Slowly, but surely, Miss Maddie the alpine westie is gaining back her strength and stamina on these brief walks that we take around the mountainside. The hot summer temps are fading away, maybe too fast for my liking, but in the coolness of digits less than 70°F, the dogs handle it much better outdoors. We came across an old hotel over the weekend, its exterior still in good shape even if the property was no longer in operation. Along the outside wall, iron rings were firmly attached for way back in the days when people traveled by horse. An iron boot remover/puller was firmly embedded right next to the entrance. I've never taken riding lessons, but now I'm thinking, wouldn't it be fun to go on a vacation through the italian countryside only on horseback? I believe there are already these types of eco-tourism here, and I've read about one where you travel by donkey instead. The dogs would probably prefer to walk it themselves, as long as the pace was kept to a trot.
Counting castles...what we need now is a lively jousting event and fair maidens. Valle d'Aosta is the land of castelli (castles), and spotting them is almost like engaging in a game of punch bug. I felt that it wouldn't be right to leave out such historical detail, but the sharp contrasts...you'll see what I mean in the photos. Now I don't know if it's due to Walt setting the standard on what a castle should look like, but through the dozen or so times that I've been here, not once did I make any real effort to appreciate these medieval landmarks that have withstood the test of time - save one. That would be the Castle of Sarre (3rd image), where we had our wedding photos taken. I believe that most castles are open to the public, and further info can be found here at Valle d'Aosta Castles . The Disney ish -looking one is Castle Saint Pierre (at right). It's a small world after all. Parking sign [P] and picnic tables (not shown) in front of Cast