Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Under the Tuscan Sun

As we headed back from Siena, we talked about what we would do on our last day in Tuscany. A week into our trip and already the weather was changing. The days were getting noticeably warmer. The heat brought with it blood-sucking mosquitoes. Thankfully, unlike previous experience, the mosquitoes left me be, instead feasting on Liz, Brie and Acki. To add to their woe, the bothersome bugs attacked at night making it hard for them to sleep.

The heat, the lack of sleep and being on the go was taking its toll. I gave everyone two options. We could go to Verona which was on our list of places to go (yes, we saw Letters to Juliet) or we could have a day of rest. Everyone could sleep as late as they wanted, there would be no one waking up anyone else and there would be no agenda to the day at all. The girls and Liz overwhelmingly voted for a day of rest. While there was a part of me disappointed that we would not be going to Verona, there was a part of me that was relieved.

I had to admit that I was tired too. That night we went to bed with our alarms turned off. Like every other morning I woke first. The villa was still with everyone else asleep so I took the opportunity to drink my coffee and eat my breakfast in the courtyard.

Even after a week of being in Italy, I felt like pinching myself. In the quiet solitude, I reflected on where I was, what was coming next, what I had come through.

After several hours, I was ready to move. The household was still quiet so I grabbed the car keys with a sense of adventure in my mind.

I had no idea where I was going other than I was going to explore my surroundings. I ended up in San Casciano when I saw a marker for Greve 8 km ahead which was one of the towns I thought I had read about. In that moment I decided where I was going. 8 km took me longer than I thought. The road narrowed at time as I passed little villages and acres and acres of vineyards.

Soon I found myself sharing the road with cyclists which only added to my delight.

When I finally got to Greve, I was both excited and nervous. It had taken me longer to get there than I thought it would and I was worried about driving back without my navigator. Without my guidebook I really had no idea of what I was doing there so I decided to turn back around. Somehow I missed a sign to San Casciano. I knew I was on a different road than what I took there, but there was signage for the A-50 so I figured I could keep on driving and I would be okay.

With every minute that passed, I grew a little more anxious. I finally found the A-50 which took me to the A-1. It was soon apparent to me that I went in the wrong direction. The next exit wasn't until forever. By that time my heart was pounding. It was already lunchtime and I was worried that Liz and the girls would be worried. Somehow I managed to find my way back home. I raced into the villa ready to apologize and, much to my relief, found everyone still in pajamas lazing around.

After everyone got dressed, we decided to go back to San Casciano for lunch. We meandered about trying to settle on a place and ended up in the little restaurant in the center of town with menus that were all in Italian and hard to decipher.

Luckily hamburgers were clearly on the menu so Acki and I ordered this. Unfortunately, a hamburger in Italy is not always the same as a hamburger in America. The four of us immediately burst into disbelieving laughter when we were served a raw hamburger patty. As I told Liz, I would have cried had the french fries not looked so good.

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