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Published: September 16th 2007
Woke up this morning to a beautiful vista outside our window. The hills of Tuscany are very beautiful!!! Sant' Antonio is a beautiful and peaceful spot the views are spectacular no matter where you look. I did my yoga this morning out on the patio, watching the sun come up. How much better can it get? The pace is much different from Rome in that we have slowed down considerably. Nico, our host, has both wines and olive oils from Sant' Antonio. We have already sampled some of each and they are great. Wayne went for a hike up the hill behind us this morning hoping to get a good vantage point for a picture. On his way he ran into 2 men out hunting for their Sunday dinner - Wayne survived but the pheasant and pigeon did not - see pic. Today we took a short tour around Montepulciano, Pienza and Montichellio all small hillside towns. The streets are very narrow and thankfully alot of them are one way! Our rental car a Passat wagon seems to have some difficulty in handling the steep hills. Speaking of the car - I forgot to mention yesterday that Wayne did an excellent
job driving out of Rome which took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Wayne and I only disagreed on directions only a couple of times and Lois only yelled 'look out' once so all in all not a bad drive out of Rome. Yesterday we stopped in Bolsena on our way to Sant' Antonio where there was a Commonwealth memorial cemetary. There were many soliders buried there among them 12 Canadians, 10 known and 2 unknown. It was a peaceful spot that is very well kept. We all said how moving we found it being there, it was well worth the stop. Now back to the hill towns. When you get to the top and walk through the center of the towns you find many small stores selling various wares and lots of cafes and restaurants. There are lots of cheese and meat shops too. The cheese that we have had so far has been superior to any I have bought back home - so fresh and flavourful! We have had a bit of rain this afternoon and are just chilling. Tonight we are going to bbq some steaks for dinner. Talk to you soon, M.
catch up with Stan's entries:
The Thursday Report From Rome:
OK; remember we said that we had purchased our Tour Tickets to travel to Pompeii, the town, (very large town) which was completely covered by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius about 40 or 50 B.C. (Please do not take my dates as accurate) I am typing this to convey the story, to convey the “journey”, rather than to give you total historical data).
Before we get there, just a bit of info. We rise about 05:30, walk to our pick-up point which is the base of the Spanish Steps; get picked up by a taxi and taken to the Bus point of departure; depart about 07:30. The Bus follows the major highway south which I believe our guide said was called “The Highway to The Sun”. Your typical 4 lane jobbies. The guide pointed out various points of interest including monasteries and the location of the 2nd WW Battle of Monte Casino. WE stop at the “normal” road stop (a la 401) for a snack and a pee!! The emphasis being on the “pee”!! Imagine just for a minute that 15 bus loads of tourist arrive at the same
location -- all wishing to use the toilet!!! Enough said!! Lol. On a more serious note, if there is one single shortcoming in Italy -- and by extension, Europe generally, it is the availability of toilet facilities. This is compounded by the presence of attendants endeavouring to get you to give them a tip for using the facility.
On the bus and we do the next leg, that being to Naples. We stop here to view the harbour and take some shots of the city. This is followed by a bus tour of Naples as we move toward Pompeii. Naples was not as attractive; more multiple unit dwellings with clothse hanging from the windows -- to dry. It was in Naples 52 years ago (my 1st trip with Howard Hillard >> Sam’s school teacher,) that the young man attempted to steal my camera by reaching through the car window and at that very instant, Howard who was driving, slammed his hand down on the arm of the young man. As a result I believe we still have that camera!!
To the story >> remember, we are on our way to Pompeii!! Lol WE lunch at the entrance to the actual
site. We then begin what is to be an astounding walk of some 3 hours. 3 hours walking through and reading about a town/city which went from Vibrant City to literally a Dead City in a very short time. Much of what constituted their life and life style has been revealed. The particular ash (and other volcanic materials) has preserved not only their artefacts but also their bodies in many cases. They have even been able to identify the plant life of that period and recreate it in the very same location. As one walks down their streets, the ruts of the chariots (wagons) are clearly evident; (about 3 to 4 cm deep in many instances); as the roads would have been wet, perhaps dirty when it rained, larger/higher stepping stones enabled them to cross the street without stepping on the mud/debris or whatever was in the street. Duct work existed in the walls; baths were heated centrally; and on and on and on. My point: there is ample evidence that these people lived a comfortable and enjoyable -- probably supplicated life. We have pix of their forum, their entertainment centre, an outdoor amphitheatre which has been restored to the point where they can now hold modern plays or concerts. It blows your mind.
The excavations began in the 17th century I believe. I could continue. It would be more useful if I had a pix to reference. ENOUGH ALREADY.
You have gathered that we (each of us) was impressed by our tour at Pompeii!! Wayne purchased a DVD c/w a colourful booklet. This will serve as a useful souvenir.
We arrived back in Rome about 21:00 on Thursday night. Walked from our drop off point to our apartment. Dinner was enjoyed!!
Stan, Dad; Gramps; 2007 09 16 08:30 local;
Your final Report from Rome Italy:
And just in case you have not been following, it is the Friday Report!! Friday the 14th of September, 2007.
We planned not to have an active day, given that we had been nothing but active since arrival. All slept in; Wayne and Michele paid a visit to the Train Station which was the point of pick up for our vehicle. This had been previously arranged for Saturday, the 15th but given our experience upon arrival we though greater clarification was indicated.
Lois and I had a slow and enjoyable morning >> Lois doing a bit of washing which turned out to be an extreme challenge as one had to decipher the Italian instructions on the washing machine??? As Lois had planned on “Eating In” for Friday night, we made a trip, short walk, to the grocery store and purchased the necessary ingredients along with some wine from the very Region of Italy where we will be spending the next week >> that being Tuscany. Not surprisingly the dinner was excellent!! Wayne and Michelle slipped out just prior to dinner and brought back some flowers as well as a “sexy pair” of Men’s Under shorts >>> I cannot be more descriptive than that because Leigha and Jenny will be reading this>>> lol JJ.
Following dinner we all went for a stroll to the Trevy (sp) Fountain >> man were there tourist in abundance. Got some good pix of Michele and Lois making their wish by throwing the coin over their shoulder into the fountain. WE then hiked over to the Spanish Steps which was equally busy. No doubt this was due to “day of the week” >> Friday. Talked with a lot of people who were following basically the same schedule as us >> I.e. going from Rome to Tuscany and then on to Venice!!!
ALL IS WELL!! Hope you are enjoying the blog. I am actually writing this on Sunday in Tuscany!! Tomorrow we begin our trip north to the province/district of Tuscany >> indeed a different life and life style.
Stan, Gramps, and Dad: 2007 09 16 17:32 local.
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