Moving to Tuscany

Trip Start Jun 28, 2007
Trip End Jul 27, 2007

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Saturday, July 21, 2007

Venice Hot and Muggy, Cortona just Hot

We left our apartment in a timely fashion but were delayed at the train station with some last minute gift buying. Once completed, we boarded the 10 minute train to Maestre. Parking cost more than we expected since midnight was the point at which a new day was calculated rather than 24 hours after entering. Then because we took our time packing the car and reading the maps, we were charged an additional 2€ , understandable but frustrating nonetheless.

The autostrada proved much easier to navigate today since there were very few trucks on the road. I was able to sustain 130-150 km/h. The first leg to Bologna was through flat agricultural land. Then we saw more rolling hills to Firenze and into the heart of Tuscany. With all my focus and attention on traffic, it was difficult to look around, but that was not the point of this transit. Once we left the autostrada and hit the small roads, it was mesmerizing to drive through the countryside. The quality of light even changed, whether due to imagination or a haze in the air, the afternoon sun made the landscape glow.

Despite forgetting to print the directions to Il Sole del Sods, by hook and by crook we found our way to the abode of Gaia and her sister Caudia. We entered the courtyard and were immediately enchanted by the place. The main part of the buildings house the ladies, the reception, the dining area and some of the guestrooms. The rest of us are housed in what used to be the stables, which are now delightfully renovated into suites. At the end of the property sits the pool, which is wonderfully refreshing on a hot afternoon or evening.

We quickly settled in and sorted out our clothes that needed laundering. Celine and I took the dirty/sweaty garments to the Star Wash launderette (with excellent and inexpensive machines) and spent the early evening washing clothes. During the wash cycle we drove around the town of Camucia looking for a cash machine that would accept our card. After numerous attempts we finally found one and withdrew 500€ in two transactions. That done, we retrieved our clothes (after reading for 20 minutes while they dried) then returned to Il Sole to pick up the kids. We made the journey up the hill to Cortona for a late supper and a night time stroll with numerous local residents and a few tourists. Supper was quite good (Celine and I shared antepasti of duck breast & fennel, then Celine had pasta with clams, shrimp, and pistachio sauce, I had mine with clams, mussels, and pesto, Danielle had lamb with thyme and roast veggies, while Stephane had spaghetti in a duck sauce). We were a little surprised when the bill included 8€ for service (bread, napkins, etc.) which we later discovered was standard practice, although less expensive at other eateries.

Upon returning, we caught a news update on CNN and watched Jon Stewarts Daily Show.
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