shepherd, italywise

Heading up the mountain.

Just two weeks ago I took the long, but stunning drive down to Abruzzo and to see my dear friends Novelia and Peppe for a three day stay in Sulmona. After my first trip, early in the summer, I had resolved to return as soon as possible. Novelia had orchestrated a day for me and three friends to “shadow” the shepherds from Abruzzo’s organic La Porta dei Parchi agriturismo, run by Nunzio Marcelli, in the Majella National Park’s Sagittario Valley.

Our day took us with the shepherds high into the majestic Abruzzi Apennines.

Oh, what a day we had. The weather was spectacular. The views were the kind that made you want to slap yourself to make sure you weren’t dreaming. The two shepherds were kind young men who seemed happy to have us along for the journey. Of course, the real stars were the flocks of goat and sheep. I can’t begin to tell you how I fell in love with every animal face. But, I have to confess the goats were my favorites. I laughed, watching how the sheep were constantly “heads down” in consuming their food, while the goats were often on their hind legs stretching for the tenderest leaves in the shrubs and trees.

And the dogs…

I’ll write more in subsequent posts, but suffice it to say they were a BIG part of the experience. These dogs take their work seriously, and I loved getting to know them and while patiently waiting to be accepted after being with them for several hours.

A boatload of photos

I was in creative heaven. Plain and simple. So much, that climbing over more rugged parts of the terrain wasn’t even registering. Of course, I felt it all the next day, but it was a small price to pay for such an extraordinary opportunity.

I’m delighted with the final photos, and while I’m tempted to share them all in an online gallery, I’ve decided to feature one at a time, in different posts, along with my observations about what I was experiencing. I’ll endeavor to keep it simple so you, my followers, can enjoy the visuals without too much explanation!

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