The morning view from the Capre apartment at Casamonti
Thursday arrived…Kathleen’s last full day here. We both marveled at how quickly it appeared, but doesn’t one always do this when things are so grand? It had been decided the night before that today would be one of slow mode – we’d sleep in, take our time, and make the day spread out locally with time spent in Castellina. Twist my arm.
The morning ritual of tea and talk had its rightful place, and once we found a good “the end” moment, we were dressed and out the door to Simone’s caffe’ counter for that amazing cappuccini he does so well. Feeling the need to do some connection to the world on the other side of the ocean, we decided we’d park at the Chianti Bar, make lunch of it, and enjoy their free wifi. The day was incredibly beautiful, practically spring like in this most unspring like May in Tuscany, so tables were set up outside. We opted, however, to hang with a couple of locals inside and make use of the tables and lack of glare. A sparse lunch, a lot of catching up via email and social media, and before we knew it an hour and a half had passed.
I’d hauled laundry with me, so I made my way to the neat little lavandaria (knowing how to use it this time) while Kathleen cut herself loose in Castellina with recommendations to see the very nicely done civic museum (some really cool Estruscan stuff), as well as the Rocca Comunale (the old fortress) and the view climbing its stairs affords. She took my advice and had one heckuva time up there!
I busied myself with a quick walk into the main street of town while the dirt was being scourged from my clothing and found many a tourist enjoying this great day. A couple of gifts scored, I hurried back to get the drying underway and sit for a bit. While I was waiting, I dug through a stack of magazines and came across a day minder book of sorts for 2011, totally empty…one of those advertisement type publications. I was thrilled…paper!...and a nice means to record each days notes for later expounding upon. One other bit of entertainment for my wait was a pair of ladies who came in buried under giant comforters. I had such fun watching them carry on in conversation spewed so fast I really couldn’t keep up with it, but with more than enough inflection, exclamation, and laughter that I could probably fill in the blanks on what was amusing them. An older, suspendered gent came in and added to the fun by asking questions that only caused the ladies to rise in levels of volume and exclamatory replies. Bella!
Clean clothes folded and tucked into the car, we reunited and found our way to the Via Volte for a stroll. This is Castellina’s quaint medieval walkway that morphed into a virtual tunnel over the ages. Originally an open-air merchant street along the east wall, it was eventually built over as buildings were added and stacked upon each other in grand Italian style. It’s amazing to see the various configurations of arches that support untold tons of bricks, rock, and humanness. Reaching the end, I told Kathleen she was forbidden to go back to Texas until she’d had some of the finest gelato I’ve ever met…found at the little gelateria that Roberta had referred Marty and I to last week. I’d venture to say that 1.) the walk was worth it, and 2.) she had to agree with me that it was worth every single calorie.
From there, we wandered back to the main street and found our way to the modern but very nice walkway that the town has added along the entire length of the east wall. The view from there overlooks a villa or two, vineyards, an orchard, olive groves, and the endless vista of beautiful Chianti. A wondrous sample of spring wildflowers lined the walkway, the crickets offered a fine concerto, and lulling birdcalls rounded out the spectacular-ness of this ethereal countryside amphitheatre.
Despite true hunger being a more remote than real experience, we decided to head on to Dei Dottore for a last meal of their wonderfully thin but tasty pizza. The view from the hilltop window rewarded us splendidly, as did the satisfying meal (which we somehow managed to find room for...).
Once back to the rabbit hole, we had enough daylight left for me to decide a walk was a good idea, so I tennis-shoed up and made my way down the welcoming dirt road. The late day here is always spectacular, always satisfying, always endearing. The sun bows out gracefully to the west over the soft and multiple layers of Chianti hills, to then make its final curtain call behind a rugged peak of far-away mountains of which I’m not sure the name. Beautiful hues fill the sky, and whether it’s of a simple monotone variety, or of a meshed palette of the most beautiful Michaelangelo-esce pastels, it is relentless in its mission to inspire and awe. The now familiar bird chorus accompanied my walk, as did the sight of the Cinta Senese pigs going about their late day pig business. I stopped more than once to try to absorb it, to somehow incorporate it as more than just a glancing moment on this particular day. I noted a very tangible sense of change as I reflected on Kathleen having to leave, and knowing I was just a mere week behind her. It was a juxtaposition of feelings and emotions…missing home and my husband, eager to reunite, but also sad at having to leave this magical place.
Paula A. Reynolds
Traveler or Tourist?
All photos used in this blog were taken by the author, the author's husband or friends, or found by way of images.google.com. Photo credit is given when possible.