How it all started

It is now way up to the end of March 2014 and we have bought a house in Italy. But as the first ‘post’ in this little bit of personal history, let me tell you how it all started…..

Long long ago when I was only 6 years of age, my father took my mother and me along on a business trip to Switzerland. Back in those days that was pretty much an amazing feat, I can tell you. It was our first sight of mountains (we stayed in Lausanne). My Mon was hooked right off the start….. and later she bestowed her enthusiasm upon me and I too became hooked. We’re flatlanders born in the wrong place (and maybe the wrong time as well).

When time progressed, Dad earned more and the world evolved, we started to have Summer vacations in Switzerland. It really became our home away from home, staying at the same place in the Berner Oberland for decades. My Mom already dreamed of living there, but alas, that dream never came true. I started having the same dream, but after getting married that was an increasingly distant option. Nina and I only went there on vacation ONCE and we almost were broke afterwards. Switzerland was and is expensive.

But……. somewhere along the way we got into skiing in Austria….. and through one of Nina’s customers we even got to take a look at owning a co-share of a chalet in Austria. My living in the mountains dream started re-appearing again….. more and more often. The Austrian adventure turned out to be beyond our means, but many years later (1996) we had saved quite a bit of money and happened upon an opportunity to buy a small apartment that was being built in a large chalet in the French Alps. Not exactly where I had thought to settle in my young dreams, but good enough! In fact, we spent 16 wonderful winters and summers in our tiny 30 sqm. apartment, happily living the dream of being away from the Low Lands and part of the majestic mountain world and its local inhabitants.

The only problem in moving there permanently – yes, I have wanted to leave The Netherlands since I was a kid – was the fact that it is a touristic, expensive skiing area and there is NOTHING outside of vacation seasons…. and 30 sqm. is fine for 2 people on (prolonged) holiday, but impossible to receive guests or live comfortably for longer periods.
So the plan evolved to sell our apartment AND our house in The Netherlands and have a new house built somewhere south of the Alps.

Alas…. the bankers and politicians of this world ruined the plans by busting the various ‘economies’ and making buying a house impossible for people in many countries. So we couldn’t sell our house (we tried for 5 years) and hence had no money for further plans. And I (particularly) didn’t want to sell the apartment and be left with ‘nothing’. The apartment in France, just like my motorcycles, was the only and main ‘escape for freedom’ out of the confined little world of tax paying and financial worries…. the place where I could breathe freely at least some part of the day taking in the beauty of nature surrounding us and in the quiet ‘isolation’ of being in a strange culture with a different language.

Then friends of ours bought an old house in Italy and we visited them after their first year…… the rest, as they say, is history.

To be told in subsequent blog posts.

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