Monday, April 30, 2018

Fine Non-Italian Dining at a Hop Hop Event in Laveno

Monday, 30 April, 2018

Today was just perfect for . . . 

 . . . a Culinary Based Road Trip!

Thus, Laurie and I boarded the train at the Venegono Inferiore station for the one hour ride heading north to the Lake Maggiore village of Laveno-Mombello.

At this quaint lakeside town they were holding a four day Street Food Festival.

Tuesday marks the May Day holiday. For every laborer in the western world, other than those in the USA, this is their Labor Day. Many people don't work today either, in order to make for a nice four day weekend.

We're retired so every day is a potential holiday.

At any rate, we (I at least) was ready for some serious noshing.

Laurie looked comfortable by
the Lake Maggiore shoreline

Of course, an Arts and Crafts Fair
accompanying the street food helped

 Lake Maggiore was peaceful today

 Thankfully, so was the
Arts and Crafts Fair

We found it!

We headed straight to the blue tent
for an incredible Argentine-style meat
pannini and a couple of tasty empanadas

The Argentine beer was a good choice too.

As we've reached our Golden Years, we've learned to share our food orders to save both money and calories.


As I alluded above, TASTY!

Beer from New Orleans
at another tent

 Paella pan for a assembled multitude

 Minutia Beer from Sicily

Sicilian delicacies

"Leave the gun, take the cannoli"
Even though there were plenty of
great aromas, colors and textures to
pick from, we were somewhat sensible

Who would have guessed.

More of the Lake Maggiore shoreline
at Laveno-Mombello

 Part of the small harbor

Farmer's Market by the harbor

The salamis looked good but we were strong.

The dried fruit looked good . . .

. . . and Laurie was NOT strong

Real licorice sticks

Nothing quite like chewing a twig while you stroll I'm told.

Not today.

 Our view from a bench during
our reading break

 I just liked this old wall

The view from Laveno-Mombello's
new church towards their old church
and Lake Maggiore

 The hill behind the new church

New Church Main Altar

Side Altar in the New Church
dedicated I believe to the
Blessed Virgin of Calcio

For my uninformed American friends, calcio is the Italian word for the game we call soccer. 

St. Jacob
Still trying to find a statue
of St. Kevin in Europe
Of course Mary is never an issue

St. Kevin of Glendalough is an Irish saint and we have never been to the Emerald Isle.

The Old Church's Bell Tower

WWI & WWII Memorial

St. Francis of Assisi

We still needed one more thing before boarding the train for the trip home, but what . . .


A medium cone of
Sicilian Cannoli and
Carbone Vegetale Gelato

Laurie opted for the small cup of cherry gelato.

For both of us, it was a perfect ending to a great afternoon on the shores of Lake Maggiore!

Swiss Day Trip

Sunday, 29 April, 2018

It was a BEAUTIFUL Sunday for American football but our Skorpions were not playing or practicing.

What to do?


Domat/Ems, Switzerland here we come!

Why Domat/Ems, Switzerland you ask?

That's easy, one of our Varese Skorpions Defensive Line Coaches, the one and only Luca Pinto, plays Offensive Guard for the Lugano Rebels, a club in the Swiss Third Division.

Luca played for the Skorpions last season but the Italian American Football Federation has a player forced retirement age of 47.

Thus banned from playing in Italy after the 2017 campaign but still with the love and passion to play our great game of American football, Luca simply joined the Rebels across the nearby border to play in Switzerland which has no age cap for players.

For Luca and the Rebels, today was . . .


We came to believe when we lived and worked in Thun, coaching the Tigers back in 2012 that Switzerland is the most naturally beautiful country that we've ever seen.

Today's two hour drive to the Lumberjacks-Rebels game through the Alps did nothing to change our minds.

Alpine Homesteads

Rugged Mountains

Alpine Meadows

It was as if the hills were alive with music.

REALLY rugged mountains

A hilltop fortification . . .

. . . or two was a MUST!

As were numerous waterfalls
both big and small

Finally, we arrived at the Lumberjacks stadium near their home city of Chur.

The highly guarded Security Entrance
to Lumberjack Stadium

"No guns, knives or Afro combs. EVERYONE WILL BE SEARCHED!"

 Lumberjack Pride

The crest of the Swiss
Canton of Graubünden

Refreshing with a bratwurst
sandwich on a warm Swiss Sunday

Majestic setting for the game

All we were missing was a head of cows grazing behind an end zone like in Thun back in the day.

Loved the Lumberjacks
state-of-the-art scoreboard

Skorpions Field definitely needs to look into a mass fundraising project to purchase one of these.

On to the game . . .

Lumberjacks in blue and orange,
Rebels in white

The game really is just a series of one on one matches.

The Rebels matriculated the ball down the field on their opening drive, scored a TD and converted on a two-point pass play to take the early 8-0 lead.

That led to this next series of pictures on the ensuing Lumberjacks Kickoff Return.

The next ten photos are in order and took place at about the Lumberjacks' two yard line in a space about five yards wide and one yard deep.

 Go to your left but spin out to
reverse your field . . .

 . . . accelerate . . .

. . . uh-oh, pursuit . . .

. . . no problem, just reverse your
field again . . .

 . . . and accelerate again . . .

. . . oh CRAP,
they are still pursuing me . . .

 . . . no problem, just
reverse my field a THIRD time . . .

. . . I can't believe that
they are still after me . . .

. . . He HIT me! Is that legal? . . .

. . . maybe if I hold the ball with
one hand even higher I
can reverse my field again . . .

Nope, #37 punched the ball out of my soon to be completely vertically outstretched arm but fortunately it went out of bounds laterally at our own two yard line.

Lumberjacks Dive Play . . .

. . . maybe if the QB Bush-Pushes
the RB they'll gain more yards . . .

. . . What if the other RB Bush-Pushes
the QB while the QB Bush-Pushes
the ball carrier?

Certainly the Lumberjacks will gain real estate using this technique.

Or they could just throw the ball

Or perhaps punt it too

How did the NFL miss drafting
Lumberjack Lineman this week?

GREAT Rebels pursuit

And now for the Luca Pinto Show!

 #64 in white is our man

Abusing one
Lumberjacks defender . . .

. . . while dancing with another?

Pass Blocking Technique looks good

IF I did still have hair,
I'd wear it just like Luca!

Going DEEP!

Probably not good that three of the Rebels Offensive Linemen are looking back at their QB throwing.

Luca was not one of them.

Too tall . . .
. . . just a bit outside

Well defended uncatchable pass

Balls were flying everywhere today
but mostly landing on the perfect sod


Short on Swiss Francs, I took a temporary
job today as the Lumberjacks
Scoreboard Operator

I hate to brag but I thought my placement of the Rebels 8 was perfect!

My Lumberjacks 6 was not as good though my heart just wasn't in it since they were playing against Luca's Rebels.

The score stayed 8-6 Rebels for most of the game, easy money for me on my new job.

The Rebels got to the edge easily
on this play

That ball attracts a lot of
Rebels defenders

DIII Swiss American football is good for
both the young and the mature player 

Good for the fashion conscious too

Luca's stance from the front . . .

. . . and from behind

Luca has great position on
a Toss Sweep to his left

 Hooked him here

 Keep battling Luca!

Looking at a fierce Down block
in just a second here

Good Rebels Punt Block team pressure

Two Fourth Quarter TDs sealed the game for Luca and the rebels.

The final score was . . .

Great numbers placement for all four
digits if you ask me

With a happy Luca after the game

Laurie and I really enjoyed the game, the weather, the scenery and the Bratwurst.

It was a GREAT day to be a band wagon Rebels fan!

What a view of the Alps from our
seats at the game!


GRAZIE as always to the many people who posted game photos of Skorpion games on line!

Enzo Petrillo and Laurie
mugging for a selfie

QB Omar Passera with
Marco Fortunali blocking

RB Dylan Auriemma's TD run

Alessandro Brovelli being led by
Ema Della Bosca's incredible blocking

 Defensive Line Coach
Pacio "Kitty" Cranchi

Yes, the Skorpions do have two Defensive Line Coaches, Pacio and Luca, and they are both doing great work.

Incredible referee speed going
stride for stride with QB Omar Passera
on his 60 yard TD run

CB Kristian Basso's Pick-Six


Dylan Auriemma's 56 yard Kickoff
Return to open the game

4th Quarter TD by Alessandro Brovelli

Blocking for Omar is
#53 "Capo" Di Stefano

 Omar with OL Christian Munoz

WR Martino Piazzi is our best WR
and has become a great stalk blocker

Pensive with a paparazzi
at my shoulder

The Gangs All Here!

With Giorgio Nardi who I highly respect
for his generally calm demeanor, his incredible work attitude and dedication to the Skorpions

I hate to think what the Skorpions would be like without Giorgio and his lovely bride "Santa" Barbara working so hard behind the scenes daily.

As always . . .

It's GREAT to be a Skorpion!