A Travellerspoint blog

An Italian feast and Siena

Sizzling heat

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We are all sizzling away nicely here in Italia, with the temps again being in the 40's today. Apparently much hotter than usual for June! Last night we once again enjoyed a beautiful Italian dinner with our wonderful hosts and other guests while watching the Ireland v Italy soccer match. The food was delicious, beautiful home made starters followed by pasta and rice rissotto. Robyn and i contributed by making some kiwi pavlovas. Was quite a mission using a gas oven and trying to stop them melting in the heat.! They went down well, and we had a great evening meeting Amercans and Canadians who are also staying here. Today we drove to Siena, a beautiful medieval town originating in the 12th century. Martyn and I decided to do the 2 hour walking tour, which was very informative. The centre of the town is the beautiful Siena Cathedral filled with beautiful artworks and intricate facial sculptures of the many popes. It was interesting to learn of the 17 regions of Siena, each governed by their own council and even having their own coat of arms. The scorching heat made it a tiring exercise and it was nice to sit down in an airconditoned cafe for lunch. We leave here tomorrow, to board the train for a 4 hour journey to the Amalfi Coast. We will be sad to leave the wonderful hospitality and perfect location of Montapruno, hopefully our next home will be just as wonderful. Lx

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Sizzling by the pool....

Sun, sun and more sun

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Another stunning day here in Italy, with temperatures up around the late 30's. Have had a lovely relaxing day by the pool. Robyn and I are becoming more and more Italianised! Popped down to the local deli for lunch.........be aware that a slip of the tongue could be dangerous.......bread and mens bits a very similar word........lol!! Tonight we are dining with our lovely hosts Rudi and Claudia, who have invited us for dinner and to watch the Italy versus Ireland soccer match. Robyn and I have decided to instill a bit of Kiwiana into the evening by making 2 pavalovas. So far, they look ok , but how they taste remains to be seen!! Is quite a mission trying to find the ingredients you need at an Italian supermarket. Tomorrow is our last day here and we are planning a trip to Sienna. Ciao. Lx

Posted by gaddesandgray 07:00 Comments (0)

Under the Tuscan sun in.......Cortona

Cortona

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This morning we set off armed with our trusty Aussie friend Karen (GPS), and headed to the town of Cortona, about an hours drive away. Cortona is known as the city of art. In true Tuscan style the town is set high on a hill, with stunning views over the whole of the Tuscany region. Of course this meant a hike up a hill once again! At least we are working off our Italian food and wine, at least a little!! We visited some lovely art galleries, nothing like the art gallery in Auckland. These tiny rooms were set underground, almost like going into someones lounge. We saw some beautiful art works and sculptures. Then we visited the Church of San Dominica, built in the 15th century. There is something unique about the silence of an old church and the peacefulness within. After lunch , we headed to a lake nearby, where there was a dog show taking place. Even dog dancing and dog therapy. Have just returned from a lovely dinner down at the village to be surprised with a wonderful fireworks display celebrating a religious event. Our Italian language skills are increasing daily. We are now managing to order off a menu completely in Italian. Actually, we are turning into Italians, breakfast at 10, lunch at 3 and dinner at 9. Right, its Ciao for now, the bloody rooster will be cock a doodle dooing at 4 am. Lx

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The Cinque Terre

A big day out!

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Good morning from Montapruna. Is an absolutely stunning day, temp around 30 degrees. Planning on spending the day here today, resting round the pool and soaking up the sun after a huge day yesterday. We were off at 7.30 yesterday morning for the very loooonnngggg drive to The Cinque Terre, a beautiful stretch of the Levante Riveria, which is made up of 5 picturesque villages. It was quite an adventure negotiating the Italian roads, very narrow and at times chaotic - not to mention driving on the left. Simon did a great job as driver, with Martyn navigating.(Robyn and I still oohing and ahhing in the back)!!. We had a quick stop at Pisa on the way and Robyn and I jumped out and took a few quick photos. We finally arrived at the train station of La Spezia and trained to the first village of Riomaggiore. Set in the hills amongst the rocks, this small fishing village was our first glimpse of the absolute beauty of the area. We embarked on our first walk to the next village along the cliff edge, feeling very smug at how easy it was. We set off , full of beans to the next village of Manarola only to find that we were unable to continue on due to the floods of October 2011. After quite a wait, we took the train to the village of Vernazza, a gorgeous little village built into the hills of Reggio. It felt almost surreal to be there, stunning old buildings framed by the clear waters of the Mediterraean. A quick drink stop, then we set off on the longest and hardest part of the coast. We began by climbing a very steep lot of steps to get onto the track. Well, that was only the beginning. The steps continued, on and on and on..................need I say any more!! In the heat of the day, it was really quite a mission and a challange to say the least. There were parts of the track (know as the Old Goat track) that were barely a foot wide. However the views were quite indescribable (have done the best we could to capture on the photos). It seemed that every corner we turned surprised us with more beauty. I have always been quite biased about the South Island of NZ being the most beautiful place on earth, but I have now found somewhere just as spectacular!! It was a very long and trecherous 2 hours for 4 middle aged kiwis from the Hibiscus Coast (he he), but each of us wouldn't have missed it for the world. The Cinque Terre will stay with us forever without a doubt. We returned home late last night feeling absolutely buggered but so pleased that we managed to see what must surely be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Enjoy pics. Ciao. Lx

Posted by gaddesandgray 03:43 Comments (1)

Under the Tuscan sun in San Gimignano

Tuscany

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We had a great dinner last night, our lovely hosts put a fine traditional Italian spread! We joined by the other guests staying here. An interesting mix, we Kiwis seemed quiet I guess, compared to the Americans and Australians. We were entertained by “Chuck”, one of the Americans with his magic show. The food was divine, Italian food seems so much tastier than ours! Today we were into the car and off to San Gigimano. This ancient Italian village is full of towers and tiny cobbled streets, situated high on a hill with absolutely amazing views. Tuscany is proving to be exactly how we imagined. Took loads of photos. After spending most of the day there, we were back into the car for the drive back to Staggia. Robyn and I are paranoid backseat drivers, oohing and ahhhing…….oh dear. Don’t think I will ever get used to this driving on the left hand side of the road business. Tonight we are off into the village to a restaurant some Aussies recommended to us. Unfortunately we don’t know the Italian name, only that it is “the frog place”. Mmmm, could be interesting!!!

Posted by gaddesandgray 07:31 Comments (1)

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