Chianti Day 5

Trip Start Apr 30, 2012
Trip End May 29, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pool Day

The warm weather has arrived!! It will reach the high 70s today (up from the low 60s) and will be mostly sunny.  We will celebrate by not going anywhere and enjoying the beautiful gardens, pool, and view at Cucule.  We've eaten breakfast and lunch outside for the first time.  Kaela and I put on bathing suits and swam quite a bit.  The water has warmed up to 61F.  With the strong sun, that is enough to actually enjoy the pool.
Hsing-ay is sadly suffering from some really serious sunburn on her face.  A week ago we headed out for a long day in the sun.  She did not realize that she put sun tan lotion everywhere but the very front of her face.  So she is now in a pealing phase and she is actually trying to avoid our wonderful sun.  But there are outdoor umbrellas to protect her and we are hoping she will feel better soon.
Market Run

I did have to run to the supermarket to find some lunch for our day at home.  The market has been a challenge in the countryside.  They are closed on Sundays, and closed everyday from 1–4PM.  We just can’t seem to get our schedule together to avoid the closure.  I should also mention that the nearest markets are a 25-minute drive down the winding mountain roads.   I did manage to get to the market 10 minutes before closing but found this new market completely disorienting.  So I left having forgotten to purchase several items and of course by then the market had closed.  I managed to rush over to a street market, which was just closing up, and bought a few of the vegetables I had forgotten. 
There are many lovely things to buy at these markets.  My biggest obstacle is that the best stuff is at a deli counter where you tell the person what you wand and how much.  I’m terrified to use my very limited Italian to try to buy items when I don’t know what they are called, or what is the right metric amount to buy, or what other customs are involved.  It’s also a bit of pressure while other customers wait for you to fumble about.  But today I gathered my courage and bought some really great pecorino cheese and salami!

Another Dinner Out

Part of our vacation plan and overall budget was to rent apartments with kitchens so that we could prepare most of our meals.  Eating out in Italy adds up at a ridiculous rate so the only way we could afford Italy for a month was to "self-cater".  So we didn’t eat out a single time in Venice or Florence.  Both of those cities are overpriced and full of so-so food targeted towards tourists.  Now that we are deep in the Chianti countryside, we are eating dinner out nearly every night at fantastic restaurants.  Really good food is much more reasonably priced in the countryside and if you get good recommendations from locals, you can regularly eat the best Italian food you’ve ever had.
Tonight we ate at Osteria L’Orciaia at the tiny hilltop town of Montebenichi.  This is the town we see from our patio and this is the only restaurant in the town.  The style of food is local home cooked and a father, son, and the son’s wife run the place.  It was very good and lots of fun to interact with the two men (the wife stayed back in the kitchen).  They were quite proud that Morgan Freeman ate there and showed us the photo.
The biggest problem we have with eating out is that the earliest seating at these tiny restaurants is 7:30PM.  Things unfold quite slowly and last night we finished at 9:30PM.  That happens to have been the quickest dinner meal we have had in Tuscany.  So, Kaela and Hsing-ay are always asleep by the time we get home.
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