Two women leaving soft footprints through city streets, country roads, and green mountain paths. Two friends with backgrounds in Fine Art Restoration and Art History who share an appreciation for simple pleasures and a passion for introducing others to Florence and beyond.

Angelica Turi - Tuscan, Licensed Environmental Guide. Elizabeth Namack - American, Licensed Tour Guide for Florence and Province

Come share the journey with us! Reflections and Wanderings through Tuscany and Italy!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Morocco- Marrakech&Essaouira

 
Snake charmer, Brightly dyed cloth drying, The famous Jemaa el Fna square
This week’s post takes us a bit farther afield.  A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to finally travel to Morocco, and it was Magical with a capital M. The colors, the sounds, the mint tea, the vegetable and chicken tajines, the incredible artisan craftwork, the ritual of the hammam. I was on a yoga retreat and my stay was a week, visiting basically two towns (Marrakech and Essaouira). Needless to say, the snake charmer worked his enchantment. I didn't even get my fortune told, but I am sure I will return, and next time hopefully with family in tow.

Angelica travelled with CW Adventures a couple of years ago to Morocco and wrote about her experience here.
 
Koutoubia Mosque, Ben Youssef Medersa archway, My riad roof top terrace

Morocco is a large country and I only saw a small part, basically the central area of Marrakech and the central coast on the Atlantic Ocean. Prayer bells sound at specific hours of the day, reminding me that I was in an Islamic country. One day I wore a knee length skirt which I then decided was not the best idea for a day of touring. Although there were lots of foreigners walking around, wearing all sorts of things, in my opinion it is better to be respectful. So long pants it was for the rest of the afternoon and throughout the following days. Although the relationship regarding woman in an Islamic country is for another place and post, as a foreigner I did not feel super uncomfortable walking around by myself in the towns (granted after I got myself covered). 

The people were friendly and not too pushy, and even though my French is next to nothing, I managed to get by with English and a few Arabic words thrown in for good measure. “chakran” was the word I used the most, which got smiles at my pathetic attempt saying “thanks” in Arabic.  
 
Natural pigments, Citrus juice stand, Roof top terrace

When shopping for some of the exquisite artisan products which abound (colorful carpets, Berber silver jewellery, hand-died cloth and silks, genie shoes, leather bags, wooden chests, iron work etc.), bargaining is a must. Even though in the end I know I was perhaps overpriced compared to the locals, there was always a salesman saying, “it is a very democratic price” - and I guess most likely it was.
 
Koutoubia Mosque, Mint anyone? A trusted delivery by donkey


Next week, Shopping in Essaouria. Morocco.
- Post and photos by Elizabeth 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

...More spring flowers !


This week I decided to post more plants that we might see on trails while we are walking in the countryside...


Polmonaria / Pulmonaria officinalis. - To treat a cough

Chelidonia

Chelidonia / Ranunculus Ficaria, used for the treatment of warts.

Consolida - Symphytum officinale

The Consolida - Symphytum officinale, is used in folk medicine to treat wounds.


Burdock, Bardana
Burdock, bardana blossoms
















 Burdock / bardana / Lappa officinalis  - Internal detoxifying, helps with skin diseases and burns.



Blossoms of Vitalba 

Vitalba in the fall

















Traveller´s joy / Vitalba / Clematis Vitalba  - only the baby blossoms are eatable.. Later this plant becomes toxic.



Hop

Hop / luppolo / humulus lupulus - This plant has a sedative effect. Belonging at the opiate family, traditionally it is used to produce beer. In spring "the long asparagus" is eatable !


Tasso barbasso

Tasso barbasso - especially indicated for respiratory problems


Hemlock, leaves

Hemlocks' flower

























Finally, the hemlock ... Do NOT CONFUSE this with other herbs ... Observe it well, the leaves looks like parsley and the flowers are very similar to the carrot blossoms. This species IS NOT EATABLE. It  is a very poisonous species!!


- Post by Angelica, photos from Internet

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ancient pathways, pilgrims, herbs



Spring is the time of awakening from winter hibernation, but not only for us … but also for the plants!

Along paths, we encounter many herbs that in this period of the year have natural properties at their height. Many of them seem to be unimportant and we are used to seeing them. However we are wrong, the power of plants is strong. 

The healing power of Nature, on the Via Francigena, was of utmost importance for people. Ancient monasteries had their own pharmacies to cure sick pilgrims, using exclusively plants. Lets see some of these medicinal herbs found of our area and how they were used by our ancestors in the Middle Ages.

Equisetum

Equisetum- An extract of this plant, heals all wounds, even old ones, and will disinfect with an extremely high, amazing power!

Fumaria- Used for skin problems such as eczema or acne. Its cleansing action is mediated by the kidneys and liver and therefore it is recommended as a spring purifying cure. It can also be used as an eyewash for conjunctivitis.

Dandelion- This plant is rich in vitamin C. Classical detoxification herb in spring (along nettle, borage, horsetail). Cures kidney problems, liver and constipation.

Bardana- Its cataplasm helps against acne and pimples, once it was used against syphilis.

Hawthorn- Remedy for small cardiac care. Frees tightness in the cardiac region. With hawthorn flowers you can make a tea for insomnia.

Borage- Used in case of cold and disease. The extract is great for coughs and bronchitis. Often combined with plants used in a spring detox. In the kitchen it is good for making tortelli (stuffed with borage)! In case of burns, you can apply chopped fresh borage on the painful area.

St. John's Wort- From the precious quality of healing wounds, as well as being a powerful natural anti-depressant, St. John's wart, has the recognized property of calming the nervous system. Its oil is excellent for many skin problems,  herpes and sunburn.

Rue- Photo toxic to touch it.  It was used for digestive problems and intestinal fermentation.
Warning: Taking too much can be poisonous.

Mallow- Softening of the respiratory tract (bronchitis, cough) and skin. Cure the eye irritation and constipation

Nettle- Known as a spring detoxifying cure as it has diuretic and purifying properties. We can prepare a special risotto with it!

Wild asparagus- Excellent diuretic. With it we can prepare special omelets and  risotto!

Rosemary- Rosemary is great for tired walkers and fever.

Sage- It is used for digestive and diuretic beverages.

Thyme- Recommended for general weakness and fatigue in the legs. Nervous system tonic and can sooth a cough.


We can learn from the past. Happy Spring Detox, the natural way. 

- Post by Angelica



Monday, March 24, 2014

Photos from the trail - Mount Subasio





Join us for an accompanied journey in the Footsteps of Saint Francis from 19 to 24 October 2014!! 












This week enjoy some photos and a video from the trail. On our journey we have planned one hike which leads from Saint Francis' home in Assisi to the ancient town of Spello.  



We will traverse Mount Subasio, part of the Apennine mountains in central Italy. About 1290 meters above sea level, the vistas are vast and the meadows lush.

Above the tree line, the area is now protected as a natural park.  Sheep and cows graze the green meadows. Sometimes we come across semi-wild horses.


There is a sense of peace and tranquility. Calmness surrounds. Saint Francis is in the wind, I can feel him. Come join us.



- Post and video and photos by Elizabeth