Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcome to San Casciano

By the time Liz and the girls had gone to sleep, it was probably close to three or four in the afternoon. They were understandably exhausted, I was too wound up to sleep so I quietly left our apartment and wandered around taking in my surroundings.

After exploring the grounds for over an hour, I was keenly aware that it was already evening. We still needed to eat a good meal and go to the grocery store, not necessarily in that order. While I felt bad about waking everyone from their sleep, I didn’t want jet lag to set in. It would be better to have them tired still that way we would get a good night’s sleep and be ready for the next day. No one, including Brie, protested too much when I woke them up. I think they were hungry and anxious to see more of the area, too.

Armed with a little map and directions to San Casciano where the grocery store was located, we got back into our car and headed out. Even though we were provided very specific directions, it was French to us....and we were in Italia. As I turned right onto the main road, the uncertainty took over. Driving through the hills, I took note of landmarks and would call certain ones out to everyone in the car. I was afraid that it would be dark when we returned which would make the drive home harder.

The plan was to find the supermarket, shop, come back home and make a light meal for dinner. What we didn't plan for was having such a hard time finding the place. The little map we had made finding "The Coop" look easy peasy. It wasn't as we travelled back and forth, back and forth trying to figure out what we were doing wrong, we finally gave up and decided to just park the car and eat dinner. 

The little town of San Casciano reminded us a bit of Bayeux. We managed to find a parking lot, but could not figure how in the world to get the little parking machine to take our money so we could park without getting a ticket. Finally, I went over to a little gelato store and the kind shopkeeper came to our rescue. She dropped the Euro coins into the machine just as we had done and lightly swiped her fingers across a little button and voila! The ticket magically appeared.

Tired, hungry and verging on grumpiness, the four of us walked up the street to the area in which we were told we could find someplace to eat. Quaint and picturesque, I felt at home the moment we walked up the main street. I immediately fell in love with the little town and our mood lightening immediately. There was a little meat shop with cuts of meat hanging from the ceiling, several restaurants and various stores lined the street. 

Loved the laundry hanging out the window, this was the first of many of these types of shots.

Loved how shopkeepers and restaurant owners would stand outside waiting for business to come in. This was also the first of many of this type of shot.

This was not an area which catered to American's so all the menu's were in Italian. We finally selected a restaurant which boasted a pizzeria and hoped for the best. 

It was our first real meal out of the trip and Brie's first taste of Spaghetti "al dente". It was definitely authentic Italian food. It was a good start to our trip. By the time we finished up dinner, night was falling and so was our energy.  There would be no grocery shopping that night.

We got back into the car and made it back to the villa without having to turn around once. It definitely helped that we had selected some landmarks by which to track our way home. It gave me the confidence I needed to drive along the curvy hills with a sense of accomplishment. I announced in the car that within the next day or two, we would "own" this way of saying that we would be able to travel the streets of San Casciano as though we truly belonged there.

We arrived back to our little villa without any incident full, happy and tired. All in all it was a good day. After all, we were in Tuscany and our adventure was just beginning.

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