Notes from Puzzle Palace

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

DCD and excellent news!

We have our Permesso!  We have our Carta di Identita!  

The Polizia have made sure we actually live in the home we exit from every time we see them.  At the risk of getting in trouble, living in Italy is a game and we are learning how to play it. (I much prefer Eurorails)  We have our household goods on the move!  It's been a whirlwind month yet again.  This time it is all very good news.  Well, most of it. There is that little problem of the big house in Boca but that will be solved all in good time. 

It's been a long month with very little to report on.  We plug along here in Panicale until it's time to go to a puzzle trip somewhere.  And that is just what we have done.  We spent the last month just living.  I'm putting together a Lego Winter Village for the local school children...Did I mention, we are opening the ground floor of the castle.  George is playing Santa Claus, I am setting up a room full of Lego for the children to look at, and a room full of puzzles to play.  Of course there will be treats for the children and adults both.  We feel it very important to give back to the community.  We love living here and really want to be a part of Panicale.  

We had a Discord puzzler and his family come for a Sunday visit.  This was most enjoyable, especially since he cooked for us! It was a delightful visit and I hope they are able to return when more puzzles are in place. 

We decided as always. to attend DCD.  This was my 7th.  It would have been 9th, but there was that COVID thing.  I'm surprised that I've attended that few.  It feels like I've been going forever.  That's not a bad thing.  I really enjoy attending and seeing friends.  Oh, and the puzzles are fun too.

George and I decided to drive yet again.  I'm up to it and we both enjoy the scenery.  We are American and long drives are nothing to us compared to our European counterparts, but I must say, I'm becoming European.  I love driving, but there is something to be said about getting to the next hotel when the sun is still up. Our MO is to bring along the refrigerator and have a picnic lunch somewhere along the way.  Sadly, this trip we had a lot of rain storms so the picnics were inside the car. No matter.  It's more time alone with my lover. This too reads as odd as we are retired with no one at home. And yet, we always have someone at home. There is so much work going on.  

Our first stop was a nice ski lodge that we enjoy in Aosta, Italy.  This time we stayed in a room with a tub.  that was a hoot. The ceiling was angled so we could only sit on one side because on the other we banged our heads.  But we don't get it for the bath.  We love the views.  I can't wait to go through in winter and see it filled with snow.  But not until the pass is opened again. The Mont Blanc tunnel is closed until January and I do not want to drive the way we did in winter snows. It was bad enough in the rain.  

I've realized, I'm becoming European. That hotel in Aosta was 6 hours from home.  There is something psychological about getting past Milan on the first day.  The next night we stayed at an AB&B that was really cute.  George made friends with some of the other guests that were staying there and shared our bottle of wine with the Mr.  The Mrs. shook her head and gave a look.  I think she was a Puritan. (The Mr.  Tilted his glass in request for a refill unbeknownst to the Mrs.) 

It was a cute little place, I think we will add it to our "stay again" list.  It is 5 hours from Aosta and 6 hours from Oskar's.  Perfectly in the middle.  The Gite au Chalet in Laferté-sur-Aube, France is a full service place. Kitchen, Laundry (if you don't mind leaving with wet clothes after one night), parking, shower, no heat.  The 9 degrees in the room was a bit cold for me. We had a comfortable bed and a pleasant evening.  I made a chicken salad for us for dinner. With my lover and a bottle of wine, what else does one need?  

The next day we drove to Belgium.  There we met with Raf Peters (and his lovely wife) from Smart Games.  We had a nice few hours talking puzzles and mutual acquaintances.  Raf was surprised to learn that I had every Smart Games puzzle up 'till this year.  He very generously gifted us a few that I didn't have.  It was a very nice way to spend an afternoon. (Aside from the parking ticket caused by a slew of broken ticket machines)

The next morning we awoke and drove to Dan Haag so I could stop at the Lego store.  Ok.  Ok.  This has gone overboard.  I'm bored. I need our PUZZLES!  I've been building Lego since Christmas of last year knowing that if they arrive broken, it is an easy fix.  I have to be doing something all the time.  I couldn't do Crystal Puzzles in Boca so I picked up a Lego. Thanks a lot Krissy!  It's all your fault.  Anyway, I got my passport stamped-it's a thing! And then we headed on to Oskar and José's.  They are dear friends and have been putting up with the two of us together since.... 

Today is José's birthday. I shan't tell you her age, but I am so very glad she chose to spend it with us.  We had a lovely dinner at a wonderful sushi place.  

Friday we met with the daughter of Ivan Muscovich to acquire his collection!  What a wonderful addition to the library that would be.  (Edit, like the Singmaster collection, someone in the UK has told the family that they would like it.  So much for that addition.) No matter, the library is filling up nicely as it is. 

On Sunday it was Dutch Cube Day, our reason for heading up North again.  As always, it was great to see old friends.  We missed quite a few at the last IPP and it was catchup time.  We wandered the room buying up puzzles that would make a nice addition to the collection.  This year I didn't purchase too many.  The problem is, our collection isn't on display yet so I didn't want to purchase duplicates. In the afternoon, we listened to Ton talk about some cubing competitions and a talk on fast methods of solving. George and I presented on the progress of the World Puzzle Center and a talk on some of the IPP exchanges from this year.  I found that to be great as I still haven't played with that many.

Sadly on Monday we said our good-byes to Oskar and Jose and headed out.  Our first stop was Baden Baden to take the waters again.  This will become ritual for us when traveling North. The rest of the trip home was uneventful.  

When we returned, our friend Diogo came for a few days. He and George designed a puzzle or two and had good fun in the workshop.  As always, we had a lovely dinner at Gallo, sadly it was the last one of the year.  Something to look forward to in the spring.  

The painting is now being done in the hotel and the shelves will start going up soon. 

It is autumn now and the colors across the road are stunning.  I just love this view.

And, because I will be a new driver, we had to purchase yet another vehicle because I am not allowed to drive the Tesla for 3 years! We opted this time for a new Ford Transit van.  Small engine, lots of space.  Easy to park.  The downside? It's a Ford! :)

Life is sure fun here. 

But now for the really good news!  Our household goods and puzzles have arrived in Genoa!  If all goes well, we will be having everything delivered within the next 2 weeks!  Cross your fingers and toes for us. I need clothes.  It's getting colder now and dumb bum here didn't bring winter clothes when she came in April.  

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