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Breakfast and Inspiration in an Italian Courtyard

September mornings in the old town part of Vogogna, Italy are wonderfully dark and quiet.

The darkness is not from lack of sunlight, but from the inevitable shade created when tall, stone buildings rub shoulders with each other, towering over the narrow cobbled streets that keep them from knocking heads with the buildings across the way.

It’s a lovely kind of darkness, soft and gentle. The thick stone walls of the aged homes muffle any sounds from within, and the streets are still save for the occasional workmen whistling as he passes.

I loved those mornings spent in a wonderful old house where I was staying with some amazing women writersMargo, Katy, Kate, and Kathy. I loved waking up before everyone else, wrapping a pashmina snuggly around my shoulders and walking barefoot down steep stone steps worn smooth from generations of barefoot wanderers like me.

One morning a few of us decided to gather outside in the newly discovered courtyard out back for breakfast and brainstorming.

Italian breakfast table

The courtyard had been hiding behind a lace covered doorway in the kitchen, and there were gasps of delight when we creaked open the door and found it there just waiting to be occupied by the chatter of women and the smell of a hot breakfast.

I’m at my best first thing in the morning, so I took on breakfast duty and was soon bustling about brewing coffee, cracking eggs, and sauteing spinach with sun-dried tomatoes over the big gas stove.

Minutes later all was ready and we took our seats on cheery red striped cushions and tucked in. Mmm, it felt so good to wrap chilled fingers around steaming mugs of coffee, and the piping hot fried eggs on savory spinach nests warmed our insides and fortified our brains.

It was a leisurely meal with frequent stops to exclaim at this cheery pot of flowers or that wonderfully weathered window shutter. We waved at our Italian neighbors who were amused by our cluster of foreign ladies chatting happily over breakfast in a back alley.

It is nearly impossible not to get inspired in such a delightful hideaway, and as soon as breakfast was over we pushed our plates aside and hauled out notepads, pens, and other accoutrements. We talked and listened, learning much from each other’s areas of expertise. The little courtyard was filled with the sounds of scratching pens and flipping pages as we filled line after line with ideas for stories, books, and articles. We cheered each other on as we wrestled through fears and doubts, and hurrahed when solutions were reached and decisions made.

As writers, so much of our work is done in solitude, quiet hours spent gathering and organizing information and sifting through words to find just the right ones for each job. As much as we love it, such a life can be isolating and lonely, and it was immeasurably comforting to spend the morning together commiserating, challenging, and inspiring each other.

All too soon it was over. Pens capped, notebooks closed, computers turned off.

We stretched and sighed, laughed and stood up to clear the table.

After all the brain work it was time for a walk.

What do you do to inspire yourself in your work?

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Krista - I agree, dear Susan! πŸ™‚ The mornings were so chilly in the midst of an Indian Summer, I can only imagine how cold it is in winter. πŸ™‚

Anonymous - No snow… isn’t that lovely!

Krista - You are so right, dear Tuula! I loved it and wish you could’ve been there with us too! Next time, right?! πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m so glad, Jamie! πŸ™‚ I love dreaming of Italy too. πŸ™‚

Krista - Ohhh, that’s something I am REALLY looking forward to, Kate!! πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see you guys again. πŸ™‚

Krista - I sure did, dear Rain! I sent you a reply yesterday. πŸ™‚ xo

Krista - Thank you, dear Erin. πŸ™‚ I am too. πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m sorry too, Ayngelina! I was so hoping to meet you. πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m so glad to hear that, Stevie. I’ve had some very discouraging moments too, and it was wonderful to talk through things with kindred spirits.

Krista - I know what you mean, Kiran! Me too!! πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you so much, Zablon. πŸ™‚

Krista - I hope you get to go there very soon, dear Faith! πŸ™‚ I know you would love it. πŸ™‚

Krista - You are so right, Joanne! πŸ™‚ It cheered me tremendously. πŸ™‚

Krista - Ohhhh, I want to have ugly eggs with you!!! πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Lana! πŸ™‚ So glad you like it too. πŸ™‚

Anonymous - Wow, so pretty! I think I could live here πŸ™‚ Nothing quite so beautiful as Italy – lucky ladies!

Jamie - Oh, Krista, what beautiful photos and you make me dream of Italy and wish I was back again…

rain - so lovely. πŸ™‚
did you get my email?

Kate - Such happy memories, Krista! It really was an inspiring spot, and as you say lovely to be able to share ideas and encourage each other. I wonder where we’ll be breakfasting on next year’s Belles Trip?!

erin - I love when you write, “impossible not to get inspired.” Β It’s a way that we should look at everything. Β I’m glad you had that moment!

Ayngelina - Looks wonderful I’m so sorry I missed you guys by only a few weeks.

Stevie - This sounds like a really wonderful meeting with soul mates. Β I haven’t been feeling especially inspired lately, which I attribute to the shortening of the sunlight and the colder weather. Β Too bad. Β Though hearing about what you did to get in touch with your creative spirit lifts mine.

Faith - What a beautiful place, Krista!Β  I can see how it’s inspiring in every way.Β  I’m sure you have amazing memories from your time in Italy…I would love to travel there one day!

zablon mukuba - Awesome blog post. its heart warming

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com - That courtyard and the whole rustic vibe of Italy, makes me want to pack my bags and go live there. Beautiful πŸ™‚

Joanne - I feel like breakfast surrounded by such beauty and great inspirational women makes it taste that much better!

Katy Stewart - Gorgeous post. Your photos leave me speechless every time πŸ™‚ That was such a delightful morning – Our time in Vogogna feels as though it happened under a magic spell. I think I will have to make some ugly eggs this weekend to re-live our Vogogna breakfasts πŸ™‚

Lana - I love your descriptions Krista, one can really visualise the scene, lovely pics too. It looks so quaint!x

Krista - Thank you so much, Cailen! πŸ™‚ I’m glad such things make you happy too. πŸ™‚

Cailen Ascher - what beautiful images.Β  i would just LOVE to enjoy breakfast and coffee on that lovely little courtyard.Β  it’s just perfect!Β  and that breakfast looks super yummy too!

Krista - I couldn’t agree more, Andrea. πŸ™‚ It calms the spirit and settles the thoughts and makes every day better. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, dear Jenny. πŸ™‚ I’m so glad you felt part of things from afar. πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh yes, dear Linda! πŸ™‚ We are two peas in a pod when it comes to such things. πŸ™‚

Krista - I agree, Val! Just looking at these pictures inspired me all over again. πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh, music is a wonderfully inspiring thing, Mary. πŸ™‚ I don’t know about great things, but I do feel much more focused and settled in what to do next. πŸ™‚ It was a truly beautiful retreat in Italy. πŸ™‚

Andrea and John - Ahhhh – breakfast in a courtyard is always a favourite way to start the day!! Lovely =)

Anonymous - So attractive but you knew I would think so Krista. πŸ™‚

jenny@atasteoftravel - What a gorgous post Krista. Your beautiful writing made us feel as though we were there with you.

bellini - The mere thought of sitting in an Italian courtyard is inspiring Krista!!

Mary Bergfeld - Music usually. What a wonderful retreat.We’ll expect great things from you in the future. It must be wonderful to be in the company of like-minded souls who can critique and encourage. I hope you have a wonderful stay. Blessings…Mary.

Krista - Thank you, Shruti! πŸ™‚ I’m glad it inspired you too. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Sarah! πŸ™‚ Isn’t it lovely? I was so charmed by it. πŸ™‚

A Spoonful of Yumm - so beautiful and inspiring !

sarah - the hedonista - So beautiful. How can you not be inspired by Italy?

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