Tuscany – our dreams……..
And now we are in to day 8 of our Tuscan dream. We wake each day, look out at the view, and pinch ourselves to see if we are really here! The photo below is a view from our bedroom wondow!!
It is so stunningly beautiful and special (note the olive grove in the forefront of teh above photo). We look over rolling hills, green as anything, full of olive trees, crops that wave in the wind……… and the red poppies, just like we saw at ANZAC cove.
There are lines of trees that look like poplars, but up close they are the same foliage and smell as macrocapas. Interesting. And the other plant related thing, is geraniums (red) and hydrangeas (pink in pots) are very popular here. I even saw a rhodo in a pot today! Not to mention…….. weeds are the same all over. Chickweed, milk thistle etc. Hee hee.
How to start to describe our time here…… (And before I start – I must apologise for the emphasis on food!) At 7am the church bells start to ring again to let us know morning is here. It is just breaking light and there is that wonderful smell of early clean morning over fresh fields. The bird song is glorious so we open the bedroom window to take all of this in. (There is also a beautiful dog living next door, down below and at times she “chats” to her owner and we enjoy their exchange ……….. well, more accurately I might say I enjoy their exchange (so cute!), Peter is not so keen…….. J )
The house where we are staying……. We are the first people to rent here so are enjoying the newness of a newly renovated house – including all new linen, crockery etc. AND a dishwasher, a stove and a gas hob! Tiny kitchen but a girl can create all sorts of things in there with this local produce! Maybe I should write a song about tomatoes…… The house is three bedrooms, two stories with a terrace upstairs – we’d call it a patio. It has pots of red geraniums, a table and chairs and a sun umbrella on the Terrace. We spend all the time we are at the house up here. We see the local “scene” from here – all the locals coming out to have a chat with each other etc, also the main road intersection is here…….. so entertaining and quite educational. When I say main road, it is tiny as the village is very small indeed.
In the village there is 1 bank, 1 pub/diary/restaurant, 1 church and 1 COOP – a small superette. And that’s it! Other than the houses. All made of brick from old times and all lumped in and upon each other. So pretty and so lovely. And the local people are all very friendly.
The COOP we frequent daily for drinking water, beer and whatever food we feel like……… Yesterday I asked (in some form of pigeon sign language!) for parma ham, which they slice to order. But, I didn’t know how to order so as I saw her slicing MANY MANY slices I thought, oh well, sooner or later she will ask me how much of this I want. But then she wrapped it all up and I thought gosh – In NZ this would be $50! How do I say I don’t need all of this. But it only came to a grand total of 2 Euros – like $3NZD! Did I smile and skip my way home to trial it! Mmmmmmmmmm – Mama Mia again! And with our visitors here for the weekend we ate it all and had to go and get more. Being summer we are also enjoying fresh strawberries, cherries and stone fruit. Juicy, sweet peaches……..
We have been taking daily explores from here (we have a lease car) to other villages and local sites. Of most note are Montepulciano – known as the pearl of the “16th Century”. I could go in to the detail of the painters, the churches but I won’t……… they were amazing though. But we did also go to a local Cantina – like a local vineyard “shop” in town. Down down down we climbed in to rock caves – to see the most amazing HUGE barrels of wine …….. never have we seen such amazing things. The sense and smell was unusual too – like a form of damp rock but with the feel of calming energy. Hard to describe. And it was all so beautifully lit…….. ah…….. more romance!! (yes, we did buy some red wine there…..). Yesterday we took Michele and Shaun there (friends from Rome who came to stay) and somehow we took a wrong turn. We were in fits of laughter as we drove literally through the town on roads that at times were only just, by a mm or two, wide enough for our car – and they are TWO WAY streets! At one stage we could reach out through the window of the car through the door of the restaurant where people were eating. Did I mention you are not allowed cars in the town unless you are a resident??? What a laugh. We went to a couple of cantinas there and tasted wine and had funny conversations with locals who don’t speak English.
Just so close to where we are staying (4kms) is San t’anna in Camprena. It is an old Monastery which was used as the scene in the filming of the “English Patient”. We went to visit and now it is a Guest Stay so visitors like us can only see a small part. You can see the original frescos from the 1300s…….. It was so beautiful. The church there has a lot of multi coloured marble pillars and the marble was also used to make frames for the huge paintings in there – it is all marbled pink, orange, white etc. So pretty – and so clever – that is a heavy picture frame to hang!