The courtyard outside our apartment
Well, needless to say, I've not blogged daily as planned! However, my excuse is fairly valid...lack of internet connection for any length of time - so there! Actually, the wonderful little cafe where I do connect is a lovely local spot in Castellina in Chianti by the name of Bar Italia. It's a simple place where mostly the locals gather for the quick cup of caffé, a brioche for breakfast, or a chance to sit with i vuoi amici and watch the game. I "discovered" it a year ago when I visited Castellina with friends Donnie and Julie, and it's been the spot for morning cappuccino ever since. I digress...
Our flight over was pretty uneventful, which is always a blessing. We did the "normal routine" of Tylenol PM and melatonin, slept as much as one can when contorted like a pretzel …in a sardine can. Arrival at Milan Malpensa Aerporto was on time, and other than the last 20 minutes or so of the flight being akin to bouncing down a West Texas ranch road, we made touch down with no complaints. Baggage picked up, rental car secured, GPS up and running…and south we drove! The GPS was a lovely addition to my earlier driving experiences in Italy, but I have to say…the robotic Mr. GPS's accent when trying to speak the names of Italian roads was pretty hilarious – which soon segued to annoyance. It was not long before our “Jack the GPS” underwent a gender alteration to become “Silvia the Italian ragazza GPS”.
The drive south was grand. Although the weather was cloudy with intermittent showers…we were in Italy!! After an aborted attempt to find a place to park in the Centro Storico (historic center) of Parma (mmm...cheese!) for a bite for lunch, we gave up and opted for the next AutoGrill on the autostrada. If you’ve never been to one of these, just imagine an Italian Bucky’s. Yeah, pretty awesome. We had to laugh at the décor of the eating area in this particular one…”The Wild West”! There were any number of burger choices, as well as….a Cavallo Pazzo (Crazy Horse) burger! Hmmm…wonder if it was made out of….ummm…nawww!!!
*Addendum: Want to more about Castellina in Chianti? Click here!
Want to know more about Casamonti and Tuscan Enterprises? Click here!
As we drove further south with familiar waypoints like Modena (mmm...balsamic!) and Bologna (mmm...sauce!) announcing themselves, the scenery began to take on the beauty that Tuscany is so well known for….rolling green hills punctuated by freshly turned earth surrounding the new growth in the vineyards, untold multitudes of spring yellow and white flowers splashed across the up and downs of the hillsides, and the silvery green splendor of the ancient olive trees seeming to greet us like old friends. Bella terra! Other spring flowers were evident, as well, and incredibly grand….the reddish orange poppies that seem to be plugged in to a a socket somewhere they’re so bright, elegant wisteria, and other blossoming trees I couldn’t begin to name. Indeed, Tuscany knows how to put on one fine spring show!
We arrived at Casamonti, the fantastically beautiful Tuscan farm belonging to our friends Ray and Anna Rita (who also own and operate Tuscan Enterprises), by late afternoon, turned off the S222 onto the beautiful and welcoming dirt road that leads to the farm, and wound our way around to park in the back area where we were promptly greeted by the 3 dogs that reside in that area. Bags unpacked, a little freshening up, then into town….Castellina in Chianti. A good walk up and down the main street felt wonderful, followed by a bit of pasta and wine in a local diner to cap off giorno uno in Italia. Tired, happy, full….la dolce vita.
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.