Under the Tuscan Rain

Trip Start May 15, 2007
Trip End Dec 10, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Well, I always knew that Seattle and home would be with me wherever I went, but I didn't mean that literally (okay, big guy up there?).  Looks like we have brought a little bit of Seattle rain with us here to Pienza, Italy, which is in the Tuscan countryside.

Luckily, sitting inside and relaxing was just what we needed.  Jeanine and I both went to the doctor (hunky English doctor whose FAQ sheet read: Are you married?) when we got to Florence, and found out that we both had bronchitis.  He gave us some amoxycillin, and we are both feeling better now that we are three days or so into our course of antibiotics.  By our last day in Florence, we were both aching for some relaxing.  So Tuscany, here we come and here we are.

We arrived from Arles to Florence at 7 am, and we had to wait until 2 pm to check into our hotel (which was lovely by the way), so we took the opportunity to get to the museums early.  So we saw that hunk who is Michelangelo's David, big hands and all.  The next day, we went to the Uffizi and saw a lot of pictures of Madonna and child.  The highlight for me was undoubtedly climbing to the cupola of the Duomo, the big 'ol Renaissance church commissioned by the Medicis.  Here's a hint: on a nice day, the cupola is a lovely place to take a little snooze.  The breeze is just right, there are little steps where other people have parked their butts -- it's great and peaceful.

It was great to see the center of Renaissance.  Very clean city and not full of crime as we had been warned.  There were many tourists there already, before the tourist high season had even hit, so it wouldn't be so fun to visit in June or July, when the tourists are doubled, as are the temperature and humidity.

We also spent some time taking care of some logistics, mainly figuring out how to get out here to Pienza, so I trudged back and forth trying to find out if the buses ran out here on Sunday, only to learn that they don't.  The owner of our agritourismo (farm homestay thingy) in Pienza sent us a driver to the nearest stop in Siena, and we arrived here safe and sound at about 6 pm.  The Tuscan countryside is as beautiful as you would imagine, and Pienza is just a short walk from where we are staying and sits atop a hill.

But we've mostly been relaxing, despite our driver's offers to drive us here and there for wine tastings and to see other towns.  And my cough feels a little less deep, and I've been getting tons of sleep, which is nice.  The little town here is cute as well.  We went shopping today.  I am a church nut, and I really liked the little church here, so simple compared to Notre Dame and the other churches I've seen so far.  Every time I walk into these churches, I wish I was Catholic, just as last year I wished I was Eastern Orthodox when I visited Ukrainian churches, so that I could fully and genuinely appreciate what they represent.  Soon I will want to be Buddhist when I visit Asia.

Perhaps most importantly, I feel like I've really settled into the rhythm of traveling -- packing my bag over and over again, washing my clothes often, stuff like that.  I have learned that to be clean is an extremely good thing, and I vow to shower every day, just to save up for those days when showers will be infrequent and cold and whatever.  I have been gone for two weeks now, and it feels like so much longer -- probably because so much has been packed into those two weeks. 

I've really enjoyed spending these two special weeks with Jeanine, and we've been through a lot together.  Friends are special!
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