2015 – Italy – San Gimignano and More Tuscan Adventures

I have to start with food today because we were offered eggs for breakfast – I’m sure from the chickens on the farm here. Not only that but Dick about fell out of his chair when they also brought him American coffee. He is a very happy camper today and awake. It’s a good thing because it was Dick’s turn to drive. Oh what an adventure. He is a good driver but we were headed to points that are not too clearly marked and in a car he is not too familiar with. So the gist of what I’m trying to tell you is that we saw areas of Tuscany we had not seen before. In other words, if you are going to be a little lost in the middle of nowhere, it’s much nicer to be lost in Tuscany. I just used this adventure as an opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful countryside.

We arrived in the city of San Gimignano around 9:30 am. After driving into the town – oops that’s a no-no – but Dick mastered the back up and turnaround method to get out of the town streets. Here stop signs and traffic lights are more like part of the landscaping. He finally found a parking lot on the outskirts where the tourist’s cars belong. Whew! Oh I love this town. I remembered walking around a few years ago and just marveling at the stone work, the artists who built the city to last these many thousands of years.

I was looking for my favorite shop that had a lot of olive wood items. We walked up and down a lot of streets, but could not find it. Not to disappoint, we did find the weekly market in the town square. The only thing was, the market was so big, you could not get the perspective of the square and the 5 towers that surrounded it. I was totally shocked. I hope if this day was the first visit for some people, that they come back tomorrow when the street vendors are gone so they can see the beauty of the inner city. However, I did buy a tablecloth and scarf while we were there.

At about 10:00 am bus loads of tourists flooded the streets and it was awful. Dick says it was like the invasion of the huns. We stayed until about noon and tried to head out to pick up our car. Okay, so whose job was it to remember the parking lot number we were in? The look of panic in our 3 faces was like something you’d see in a scary movie. Conversation was something like “I thought you knew where we parked? No I thought you did. Well, I didn’t pay attention…….” We started walking around the perimeter of the city to find the parking lot, temps had climbed to close to 90 at this point and it was muggy. I hadn’t seen those parts of the city to be honest and I’m sure few others have either. Finally, after asking a few people and retracing out steps through the city (Oh I remember that store!) we found our way back to the parking lot.

Now we are off to lunch and spa treatment. But wait, the GPS is not giving us directions, so Antimo calls to find out where to go. Dick really did a good job of navigating the roads considering I was overheated – and you really don’t want to know what it’s like to have an overheated Italian in the back seat of a Fiat – do you?

We arrived at the hotel in time to grab a quick salad before my massage. By now you know that nothing that has to do with eating in Italy is quick. We actually did get our lunch quick by Italian standards today though. I had the best salad with tuna, shaved fennel, carrots, tomatoes, olives.

Off to the spa area for a massage. After all these days of travel it was great! Funny thing – the masseuse handed me what looked like a small bookmark and told me to undress and put these “panties” on. Really? While I was being pampered, Dick and Antimo had a tour of the facilities. I got the better end of that deal except for the bookmark panties.

Back to our agritourism – we had reservations for a wine tasting – imagine that – so we did have a schedule of sorts. So funny because again we took the scenic route a little bit and after a turnaround and a phone call we realized we were literally about 500 feet from driveway of the hotel. We all just burst out laughing. We headed for the pool to cool off before the wine tasting. What better view than sitting in the pool, glass of wine and looking out over the picturesque valley of vineyards and up on the hill is San Gimignano.

Our wine tasting event was early – 5:00 pm – and I didn’t have time to run back to the room to change so I grabbed a large scarf and tied it around my swimsuit. Where is Alfredo when you need him to twist a piece of fabric into an evening gown and secure it with two pins? I think he could have created a fashionable outfit. I just tied the scarf around my neck and pretended it was a dress/cover up. We sat down just in time to be brought a board of cheeses, meats and olives to go with our bread and olive oil.

We tasted 2 varieties of whites and 2 varieties of reds. All good, all different and just enough to finish off the day.
Just in case you needed an espresso cup of espresso maker, this is the store for you!

Do you have an extra hand truck or dolly? Well here is a DIY project for you!

The food carts in Portland have nothing on these here in San Gimignano. Pig anyone? We decided to have lunch at the spa instead.

A homemade harp of sorts. Beautiful music spilled out into the piazza as we strolled through. 

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