We hatched the plan the night before – San Gimignano. We planned to trek the Tuscan countryside via Harley, Mercedes in pursuit. I’ve struggled with car nausea during this Italian holiday – who knew? Never has this happened. Size, proximity, heights and lurching evidently do not agree with me. As if on cue – helmet secured – clouds rolled. The air is cool and I feel free – albeit – the road keeps me grounded both in body and mind. I have technological success in my first feature ‘Cecil and Jayne do Chianti’ on the motorcycle. It’s a pleasant run, but we are very mindful that the sky is not going to cooperate for long. Upon approach at San Gimignano – my first impression is mega tourist trap thanks to some leftover stones from the 12th century. Overly populated – parking difficult and grey skies could become ominous. We venture through side streets taken up with the interesting fortress city and discover the ‘main drag’ if you will – a hilly entrance to the centre of the fortress – deliciously lined with several trappings to divert my attention from the fact my attitude needs adjustment. Our watchmen husbands are preparing for the inevitable – the deluge of Noahic proportions by scouting a restaurant. Nobel Prize worthy move. We get a table – with a scowled warning – ‘no pizza’ and we decide the Scripture ‘better is a dinner of herbs with love, than a banquet with a stalled ox and hatred.’ We sit, rain. Thunder overhead so loud and frightening we’re expecting the 21st century ten commandments for Tuscans to be presented instead of lunch. As seasoned poor weather participants, we were still shocked when round 2 of ‘Moses Does Italy’. Hail began to pellet the countryside and us. Incredible! August in Italy! That was a big and fast cold front. We enjoyed comfort food in the sheltered terrazo and hung in there as grateful people. Our rain jackets were our comfort, but our thoughts were anxious. We strolled and shopped up the street and did the ‘we’re in San Gimignano, so let’s snag the photos’ and headed down again.
We scored some panneforte recommended days earlier by our villa attendant, Allesandro. Some English speaking tourists saw us staring and urged us to buy some – ‘totally addicting’ they said to us. At E7.50 later, our Siena Christmas cake was on its way back to be enjoyed (except by Gucci, hater of all Christmas cake, Italian or otherwise).
We return to vehicles and suit up. Roads very wet and chilly. After sorting out our E8 parking – we head out in the opposite direction of where we should be going. In my head I’m embarassed and nervous – we are driving up San Gimignano side streets to the main tourist area under the unapproving gazes of many shop owners! Breathe. Don’t look. My Beloved gets the Harley turned around and we get out of town before the medieval stoning.
Sun – peeking, hoping. We did not get wet on a somber, rainy day. Mercy. Thank you Lord. It happens. It happens a lot actually – but not today!
San Gimignano is ‘neat’ but congested. I’m happy we ‘did it’. I simply can’t help myself but there is no comparison to (fill in the blank….since you might be sick of me saying it…)
We stopped for gas and discuss our brief needs list for IperCOOP as K2 will do the side trip while we do a tour that would make even Giovanni proud, through Chianti.
We stopped at Greve for My Beloved to sample local gelato. Hmmmm….is he ready to go home? His comment is that he misses our ice cream. Interesting. I’m getting anxious to complete the tour as I am the chef for the evening. When we completed the 9 km back to the villa, I was complimented about my nice riding. Ten days and self control is starting to kick in – I feel smug and accomplished.
Once in the cucina, we chopped everything in sight. Heated garlic infused oil and chili infused oil to begin the sauce. Pomodoro, peppers, onions all simmer with some wine and spinaci to create a vegetarian sauce for the ravioli previously purchased. A little wine, lots of conversation, some flurry in the cucina and dinner is served. Healthy, simple and cozy on a much chillier night. It felt like fall – and it was a nice feeling for a moment. Moka making begins. I’m up to 26 pots so far for the week. We indulged in panneforte and white chocolate with easy rapartie. It feels early but is getting late – we wind down and get ready for bed. I relish once again in the glorious shoes – and find shoe bags in the boxes. Like in a college dorm – I run over to Gucci’s room and show her the shoes, the bags and touch Gucci bag one more time to seal its green-gold softness in my mind. Her boots are adorable too and will look so nice on her – we’re giggling like dorm sisters and then off to settle down. My Beloved is out like a light – I on the other hand, lay there thinking – for the next two to three hours. I think about packing, about Saturday, about my family, my clothes, the payroll, plane crashing. Weird I know, but wanted to give you a glimpse of my brain and its nonsensical content. I decide to count olive groves to see if the endlessness of them will numb my swirling thoughts. Success. For how long – who knows. I am awake again and wonder if the rooster is as dumb as we thought. I can verify he is on his game. He gave the signal to me and to my Italian grandparents next door -its time to rise and shine. If only I could. I didn’t want to create a disturbance. Finally the sun is up…