And so our holiday in Italy began.  The drive through Austria was gray and frosty.
But almost as if by magic, once we cleared Klagenfurt, Austria and crossed into Italy, the clouds disappeared to reveal the stunning peaks of the Alps against sunshine and blue skies, and the thermometer in the car climbed to 11°C.

No travel mishaps en route save for 1) thinking we had driven through Slovenia based on a sign we’d read and the subsequent panic over not having one of their grossly expensive highway vignettes (we hadn’t); and 2) the strange occurrence of the rear passenger car door refusing to open after a rest area pause, causing poor Anna Grace to have to climb into her seat from the driver’s side.

In good time (and daylight) we reached our rental villa. The owner of the house was most pleasant and gracious, providing not only a bottle of wine but a jar of homemade pasta sauce for us to enjoy, and a blanket, bowl of fresh water, and a snack for Clayton Theodore.  A most appreciated welcome after a long drive.

The owner of the villa had also started a welcoming fire in the living room. As she took us through the house to explain the ins and outs, and especially the need to keep the fire going, it occurred to me to ask, “Is this the only heat for the house?”