Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 8 - Pienza, Montepulciano and Cypress Trees

Friday, July 10, 2009
Yes we did indeed wake up at 6:00 am (to catch the beautiful morning light) and Dan was sure he would find the setting with the Cypress trees.  So we drove and drove...until we gave up and went to Pienza.  We visited the market, where I think we were the only tourists and bought one tablecloth - a mixture of cotton and linen for our dining room table  (12 Euros), the one for our table on the deck (5 Euros) and oh yes one more...lucky we don’t have more tables.... We stopped at a cafe for a morning coffee and treat and I bought this cool little rolling pin which cuts pasta. Then we headed over to the tourist information centre where Dan was convinced that if he described what he was looking for or found a picture of a scene that was in his head, then maybe...she would point us in the right direction.  And yes she did...but it wasn’t easy to find...and guess what?  By that time the light wasn’t right, so it looks like we will be going back there another morning.  I made sure that before Dan moved the car, I set Higgins, our GPS,  to register exactly where we were, so we would find our way back to this dirt road in the middle of one of the most picturesque landscapes in Tuscany.

Dan reached in the back seat and pulled out a large plastic bag and asked what I bought??? I told him that I bought the rolling pin. No, he meant the bag of light bulbs...hmmmm I didn’t buy a large bag of light bulbs...I  put the rolling pin in my bag with the tablecloths and must have picked up another bag in the store.  OMG...I was a shoplifter!!!!!  We need to go back to Pienza to return the stolen goods!  When we returned, the shop owner laughed at ( with) me and waved me good-bye with a Grazie and arrivederci and off we went to Montepulciano.

Wow, it was a very steep climb to the top!  We enjoyed a stroll through the square and  the many wine shops and stopped for a refreshing drink.

For the first time, we found wireless and Dan ran back to the car and got his computer where we each sent a couple of emails.

We found our way to Foiana del Ca....where I heard there was a great shop for eye glasses.  Actually, I was admiring the glasses that a girl in an art gallery was wearing and asked her where she bought them.   Since my glasses were broken, I thought this would be fantastic.  I would get a beautiful pair of Italian glasses.  When I suggested this little side trip, I could see the look in Dan’s eyes...Where are we going????  For what?????  So it was a little town kind of out of the way...but isn't that the beauty of a trip like this?  Flexibility?   We arrived in this town and were pointed in various directions until one  man knew exactly where we wanted to go and led me through the town...she didn't speak English at all and the glasses were just too expensive for my budget right now...oh well it was fun anyhow! 

I need to share with you a little superstition that my parents told to me when I was very young.  It is simple  – when you see bales of hay in a field when driving through the countryside, you make a wish.   When my family would go on driving trips, my mom and dad would point out bales of hay in the fields and would tell us to make a wish.   You would hear “Hay!... Hay!.... Hay!... I am not quite sure of the origin of this superstition or ritual...maybe they created it to keep us distracted ....I must say that I have very eagerly passed this on to every person who travels with me and I’m sure Dan , Elliot and Joanne – even if you don’t like to admit it – you are silently making wishes on those bales of hay.  By the way, it works...but let’s be reasonable now and unselfish  (those are my rules!).   
And so I am always requesting pictures of hay...special memories of my mom....

We headed back to Gli Archi where Emanuela greeted us warmly.  Dan decided to do some laundry.  I’m not sure what happened with Dan and the washing machine, but it had something to do with plugs matching the machine then him mistaking 90 for temperature but it was minutes.  He kept returning to the machines every 15 minutes to see how it was going.  He was gone for quite a while and a thunderstorm rolled in and then he returned very wet hugging very wet laundry.  We draped them around our apartment. No...he was not a happy camper.
We had a nice dinner with wine (Vernaccia di San Gimignano) and toasted to tomorrow – The Cortona Market day and our move to our new home for the next week – La Foresta.  Oh yes, and another morning visit to the scene with the cypress could I forget?


Stay tuned for Day 9

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 7 – Back to Tuscany

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It took us five hours to drive back from Sorrento to Gli Archi. We felt like we had taken a mini vacation on the Amalfi coast. We made it to the grocery store in Carmuccia in time to pick up a few things for our picnic the next day.

The owners of Gli Archi put on a pizza night every Thursday and for 10 Euros per person we decided to join them for dinner. All the women including the grandmother, who talked to me nonstop in Italian, even though the daughters kept telling her I didn’t understand, were involved and busy chopping and frying toppings.

Onions were fried for the toppings of a focaccia appetizer and we had a choice of four different pizzas, all created in the little kitchen beside the outdoor brick oven. One of the women was assigned to oven duty and would point the paddle which was at least 10 feet long, into the kitchen while another woman slipped the pizza on it. She would have to then back up and start manoeuvring forward like she was jouster and march towards the oven and slip it off the paddle right onto the oven’s stone floor. You wouldn’t want to get in this woman’s way!

We all were seated at picnic tables – There were about 30 people, a mixture of adults and children from all over the world. We joined a couple and their son, originally from Belgium who now live in Abu Dhabi. We exchanged stories while enjoying our focaccia, pizzas and homemade wine. Then came watermelon and Vino Santo. She plopped a biscotti into it and smiled. Of course there were other desserts as well...a meringue, chocolate cake and cookies.
We toasted with homemade limoncello to tomorrow.... market day in Pienza, a visit to Montepulciano and a hunt for a particular setting with cypress trees that Dan was determined to find in the very early morning light.

Stay tuned for Day 8... ...


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