Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, May 23, 2011

Riding, Bolsena, Orvieto

Knowing that we would not be in shape for a ton of riding, we decided to sign up for 2 half-day tours. Wednesday we met Vicki down at the arena at 10 and mounted up. Since the weather was shaping up to be spectacular, she suggested we take the 'mountain trail' which had nice vistas. We were all for that.

I was introduced to Camuso for the day - and we had a great time!

Dave stayed with Pabo. Have I mentioned they have HUGE horses?

Inbetween the arenas, and the path up to the stables, is this tunnel leading into the forest. Sure enough, this is our launching point for our rides. As the arenas are at the bottom of a steep little valley, we had to climb out quickly. Thankfully the horses are well familiar with this trail.

Vicki quickly pointed out all the yellow blooms (as if we could miss them! LOL) But last year she didn't join this outfit until a little later in the summer and they were all gone! What a shame, they are all over the place dotting the landscape with this vibrant yellow bling. Score another point for coming in May! (I want to call these blooms Spanish Broom -- googled it and it seems reasonable.)

The vistas were amazing!

The 4 castle dogs came along with us - Pabo at one point took a snap at the pup; he wasn't taking any of her shenanigans today!

I guess they have a rotating schedule to come in and clear cut areas. This isn't so scenic - but it did give us a chance to glimpse Lake Bolsena.

Ohh! Click to get the big version of the next photo and look closely in the forest up off my left shoulder - there's the castle! Talk about fantasies of riding around in the middle ages and glimpsing your castle off in the distance - almost home!!

Actually, they do offer a 5 day Castle to Castle tour where you ride from one to another each night. OMG, that is my ultimate dream!! However, given how sore we were after just this half day tour -- uff dah! Even though we mostly walked, both these horses had such big movement we were tuckered out after a 2+ hours in the saddle! So we were right knowing not to sign up for that extensive of a tour this year. But we've been waiting for Dave's back to be back in shape for riding to even try this and it was a fantastic success. NEXT time ... something grander for sure.

That afternoon, we wandered down to the lake shore and grabbed a picnic lunch at a campground there and sent a few post cards. We have long acknowledged that you must send post cards on your first days of a trip, else they won't beat you home - indeed, the one we sent home arrived here the same day we did.

Little did we know that the campground was hardly our only option for something to eat in the middle of the afternoon - for the shore was quite the touristy area!

Perfect opportunity to grab a Gelato and wander a bit

As we had no real plans for this destination other than to see the lake, we happened upon this fortress driving in.

Turns out it is the Rocca Monaldeschi della Cervara

Also turns out that there was no one to be found inside to purchase tickets from to enter the museum (was, afterall, 2:00 in the afternoon otherwise known as the DEAD period of the day). But the ramparts were open so we went up intending to purchase a ticket on the way out.

Dang those castle builders sure knew how to snag the best views!

Yes, this is the door into the tower! We always love the odd sized porticos, but this one was boardering on rediculous.

And onward for the afternoon's destination: Orvieto! Yes, we decided after blindly wantering through a few nights ago, we just had to go back and see it.

WOW - came around the bend in the road for this. Yes, suddenly the strings of street lights rising up on both sides from the valley floor make total sense.

From the rest stop

Our first glimpse of the Orvieto Duomo as you come crawling out of a side street. But just wait...

Til you get a load of the whole thing!! LOL. OMG, the middle ages were all over stripes. Me? Not so terribly fond of stripes. And here we have a striped cathedral! Makes me chuckle. And Oh yes - the stripes are not painted on - they are alternating layers of stone. So the stripes permeate inside and out.

Photos were not allowed inside: I stole this one from Wikipedia

But there is no argument it's a magnificent building.

Big Doors! What is Dave looking at?


Inside are some really remarkable Luca Signorelli frescos that have been restored. The guards had to chase us out of there at closing time - though not until after we tagged along with another group who requested acess to one of the side chapels which had been locked previously. The guard complied, and let us linger for another 15 minutes.

The square in front of the Duomo

And a Lovely cantina to take a break,

And admire the view.



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