.

The one room apartment has all for a stay: kitchen fully equipped, bathroom with shower, twin bed and even Internet. I can sleep with open windows and doors if I like and I wake up in the morning looking out on the high mountains of the national park. Houses around don’t disturb at all, even if people are out in their gardens, it is pretty quiet.

Personal experience:

Like I said I sleep in total silence and with all open. My host Cinzia is amazing: full of energy, a huge information center, the creator of a very personal paradise. She is there when you need her, she is invisible when you want to be by your own.

In the kitchen area I was greeted with plums from her trees, there is coffee and of course the most important coffee machine. Fridge was on, there is even a microwave.

The bathroom has a good shower with a special system for the water (ask Cinzia, I think it is a great solution for not losing water if someone leaves the faucet open). The room has enough tables and chairs, a TV and outside you can sit in the garden.

Your host – she IS in fact a super-host – lives just a few steps further but can move in a way you don’t see and hear her at all. There is a common BBQ, covered but open on three sides. The only other place you use together with other guests (there is only one big apartment on the first floor) is the trash bin room.

I recommend:

You can walk in the country-side from here. Or go up into the village, have a look in the old streets and the church. Most of all I enjoy sitting on the lawn and looking out on the mountains and the hills around. Or observe the farmers working on their farmland.

If you have a car (much recommended), go to the beach, maybe at Atri. There is a beautiful free beach. Or discover Pescara, an ancient port from long before the Romans conquered it.

The place is surrounded by countless little borghi (Medieval villages in the hills and mountains), all promising a jump into the past. Or if you are more a nature-lover go up towards the mountains, deep into the national parks and hike along lakes, valleys and high peaks. There are professional guides as well. Ask Cinzia.

Don’t miss to see how the olive oil is made, or participate at a wine-tasting. The cuisine of the region has also many specialties you don’t find elsewhere. Prefer always restaurants where local people go to eat, avoid tourist places.

For me it is just the perfect place to stay. In fact many strangers have a second home here and stay for a few weeks a year for vacation, the rest of the year they rent their homes. I think I found a new place for my second home as well …

But most of all I want to say thank you to Cinzia who made my stay super special. Without her I would not have done many things. But most of all I loved our long talks. She is a source of energy, positivity and invention, finds always a solution and let shine the sun also when it’s raining (which by the way is exciting here). Grazie Cinzia!
























Collecorvino, Abruzzo/Italy:

For further information:
Airbnb
Abruzzo Tourism
Cinzia on Facebook


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Weekend of Open Gardens 2020

Is there anything more intriguing than peeking in someone’s home? I think there is not one person out there who would not be interested to see how others live. At the weekend of open gardens everyone can have a look at private gardens and yards.

Very often I discover events not looking for them but just waiting for something/someone and looking around. There is a brochure, sometimes a poster or the Internet shows something up. Our mighty Father Google knows all what out hearts wish!

There are a few days around the year that private gardens open their gates to guests. From June to October there is always the first Sunday, there is one whole weekend in the first month and a promising Long Night of Gardens. So I guess it will be with lights.

The first garden we went to was actually the one we liked most. At the Café Falkenhagen we really had a big surprise: the most various garden design you can imagine. Several lakes, a lot of areas with benches with view on a lake, view on a flower bed, view into the green, view into the distance, a playground for children and a wonderful cafeteria with tables in the garden under trees in the middle of millions of flowers. In short words: a dream of a garden. The many decorations were mainly made with old windows and ‘rubbish’.

The next one was in Labenz. The garden is awarded and under monument protection. I guess it is because of the old farm house, very beautiful from outside, I just can imagine from inside. The garden itself is a wide and open old farmers garden with even a kiln for baking goods and some chickens running around in open spaces. One of the owners greeted me nicely meowing.



We tried two other gardens but they were closed due to the Corona story. We went to another place to have a coffee, just sitting outside with a fantastic lake-view. And the last photo with the roses in the sky was at my friend’s garden, who should open as well for public as she has a real dream-garden, incredibly beautiful and original.

I hope I can do it for the garden night, it would be very interesting to see those beauties with lights.










Herzogtum Lauenburg, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany:


For further information:
Here the official website of the Aktion offener Garten (in German)


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Fast and Fabulous Breakfast: Shakshouka

Shakshouka is a tomato based stew from the Middle East and North Africa. Easy and fast, it is a perfect light but still satisfying dish.

Just a few ingredients – tomatoes, onions and/or garlic, spices and eggs – make a perfect breakfast or even a main dish. It has a lot of good fat (olive oil), yummy and healthy spices and proteins. An ideal start into the day!

I do intermittent fasting, I think already two years now, and eat only in the morning hours, sometime between 8 am and 12 am. That’s it. After experimenting which period is best for me, I decided for the morning hours as I am most of the times at home, normally never go out before 10 or 11 am and this time I don’t think about eating anymore for the rest of the day. Also: I don’t feel food overloaded, my body can do the work of digestion and still has a lot of time to heal if there is anything. Eating is in our civilized world much more than over-valued in my opinion. And: aging means very often also less calories we need and so reducing them is no bad decision as well. Most of the people in their 70s eat the same amount (and crap) of food they had when they were only 20 years old. Fasting in addition is one of the healthiest things we can do to our bodies.

Long story, short meaning: Most of the time I eat around 9 to 10 am some savory dish and maybe an hour later some fruits or anything more ‘indulgent’. A very fast and easy dish is Shakshouka which needs only a few ingredients most of the time I have at home: olive oil (extra virgin and organic of course), onions and garlic (I use both), some tomatoes (best are the bigger ones like San Marziano or Cuore di Bue (beef or beefsteak tomato in English/American) and eggs. You can use whatever spices, I like salt, pepper, a little nutmeg, curry, sometimes harissa. Just before ready, I put a couple of eggs in the tomato stew and poach them lightly. I like them as less cooked as possible.

Who likes and tolerates cheese can add some feta. Or how about some minced lamb? In Turkey they scramble the eggs. I had some hummus and had it together with the dish. As I don’t eat bread, I enjoyed the dish right the way it is.

It’s definitely one of my favorite dishes. It has the fat I need as fuel but also proteins to get started in an active day.



Shakshouka
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Shakshouka
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Put a pan on the stove, switch on the fire and let it warm a little bit. Put in the olive oil, garlic and onion. Let all glaze a little bit.
  2. Now add the diced tomatoes, stir and let it cook until the tomatoes and onions are soft and nice.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir and add the eggs. Cook the eggs as long as you like them. Be aware: the eggs will continue cooking when you switch off the stove.
  4. Serve warm with fresh baked homemade bread.
Recipe Notes

Some like scrambled eggs instead of poached. It is all to your taste.

The breakfast dish is also great on toasted bread slices.

Best if served immediately.

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