Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 1, 2018

A new year begins

2018 is here and I hope it shapes up to be a great year. I will head back to Italy in a few weeks to start work in the garden at Casa Debbio. It gets bigger and better every year.

Of course it is fun to look back over the last year to remember some past adventures. If you click the highlighted name the relevant post will appear. There are lots more if you look back through the archives.

In January I visited the  Great Ocean Road with my son and we stopped at the magnificent Twelve Apostles. Even a grey day could not dampen our enthusiasm.

Twelve Apostles

Noosa on Queensland’s aptly named Sunshine Coast is always a favourite and a place to enjoy a gorgeous beach before heading to European winter.


February called me back to Bagni di Lucca. I do like the winter landscapes there. Ponte a Serraglio looks wonderful at any time of the year.

Ponte a Serraglio

I went to the Carnevale in Viareggio in March. Trump was obviously a popular topic for political satire.

Carnevale Viareggio

In March we also went to Saturnia in the Maremma area of Tuscany to soak in the hot pools. It is an area we will explore forther in 2018. We spotted several gorgeous villages tucked into the hillsides and can’t wait to get back.


By April the garden at Casa Debbio was really coming to life. Peonies were blooming along with wisteria, lilac, roses and all the other gorgeous things in our expanding garden.

We visited Elba with friends and loved it. This is another place we will try to return to on a regular basis.


We also drove to Croatia and stayed beside the sea in Rovinj.


May is the perfect time to enjoy our terrace at Casa Debbio. Afternoon tea with a view makes the hard work in the garden worthwhile.

Casa Debbio

In May we also went to Greece for the first time. Why did we wait so long!!! We loved Athens, Santorini and the quiet island of Syros.



We took visiting friends to one of our favourite places in Italy, Portovenere, an easy day trip from Bagni di Lucca.


We reluctantly left Italy in June and travelled home via Iceland and Helsinki.



Noosa is excellent in winter, so a beach visit in July seems like a good idea.


In August I visited my son in Victoria again and we visited some charming country towns.


I was back in Europe in September and took a quick trip up to glorious Paris to revisit this wondeful city and see the spectacular Christian Dior exhibition.

Tuileries Paris

Dior Collection Paris

October sees the leaves begin to change colour on the Tiglio trees beside the road in Ponte a Serraglio.

Tiglio trees BdL

I went south in Italy to visit my relatives in Sorrento and took day trips to Positano and Capri. I really must go there more often. We are planning a trip to Naples in spring so I can see the Amalfi Coast being added to this.



Autumn is one of my favourite times to be in Italy. In November  Lucca put on a great  show, making a walk on the wall even more spectacular than usual.


December saw us back at the seaside, this time in Western Australia.

Watershed winery

WA beach

We stayed with lovely friends we met through the blog. One of the best things about writing a blog is the people you meet along the way.

2018 will surely bring new adventures…I am ready.

I hope the New Year brings delights for everyone.


  1. Lovely post, Deb. Just reading tne names of the flowers in your garden sounds divine.

    • This year I will plant annuals as well for some extra colour. If all my peonies survive the winter there will be 60 of them in the garden.

  2. What a great year…hopefully 2018 will be just as wonderful.

    • We have some plans brewing for new places to explore.

  3. A beautiful summary of 2017. We all look forward to your posts in 2018. Have a wonderful 2018!

    • Happy New Year to you and Rafael. We hope to come your way this year.

  4. And Happy New Year to you!

    • I hope you have a great 2018.

      • Thanks, Debra!

  5. Happy New Year to you and yours. May 2018 bring you even better travels!

    • We have lots of plans for this year. Italy, of course, and perhaps a visit to San Sebastián and Biarritz and a stopover in Copenhagen on the way back to Australia in June. Have a great 2018.

      • Realizing how much you enjoy travel, not surprised you have plans. 😀

  6. What great fun.

    • It was a good year. We loved Iceland and Greece and are keen to get out and about this year.

  7. Happy New Year to you, Debra! Another fun year of following your adventures thru your stories and wonderful photos . Love your fun cake stand. Where did you find her?

    • Angela the cake stand (she has wings) comes from a great shop in Florence. It is near Palazzo Pitti.

      • Thank you. I’ve loved her since you first debuted her. Very special, your Angela 🙂

  8. What a fabulous year you had! Wishing you & Jim a wonderful 2018, looking forward to seeing you in May.

    • 2017 was a good year. It will be difficult to top Greece and Iceland, it we will try.

  9. What an amazing year…I hope that 2018 brings you even more adventures!! I’ll be in Italy in May, hope yo see you then !

    • What an amazing year…I hope that 2018 brings you even more adventures!!! I’ll be in 🇮🇹 Italy in May, hope to see you then!

      • We will be in Bagni di Lucca in May. By the time February arrives I will be ready to leave hot and steamy Brisbane for some Italian winter.

  10. Stunning photos!! What an amazing year you had. Buon Anno, and may you be blessed.

    • I hope 2018 is a great year for everyone.

  11. Moving to Australia in a week and the Twelve Apostles is on my bucket list!! must be amazing!! Pictures look incredible. Travelled extensively around Italy in the past two years and visited many places you went to. I loved Matera very much, did you go there?

    • I hope you make it to The Great Ocean Road. It is a spectacular drive and the Twelve Apostles are spectacular.
      We went to Matera several years ago. Unfortunately, it was a public holiday and it was extremely crowded. We plan to go back and stay overnight.

  12. Happy New Year to you and Jim. I hope 2018 is your best year yet. Thank you for a lovely recap of 2017.

    • Happy New Year to you too! I hope all is well in your new life.

  13. Wishing you a healthy and happy 2018!

    • I wish you all the best for the new year. I hope 2018 is wonderful for you.

  14. Gosh! I feel so inadequate.

    • Buying our apartment in Bagni di Lucca almost 15 years ago has opened up a whole new world for us. We would never able able to travel so widely in Europe if we didn’t have a base there. We do feel very lucky.

  15. What a fabulous year you’ve had Debra. That picture perfect afternoon tea with a view is a standout among your beautiful images. Wishing you twice as many adventures in 2018!

    • 2017 was a great year. I’m sure there will be some excellent adventures this year too. I hope you have a wonderful year.

  16. Happy adventuring to you both Deb, here’s to more travel and exploring! I don’t post as much but when I get to blogging and see a post from you, I always make time because it makes me smile. We loved Athens, it was busy but we are mythology geeks and it was a dream. We are throwing out some places to visit for our 20th wedding anniversary this year. Returning to Florence, the Amalfi Coast, Santorini or back to Spain( we visited Barcelona last year and everyday was a happy one).

    • Florence, Amalfi Coast etc are excellent selections. Unfortunately there is much to choose from.

  17. 43/5000
    beautiful photos, I love landscapes!

    • Thank you. I hope you have a wonderful 2018.

  18. Omg what wonderful adventures you must have had!! Congratulations on being able to travel and see wonderful places like that. And thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures

    • I feel very lucky to be able to travel as much as I do. I am looking forward to what 2018 brings.

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