Earthquakes and after shocks in Italy…Heartbreaking loss of life…Our own earthquake memories from the mountains in Italy…


BBC news photo of earthquake rubble as rescuers search for victims from this week’s 6.2 earthquake.  See details below.

Some of our readers may assume we’re so far away from civilization at times that we don’t hear what happening in other parts of the world.  Without a TV in many locations, we’re still easily aware of world news by online announcements we receive and when reading online news and watching videos each day.

In most cases, we’re aware of news as readily as those in the more populated regions of the world with news available 24/7.  The Internet also provided live video news feeds and broadcasts from around the world.  Many who only watch news on TV may have never utilized online news. 

Its as detailed and up-to-date as any broadcast news, keeping us well informed. However, local news feeds here in Phuket are behind some of the international reporting services throughout the world, as we’ve seen with the recent bombings.

The 300 year old building we lived in during three months in Boveglio is near the clock tower in the top right in this photo.  Certainly, none of these homes were earthquake proofed.

We were shocked and saddened to hear of the earthquakes in Italy that occurred on Wednesday (Thursday here) reported again this morning on BBC news, a source we often use:

“The 6.2-magnitude quake hit in the early hours of Wednesday, 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome in mountainous central Italy.

The worst affected towns – Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto – are usually sparsely populated but have been swelled by tourists visiting for summer, making estimates for the precise number missing difficult.

More than 200 people died in Amatrice alone, Ansa news agency reported.”


View from the living room window of other historic homes where we lived in Boveglio, Italy in summer of 2013 where, we experienced a 5.2 earthquake without significant damage.

For today’s ongoing story of the earthquakes and after shocks in Italy including photos and videos, please click here.

We send our heartfelt sympathy and prayers for the families, friends, neighbors and tourists for those who lost their lives, for the rescue and healing of those injured and, for those hundreds, if not thousands of citizens who lost their homes, their livelihood and their sense of history and heritage as many historic buildings crumbled to the ground. 

Also, we pray for safety for the many rescuers who risk their own lives in the process.  Many have traveled from around the globe to assist local rescue services.

In summer of 2013, we lived in a very similar village in Italy, in Boveglio, high in the mountains of Tuscany in a 300 year old stone house as shown in a few of today’s photos.

A short walk in the neighborhood where every building was old and most likely not earthquake proof.

Only four days after we arrived in Boveglio, Italy, we experienced a 5.2 earthquake in the region described as following on our site with seismology statistics we’d discovered at the time.  Please click here for details.

For our story of the experience, please click here for our post of June 21, 2013.  For Tom, it was the first time he’d felt an earthquake as described in that post:

Halfway through writing our blog today, we experienced a 5.2 earthquake as we sat on the veranda.  Having grown up in southern California, this was a familiar sensation for me although  it was Tom’s first experience.  We reminded ourselves as we ran for cover, that we are in an over 300 year old stone house, most likely the safest place to be.  Wow!  The adventures never cease to amaze us!”

Little did we realize at the time that the 300 year old building didn’t provide us with a safe place to be during an earthquake as described in the above BBC news story.  Apparently, many of the historic buildings provided no safety for the residents and tourists of the above listed villages devastated in this week’s 6.2 quake. 

Apparently, many are angry and frustrated that building codes didn’t require “earthquake proofing” of the old buildings.  Sadly, for many of the owners, had such requirements been imposed by regulatory agencies, they’d have been unable to afford the costly upgrades.

It was required we walk up this steep set of stone steps to gain access to the living quarters of the 300 year old stone house in which we lived for three months.  To hang laundry we had to maneuver these steps to the ledge shown on the left to get on the veranda, a very tricky and dangerous proposition.  Can you imagine trying to escape during an earthquake?  Most likely, many of those trapped under rubble were faced with similar scenarios.

This is sad news.  Should one wonder if further investigation isn’t necessary when staying for long periods in historic buildings or in living in high risk areas where crime is rampant or with a high risk of many types of natural disasters?

Good grief, we could go nuts trying to avoid what appears to be transpiring throughout the world.  No place on the planet is exempt from some sort of risk or another.  Undoubtedly, risks may be higher in certain areas which we attempt to avoid.  But many seemingly safe regions present their own versions of risk.

We can only continue to book venues and locations considering many aspects of safety.  Honestly, other than avoiding high risk areas of civil and political unrest, we continue on researching our next leg of our itinerary. 

At this point, booked to March 18, 2018, we’ve decided to wait to add on to our itinerary until we arrive in Tasmania in December, 2016.   While there for three months, we’ll have a good Wi-Fi signal and be able to concentrate on the future.  It is during this research period that we’ll have an opportunity to study a variety of risks for each new location.

From the road below in the mountainous area we took this photo of neighboring houses.

As an aside:  As we prepare today’s post, for the sake of our Minnesota readers, Tom is listening to Garage Logic on KSTP 1500 radio, broadcasting from the Minnesota State Fair which opened yesterday.  Over the remaining five days in Phuket with a good Wi-Fi signal, we’ll be listening to the two hour show (which is on live weekdays only but can be listened to at any time via saved podcasts on the website) including another few hours of Sports Talk.

For our readers who aren’t able to attend their local state fairs, most states and counties broadcast information and stories on similar radio shows that can be found online and listened to via a podcast.  If you need help finding such a broadcast for your state fair, please write to us and we’ll try to help you find the link.

Enjoy the day and be well.

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Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2015:

We were shocked to see the reasonable price on this exquisite flower arrangement at only AUD $20, USD $14.20 at the famers market in Cairns, Australia.  For more photos, please click here. 

First earthquake in Queensland in almost 100 years…5.7 magnitude…Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas photos…One year ago Paris photos…

Most of the beaches in Queensland are sandy.

Queensland is a large state. A 5.7 earthquake rattled the eastern coast of Australia near Frazer island, only after another quake of 5.3 magnitude hit the same area a few days earlier.

There’s no doubt that walking and biking enthusiasts would want to tackle the entire distance of the Four Mile Beach, the beginning shown here.  No thanks.

Geoscience Australia stated the earthquake stuck 119km northeast of Rainbow Beach at a depth of 10km at around 1:38 pm (AEST). This was apparently the strongest earthquake to hit Queensland since 1918 and is reported to be 10 to 20 times stronger than Thursday quake.

The sand at the beach is as fine and soft as silk.

We’re not very close to this area. It’s a three-hour flight from Cairns to the island which includes a ferry ride, too far for us to feel the quake. But, the news is abuzz with constant reporting on this unusual event.

As we entered Four Mile Beach.

We can’t help but pay attention to these natural events as we travel the world. Recently, we’ve paid special attention to the eruption of Mount Raung in Bali, which closed the airports off and on for weeks as it continued to erupt. This could easily affect us in our two future trips to Bali.

The views at the Four Mile Beach are breathtaking, as are most beaches we’ve seen throughout the world.

How ironic is it, that we’ll have been living on two islands with erupting volcanoes, far apart from one another 16 months apart?  Visiting Mount Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii was an extraordinary experience, especially when our family was with us witnessing this once in a lifetime experience together. Well, maybe seeing lava won’t be a once in a lifetime experience for us after all with Bail in near future plans.

Now that we’re not worried at all as compared to how worried we were a year ago when the lava could have overtaken the area in which we booked the two houses for our family visit last Christmas in Pahoa on the Big Island. That was quite a worrisome event. 

We took this photo the night we visited Mount Kilauea, which we visited with family in late December 2014. For more of our volcano photos, please click here.

Where would we have put 14 of us last minute in Hawaii over Christmas? Thank goodness it all worked out when the lava took a turn the last several weeks and our location was off the high-risk list.

This morning the news is reporting about last year’s horrific crash of MH370 Malaysia Airlines and finding a part of the plane on Reunion Island. Neither of us had heard of Reunion Island until we lived in South Africa. 

Tom lounging on the veranda at African Reunion House, where we lived for several weeks while in South Africa, thanks to our hosts, Louise and Dani.  For more details on this house, please click here.

At that time, we stayed in the above fabulous house managed by Louise and Dani, Reunion House, aptly named after the owner’s home base on Reunion Island. We pray that the balance of the wreckage is found to bring a little peace to those who lost loved ones in the awful crash.

On the return drive, we stopped to take photos of the end of the Four Mile Beach.

Oh, the world is filled with disasters and bad news. Sometimes I wish we’d stop watching the news which even in Australia keeps up updated on what’s going on in the US and all over the world. At the moment, on the Sunday morning news, we continue to hear about the tragic killing of Cecil, the lion which continues to dominate the news. 

It is a small world. The more we travel, the more connection we feel to many parts of the world when only three years ago we were preparing to explore as we prepared to venture into the unknown.

In no time at all, as we drove back from Port Douglas we were able to see Double Island once again.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to walk the garbage and recycling down the very steep road to the bin rather than wait until we’d go out again, which is many times per week. Once we arrived at the road and placed the trash in the appropriate bins, we decided to take a walk on the road.

A few ambitious fishermen.

Looking to the left, we saw a huge steep hill, and then, looking to the right, we spotted another huge steep hill.  We opted for the right. Forty-five minutes later after walking up and down the hills in the hot sun, we were ready to tackle the huge hill back up to the house.

Although we walk a lot, mostly out and about at various points of interest, we don’t walk with athleticism in mind. (Tom doesn’t like going for walks although occasionally, he’ll humor me as in yesterday’s vigorous walk). By the time we reached our challenging driveway, we were ready to tackle it, and up and up we went. Surprisingly, we weren’t puffing as much as in the past. 

We stopped to take photos from a high point on the return drive from Port Douglas.

Perhaps, our walks and my working out again has contributed to our improved stamina. Perhaps, peace of mind over our good health reports has enhanced Tom’s enthusiasm to walk a little more often. We shall see how that rolls out.

Tom with the Four Mile Beach behind him. Gee, look how slim he is after eating homemade meals this past almost two months.
Me with the Four Mile Beach in the background.

Today, we’re staying put, making a Sunday dinner of bacon-wrapped hard-boiled egg stuffed meatloaf, a crust free mushroom quiche, green beans, and salad on the side. As soon as I’ve uploaded today’s post I’ll be making my way to the kitchen to begin preparing the food.

Have a great Saturday and Sunday, wherever you may be.

                                               Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2014:
We arrived in Paris on August 1st and posted a few posts with the same date. Here is the first video we took in Paris at 10 pm the night we arrived. What a sight! What an experience! It was hard to believe we were in Paris. Click here for more Paris photos. 
My pockets were jammed with my stuff when carrying a wallet, phone, or camera in Paris is subject to pickpockets. We were at the City of Architecture in Paris as we walked for hours on August 2nd. Click here for more photos.


Tom on the steps of the City of Architecture and Heritage as we continued on our 5 miles, 8km walk that day.