Exploring Cortona

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

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunny and 34C

We arose late and strolled to the courtyard for breakfast...what a treat, especially for Celine and the kids who had never experienced a full blown European breakfast: orange and pear juice, cereals, yogurt, chopped fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheeses, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, fresh bread, cakes and pastries, plus hot chocolate, tea, coffee, and cappuccino!!!

We decided to stay close to home today and explored Cortona. As it turns out, there was an antique market in full swing when we arrived. Although we only bought a small embroidery, we enjoyed searching through the old items for some unexpected treasure. I stopped in at a shop featuring Etruscan replicas, artisan jewelry, and housewares. I quickly spotted some unique jewelry crafted from bits of seaweed, seeds, rice paper, and other natural materials to create scenes from the Tuscan countryside. I knew Celine would love it and went to find her. We returned and had a lovely 30 minute visit with the friendly proprietor. She was the same age as Celine and spoke excellent English. She was also a Harry Potter enthusiast. We ended up purchasing a gorgeous necklace and matching earings.

By 15h30, it was time for lunch. We found an excellent outdoor cafe serving marvelous salads (Stephane enjoyed mixed greens, Danielle and Celine the Greek salad, and I had a tomato and mozzarella salad. It was perfect for a hot afternoon! On the drive down to Sodo, we stopped to take photos at the cemetery. I wanted to take more photos as we descended to the valley bottom, but Celine and the kids were eager to get home. I took their comments (jibes) to heart and became offended. I started driving like a maniac at high speed on the switchbacks, squealing tires on every corner. I dumped them at the gates and left in a huff for a drive on my own. I headed toward Arezzo and put in about 30 km along the back roads, stopping at my leisure to take photos. I spent 10-15 minutes in a field of ripe sunflowers trying to capture the evening light as it shone through the petals. Alas, my photographic skills were really not up to the task. I headed south for some quintessential photos of the landscape. All in all, I was gone for 2 1/2 hours, leaving the others to wonder what had befallen me. The also wondered if I had found any food, as that had ostensibly been my mission. But on a Sunday afternoon, there was nothing to be had. Instead, we went back to Cortona for a 22h00 meal at an excellent Osteria. Danielle had duck, Celine the Guinea hen, Stephane spaghetti with tomato sauce, and I had rabbit. The food was every bit as good or better than the previous night and cost about 25 euro less!
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