Off we went at 6:30 to search for the cypress trees in the perfect morning light. I was hoping that this time it would be right...pleeeeease be right! And it WAS this time ...well almost...Because the light was hitting the scene right on, the shadows were directly behind the trees so you couldn’t see the shadows. It makes less of a dramatic effect on the picture.
What is most outstanding about a trip like this, is that it allows you the flexibility to use your time however you desire and in this case return to a very special place. This wasn’t just about a picture. We were able to linger as long as we wanted and drink in this stunning iconic scene of Tuscany. It was perfectly quiet. A shock of color from a poppy here and there...and a calmness that removes the city stress from your body like a vacuum.
With my new camera and extra lense, I am following Dan around like a shadow, copying his pictures a bit, but of course I have an eye of my own (so he says) and have a lot of my own pictures. It is so difficult to take pictures of a landscape which is so vast when seen with the naked eye and convert it to a photo that is so condensed. I have this picture in my head that I want of these 3 wheelers that you see sometimes on the side roads. They are very old little vehicles which hold one driver or two if you really squeeze. Dan has humoured me by following these guys down roads...but I just haven’t captured yet what I want.
The picture I was thinking of had a driver in the vehicle travelling down a perfect old road. We finally found the vehicle without a driver so I had Dan stand in front of the vehicle so it looked like he was driving!
Higgins has been a very good navigator and once we find a destination and set the coordinates, he is able to lead us back there over and over again. His pronunciation of some of the highways and streets are hilarious and sometimes we actually are entertained by him. I had downloaded a scary voice, Dr. Nightmare, that could be substituted for the regular GPS voice. (Dan didn’t know this) Dr. Nightmare has a very loud deep dark voice and every once in a while adds a comment, like “DON’T MIND THE NOISE IN THE TRUNK HA HA HA.” One day I plugged his voice in and scared Dan when he was driving...maybe it wasn’t such a good idea...I thought it was verrryyy funny. Well it didn’t last long before our regular Higgins was called upon. I also sometimes change the vehicle that appears on the display. Yesterday we drove a little car with a dog hanging out the window. Most of the time we have had a little pink one...what shall I put today???
Our drive around the countryside was fun and the market in Cortona was ok but not great- mostly clothes. We picked up some tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella for a caprese salad tonight to go with a roasted chicken.
Off we went to La Foresta, an agriturismo property which was going to be our new home for the next week. Agriturismo isn’t about working on a farm, it’s about experiencing rural Italian life and a slower-paced holiday. The idea is that you rent a room in a farmhouse in the countryside where you can enjoy unparalleled views and where your most difficult task each day will be deciding where you want to go or if you simply want to relax there. La Foresta was hidden away in a vineyard. Higgins took us to the little Church in San Leonino, but then he ran out of road and our instructions were to take the little path and follow it way into the vineyard. Paolo was there fixing a lawn mower. “La Foresta?” “Si” he replied and very jovially told us with hand signals to leave the car and follow him. He did not speak English at all but showed us what we needed to know about our apartment. A message on the door from Lucia said that she would be back around 5:00 pm and would see us then. Paolo was obviously the “everything guy” as he was watering, fixing things etc. Our apartment was definitely rustic but very charming, with very large windows covered with white lace and big antique wardrobes, mirrors, dining room table etc. It was not for the person who is not comfortable with a variety of bugs. Some of the windows didn’t have screens and even if they did, they didn’t really meet the edges of the frame. I watched a little gecko run from inside to outside of the room and mosquitos were a plenty. Hunter Dan chased down a bee and closed the inside shutter and trapped the bee, convinced that he would find his way outside through one of those gaps. The only problem was that we needed air in the room...
The dining room was equipped with a small gas stove, refrigerator, sink and some utensils (plates, forks etc). We also had some old tall candle holders. Our bathroom was down a few steps from the dining room with a little arched door. It was cute with a bidet , a toilet, sink and shower. The shower was a shower head pointing down with a rough curtain around it. There was no ridge around the shower so the water simply ran all over the floor until find the drain....a little wet...but this was country life in Italy. We had a little outdoor eating place with some old vines dripping with grapes hanging overhead and there was even a swimming pool.
Lucia arrived! She apologized for being late and greeted us very warmly with hugs and proceeded to fly through our apartment telling us everything we needed to know from turning on the gas to the restaurants nearby and the pasta lessons that she would tell me about tomorrow when she would bring the information. She showed us the map and suggested towns we should visit...she circled every town in the region!
We drove over to Castellina in Chianti to explore the village as this was our closest town. It was very charming with many cafes and little shops as well as a coop grocery store. It seems that most visitors to this area are from Belgium and Germany and we really didn’t hear English at all.
We returned home to toast to our new place and tomorrow’s drive through the Chianti region.
There were sunflowers everywhere!
Stay tuned for day 10 and our drive through the Chianti region.