Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autonno in Toscana

You know the scene in Cinderella where she wanders around humming and day dreaming as she cleans and the ugly stepsisters wonder what has gotten in to her. Well that is me. This morning I took a dreamy walk to the village, wandered down some new lanes and just awed at the colours and views in the morning sun. I love autumn, and autumn here is so full of colour and light you can help but feel dreamy.

Yesterday we went to Siena, what a beautiful city perched on the hill. The piazza del Campo was absolutely magnificent. It was a beautiful warm day and the piazza was full of people just sitting and enjoying the day. I loved to see people enjoying a bottle of wine, just hanging in the piazza. The piazza is surrounded by the type of cafes we have all come to know from photos and films. We wandered the cobblestone streets, looked in shoe stores and ate gelato. Mark really enjoyed just sitting in the piazza and soaking it all in. In the evening we went to an art opening and then sort of got lost on the way home. Our GPS 'Sally', tried to take us up the windiest mountain road and when we did not let her, she kept trying to turn us around saying things like 'turn left and then turn left' and even told us to make a left turn that if we didn't we would have driven off the road. By the end of it all Mark got fed up with 'Sally', so we found the Autostrada ourselves and headed for home.

Today we went to the local Frutta e Vedura, to buy some fresh vegetables as well as the nuovo olio. This is the olive oil that has just been freshly pressed. It is less than a week old. We actually bought two different ones to do a taste test. We bought some fresh pane and when we got home, we put some oil on the bread, added a little salt and it was amazing. So fresh. I am not sure which I prefer. The one from about 2km away seems a little more full flavoured while the one from down the road was much more grassy. But both were great, and I know we will go through them quickly.

After a delicious lunch Mark headed outside with the children and our downstairs neighbour to do a little pumpkin carving. Halloween is not celebrated the same way as it is in North America, but to be honest, my favourite part of Halloween has always been the lit pumpkins.

I know this might start to get old, but it is just so beautiful here. And yes, there are certainly some challenges like blowing through 25 euros on my mobile phone in one week because I didn't realize I was getting charged 2.50 when I used my google translate on their 3g network. Or it taking nearly 3 hours to try and top up said mobile phone on the internet, without success. Or the man in the village who insists on talking to me and telling me stories even though when I tell him I only speak English, he says "Si, si" and launches into a very animated tale in very fast Italian. But luckily the fantastic experiences just make the challenging ones seem more manageable. And at the end of the day, there is always gelati and cappuccino!


  1. Maybe that old man thinks he's immersing you in Italian, hoping you'll pick up a few bits here and there. How kind of you to stick around and listen, you are such a good person. I'm off to buy some Olive Oil at Thrifty's today, and I know I won't be finding anything as lovely as you've been eating in Italy. What a great culture that knows the importance of hanging out, of having a central square to do it in, to soak up the sun and calm. Us 'westerners' could use a whole lot of that.

    I want pumpkin pictures, and I do promise to reciprocate. This year I was too overwhelmed to carve any of the pumpkins myself, so they are a gaggle of entirely kid-designed-and-carved creations. They look rather shocking. Our poor summer weather has resulted in squash that did not cure enough in the sun, and so are rotting, not ready to last through the winter. I'm not looking forward to disposing of these jack-o-lanterns in November. Yuck.



  2. We had to trick our poor GPS into not taking us up the zigzags!

    (put in a Via point somewhere on the route you want to take)

    I'm not a fan of olive oil here, but while we were there I couldn't get enough of it. I wish we'd brought some home now (silly airline luggage restrictions!)