Category: Story

Welcome to 2019!

Hi everyone! We hope your New Years Eve was as much fun as ours!

  

As mentioned earlier we had booked a table at “Shardana Wine and Sea” and from the first moment, we didn’t regret it! I must admit though, I was a bit sceptical…not that I didn’t trust the chef and his ability to cook lovely meals, or the restaurant itself. But how do you celebrate New Years Eve in Italy? What were we supposed to do? Since we don’t speak and understand Italian, I was a bit worried about that.

Well, no need for that, as it turned out! The restaurant was fully booked (which means about 25 guests) and the atmosphere very familiar and heartily! We arrived just after 9 p.m. and the chef and his wife guided us professionally through the menus and the wine, explained our food and what would happen next.

Karaoke was surprisingly a highlight and – while singing and partying – we truly felt like being part of a big family! We had so much fun!

About half an hour before Midnight, the obligate panettone was served, plus a bottle of prosecco. Yes, a whole bottle was included with the menu – unbelievable!

    

While the countdown was on, people started to open their prosecco bottles and counting loudly backwards accompanied by the oversized clock on the screen!

ZERO – HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Hands were shaken, people were hugging and kissing each other – even Patrik and I got involved in the overwhelming event!

Around one o’clock, the “leader of the pack” – Giancarlo – announced that we would relocate to the the Yacht Club! All righty, said and done. People were grabbing their jackets and belongings and off we went. Patrik and I stopped at Luna Azzurra on the way, to leave our half a bottle of wine, which was leftover from the dinner. At the Yacht Club, Giancarlo offered a glass of prosecco to all of us, and we tried to mingle in. Some were dancing, others just talking. A live band was playing, but even so, the atmosphere was gone somehow.

     

So after finishing our glass, Patrik and I decided to call it a day….well, night….and started to leave. Meanwhile, the owners of Shardana also had arrived, and we took our chance to say goodbye and thanking again for the fabulous dinner and evening!

Back at the boat, Patrik and I started to watch a movie and at three o’clock we went to bed. Tired and very happy we fell asleep – nighty night!

The next day – sunny again, by the way – we didn’t do much, except of sleeping in (me at least), removing the old bimini bares, mounting the outboard holder and completed this and that. No stress!

    

All in all we completed everything we aimed for while being in Loano. The garage is organised and looks very tidy, Luna Azzurra has been baptised once again, we met Matteo and his wife and discovered some new shops in town and outside (grocery and handy ones).

A cool thing was clearly to get to know our “next-boat” neighbour Alberto, who owns the beautiful ORION, and the boat owners on the other side. It was good to meet and greet, even other boat owners on our pontoon, who were there for a few days, waved their hand and we said our “buon giornos”, buon natales” and “buon annos”. Slowly but steady, it seems like we start to belong to the Marina di Loano, which is a lovely feeling!

Sadly, our day for departure came too early and on the 3rd of January, 1 p.m. We left Luna Azzurra and Loano. Everything has been cleaned and is in order again. – ready for our future guests on board.

Our journey home took almost seven hours, including two short breaks. On the northern side of the San Bernardino tunnel, the temperatures were tangible lower – around zero deg. C – and we had some fine snow fall. Luckily, we had no traffic jam or some other delay, although the radio warned for traffic problems and icy roads.

Odin yawned at us when we finally entered our house! Our Sweetie-Pie! In we went with our baggage and stuff, afterwards we sent a quick Whatsapp to our parents and our catsitter. Letting them know that we arrived home safely.

  

Well, Saturday today, and most of the laundry has been done, we went grocery shopping yesterday and. Patrik is already packing his bags again…..yeah, his work will get him to Texas on Tuesday. Visiting customers in the States, he will be away for at least 10 days.

Me, I’ll start working again on Monday. …looking already forward to Easter, when Patrik and I will return to Loano and to Luna Azzurra!

So long, darling!

Enjoying Ourselves

Already six days have gone, since we arrived in Loano.

The drive went super quick: We left last Monday, at 09.25h and six hours later, at exactly 15.22h, we drove through the Marina di Loano gate! A new record!

We even had a 30 minutes break and lost some time, due to unexpected snow fall at the northern side of the San Bernardino tunnel. As soon as we were on the other side and driving more and more south, the temperature rose, the sun was shining and soon it showed 16, and even 18 degrees C!

And then, suddenly we were here! What a very special moment it was to see Luna Azzurra again – how beautiful she is, exactly as we remembered her!

     

It didn’t take so long to install ourselves, and soon we clinked our glasses, happy to be here and to Christmas Days – it was the 24th December after all!

Our first evening was very cozy, with a lovely homemade meal – the heating system onboard worked wonderfully – and we planned our stay, what to shop and what we need to accomplish during these days.

We knew that the big shopping mall in Albenga would be closed on the 25th and 26th December, so no stress for a couple of days, but a lot of time to stroll around in Loano and along the beach promenades, have a little lunch and simply enjoy the beautiful and sunny weather.

It almost feels like spring, if there wasn’t the Christmas decoration everywhere. Funny atmosphere actually!

The 27th arrived and we finally jumped into action, driving to Albenga, to the DIY shop, where we bought some storage equipment to put up in the garage. Then grocery shopping which took some time and just before three o’clock we were back at the boat again.

We didn’t do a lot with the remaining day, except install some stuff at the garage and take the dinghy to our boat. We would need it the next day, in order to remove the bleached and ugly looking stripe outside the hull and start polishing.

What we also did was visiting the well known restaurant “Shardana Wine and Sea” – which lies in the marina area. They offer a multiple course menu for New Years Eve and we wanted to ask if a vegetarian version would be possible. At our earlier visits to Loano this year, we ate there a couple of times and knew it’s an excellent little restaurant! So celebrating New Year there, would be a real highlight!

The chef asked a few things, about my eating habits, made some notes and asked us to come back the next day. He would have to think about the possibilities, in order to serve me an equal menu. Exciting – and we looked forward to hear his decision the next day!

That evening Patrik and I decided to eat out and found a miniature pizzeria, decorated as a pirates nest and we soon discovered that it was more a children’s restaurant. The pizza was very tasty, but no salad or another starter was available. At least they had a nice wine list and a very good espresso after the meal.… yeah well, the price was so little, it almost wasn’t worth to call it “bill”!

That meant we were back home quite early and decided to watch a DVD – we took Patrik’s old Apple screen with us and a few movies. So – voilà – there we were, lying on the sofa with a glass of red wine and watched a movie!

The next day – the 28th – we removed the provisory sticker reading Luna Azzurra at the aft and putting up the new one! We also put up the www.freja-theCAT.com font on the boom, plus our registration number. It looks very professional now.

In between we quickly went to “Shardana”, to ask about the New Years Eve menu. YES, he could do it and he started to explain what his ideas were! His suggestions sounded very tasty, with homemade pasta, a mini veg-lasagne and some courses I didn’t understand fully. Well, as long as I won’t have “animals” on my plate, I will be more than happy and I’m sure he will do his outmost! So that was fixed, cool!

Back at Luna Azzurra, we continued with one side of the hull, removing the stripe and see how the polishing would work the next day. Yes, it was already time for a shower and a well earned aperitif! We cooked a lovely dinner and so another movie evening came to an end.

29th December: Busy again, especially Patrik was working really hard, polishing the bow of Luna Azzurra, preparing the surface for the last stickers….well, HER very special logo. The cat and the mouse playing chess!

Meanwhile, I was writing this post….although it was a little bit challenging without my little help LEO. Why? For two days we didn’t have internet connection, which was a bit challenging! No WhatsApp, nothing! We pay for that obviously!

OK, OK, on one hand it’s pretty relaxing, not being able to communicate with the “rest of the world”, but it would be nice to keep in touch with our parents at least, and our cat and house sitter! *sigh*

Today is Sunday and apparently the DIY and shopping mall in Albenga are open. Looks like we’ll drive there later and buy some more shelves for the garage, a ladder, plus one or two more storage boxes. Can’t have enough of those, if you are near the sea with its salt in the air.

I’ll also do some washing today – luckily there is a DIY laundry just a couple of minutes away!

Tomorrow is the last day of 2018 and we do look forward to a sunny day and a sparkly evening at “Shardana Wine and Sea”.

Happy New Year everyone!

We wish you all a Merry Christmas a Happy New Year !

 

Preparing for Loano

Time flies by when you are busy, doesn’t it!?

Well, good for us, that means our Christmas holidays are coming closer and we’ll soon drive to Loano!

The Mercury outboard engine has been delivered to the Marinas Office last Wednesday. Matteo informed Patrik and brought it to our garage – thanks a lot, Matteo!

The ordered towels have also arrived at our place – the just need to be washed and packed down again!

About the bimini and ordering a new one: We received the color samples, which look very promising. But we are still waiting for a price offer, in order to replace the sprayhood (only the cover) as well – maybe. This is still intact, though, but buying everything new would mean, we could have a total new color and wouldn’t have to try to match the new bimini to the existing sprayhood. Apparently, a new sprayhood cover wouldn’t be too expensive, but we’ll see after we get the offer…

Then, we bought some stuff at the sellout. Patrik and I realized that eventually we would need offshore jackets, as well (we already have coastal ones). So, luckily I’ve found a Henry Lloyd jacket in the correct size for me – half the price (!) and Patrik also found a jacket and pants from Gill. Unfortunately, they didn’t have his size anymore in the sellout, so he bit the bullet and ordered at the regular price. Pity! There are also some other parts included in the order, such as a holder for the outboarder, plus a boatswain chair.

We’ve read, by the way, that the Yacht Club at the Marina di Loano offers an exclusive New Years Dinner and we actually considered to participate. But only shortly! The price amounts to EUR 110.- per person – exclusive drinks! The food is most likely not à la carte, which means that I as a vegetarian would clearly have overpaid the whole fun. Thanks, but no thanks!

I’m sure Patrik and I will find a cozy little restaurant in Loano “downtown” and in case this will fail as well, we’ll surely enjoy a lovely meal on board our Luna Azzurra! It wouldn’t be the worst New Years Eve to be honest!

And since we’ll take Patrik’s old computer screen with us, we would even be able to watch a DVD!

Arrangements have also been made for Odin, of course! First we planned to take him with us. But then we realized we wouldn’t have enough time for him. And for the first time for him onboard a boat, I think it would be crucial to spend as much time as possible with him, and see how he feels and behaves.

Now, a friend of us – who also has holiday – will simply move into our house and enjoy a few quite days with reading, do handicrafts and being company to Odin – he’ll be thrilled, I’m sure of that and he won’t be alone on Christmas and New Years Eve!

Last but not least we are thinking about decorating Luna Azzurra with some Christmas lights. We would be the only illuminated yacht in the marina! Well, we still have to see, if and how….

Anyway, we wish you all a wonderful 3rd Advent weekend!

The Feast of Love – or is it?

Everyone can feel it, something is in the air! Christmas is on its way and if you like it or not, you are involved. Christmas songs are played on the radio and on TV it’s almost impossible to see a not-Christmas-related movie.

Some love this time of the year and some are less enthusiastic about it. I count myself to the latter. Mostly, because I don’t like the winter, it’s too dark and usually cold. I reckon I’m the only one who doesn’t like snow either… at least amongst my family and friends.

We don’t have any yet, though!

  

Christmas is approaching slowly and people are excited to start planning menus for the festivities. Of course it must be something special and plenty of it. Guests are invited and as a good host you want to give your best – maybe even show off a little bit!

Well, nothing wrong about that! But are people aware that at no other time of the year so many animals are slaughtered?

Lobsters and other – often exotic – marine animals have to let their lives, not to mention the cruelty of foie gras or even frog’s legs! Suddenly, people are buying gourmet food, which they normally would never purchase, and animal welfare is not so important anymore….”ah, it’s just once a year!”, is an often used expression.

Does it justify the abundance of meat and fish? And how much of all that will be thrown away after the festivities? Food waste is one of the worst things in our society, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone has to be a vegetarian, but are these masses animal products really necessary?

Christmas presents are a similar topic. Why does the key ring or the pompon on your bonnet have to be real fur? Or on the hood of your new jacket? Does anyone care, where these furry accessories are coming from? Even if they are dyed in fancy colors, pink, yellow and turquoise, it once belonged to an animal, who suffered a terrible live and death! Nowadays, no one can say “I didn’t know”. Everyone knows about this cruel industry, and it’s pure arrogance and disinterest if one is buying these products regardless.

The same problem about certain type of leather, such as crocodile and snake. Why does the watch strap or belt have to be made in such an exotic leather?. If one would know how these croc and snake farms look like, I’m sure many would withstand buying such a product.

Well, that’s apparently the other – not so shiny – side of Christmas. When looking through the eyes of an animal, destined to end up on someones plate or neck, the term “Feast of Love” suddenly doesn’t fit so perfectly anymore.

Maybe one or another will pause for a moment, in the midst of the festivity preparing, and will come to the conclusion that one of the courses could be replaced with a tasty vegetarian alternative. Finding recipes won’t be a problem, the internet is full of ideas.

Compliment to everyone, who dares to try something new! You can only win, that’s certain…

In this spirit, we wish everyone a merry pre-Christmas period!

Diana

 

Christmas Holidays with Luna Azzurra?

As some of you already know, Patrik and I are planning to visit Luna Azzurra over Christmas and New Year.

Naturally, we look very forward to see our “baby” again and we hope the weather stays as it has been the last few days: Calm and sunny, with 10-15 degrees C.

It won’t be only a pleasure visit, though, some work has to be done too. Luna Azzurra’s hull needs a proper cleaning. Therefore, we hope we can book the floating dock at the marinas shipyard and haul her out of the water.

Patrik also bought a polishing machine this week, so we can turn her into a shiny, dark blue diamond! Although, for that task we need at least 15 degrees C, otherwise the polishing will be a mess.

      

Nevertheless, she’ll look amazing when she’s finished and we might have a second baptizing – with her fancy logo on both sides and her name, finally well visible at her hull!

  

In case the weather won’t be on our side, we’ll have to complete this task in spring – in April 2019 we plan to travel to Loano again and stay a week.

Of course, we’ll also meet Matteo and his wife Juliana again. Patrik and I have been in lively contact with him since last summer and it will be nice to see the couple again!

As Luna Azzurra’s bimini has been destroyed during the storms in October, we need a new one – a long one, since we have to buy new anyway. So right now we are busy getting offers from different manufacturers. So far we found two companies in Germany, who are should be able to produce the correct part.

I’m still waiting for color samples from one of them and their offer looks promising, although quite costly… Unfortunately, the lead time is approx.. 12 weeks after receipt of order. Means we have to hurry, if we want the bimini be finished until April. The question is, if it would be smarter to let it ship directly to Italy, instead of to us. With a width of 4m it might be impossible to get it into our car. even though it will be folded. So that’s an important point, which has to be checked.

I also bought six additional bedding sets, cause we suddenly realized that the existing ones might be too little. In case we have guests who want to charter the yacht for two weeks. I still need to buy more towels, though, for the same reason!

And look, we have decided on a Freja the CAT logo! The same company who printed Luna Azzurra’s name and logo printed these stickers, which we ordered last week! We just looooove it!

Another important purchase is an outboard engine for Luna Azzurra’s tender. We settled on a Mercury 3.5 hp, which will be strong/fast enough and doesn’t weigh too much. The delivery will be directly to the Marina di Loano’s office, where Matteo will pick it up and put it in our garage.

So let’s hope the investments will pay off at the end and we’ll get many bookings and many happy guests!

And last but not least, we wish you all a cozy 1st Advent weekend – take care!

 

A Busy Weekend

We were looking very forward to this weekend, as our dear friend Pascale from Luxembourg announced a few weeks ago, that she would visit us!

  

She and her friend Philippe arrived on Saturday early afternoon by car. After hearty hugs and kisses we decided to visit the nearby “Hausammann” vineyard, in order to celebrate our reunion properly. Plus, Patrik and I needed to buy some wine anyway, so it suited us perfectly!

Every Saturday Hausammann’s open their beautiful glass pavilion, which is the perfect surrounding to degust their different wines and have a nice chat. No surprise that the afternoon went too quick and we had to say good bye to Nadine and Urs Hausammann.

Back home we suddenly had to rush in order to get ready. A table was booked at 18.30h at the newly opened “Pizzeria Ristorante Molino” in Frauenfeld. So “hop-hop”, as Pascale used to say! Our mutual friend Anita joined us and we had a nice evening together! The restaurants good reputation didn’t let us down, it was as good as expected! We’ll be back, that’s for sure!

Back home, we had our last grappa or rum and enjoyed each other’s  company! It’s been a long day, especially for Pascale and Philippe, so finally it took its toll and we said good night…..to Patrik and Philippe – Pascale and I lasted until 01.30h…hehe! Odin was not that happy as you can see….

On Sunday we planned to meet Anita and Peter  – and their dog named Queen – and do something together. Unfortunately, the weather was quite chilly and foggy, so outdoor activity was a bit of a challenge (well, for me)! Nevertheless, since we had a dog with us – and haven’t done much healthy exercise yesterday – perhaps it wasn’t the dumbest idea, to go for a real walk! Anita and Queen participated on a “snoopy training course” and we joined them. Quite an interesting experience it was!

After this super-exemplary afternoon, it was time to warm ourselves up and Anita and Peter drove us back to our home. Pascale and Philippe would be spending the night at their place, but we had a couple of hours together, so the four of us had a little aperitif, before they left before five o’clock . On Monday, the two of them would drive back home to Luxembourg, but not without visiting me and saying good bye.

And like this, our Sunday afternoon ended, with memories of many good laughs, lovely food and exciting chats!

This truly was a cheerful weekend – let’s hope we can do it again soon!

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