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Published: July 19th 2011
It is cooler in the mornings and evenings here in the hills. It doesn't stay cool for long though! We opened the heavy wooden shutters and doors this morning to brilliant sunshine. I like the design of the shutters - no light at all makes its way through them and we are free to sleep until we are ready to wake up.
The plan to drive to San Gimignano for the day got us all moving again, and we set off for the hilltop village, which is about 30 minutes from Asciano if you drive like an Italian. We didn't, and arrived alive 45 minutes after setting off. Whatever the i-pad lacks in photo uploading ability, it is great when it comes to maps. Astrid and Steve met us in Asciano about an hour after we had left and told a hilarious story of dirt goat tracks and circular routes set out by their Tom Tom.
While we were waiting for them, Frank and I stumbled on a supermarket which was open until lunch time, so decided to buy an insulated bag and stock up on dinner supplies. Who should we bump into, but Chris Collins and her family
Salumeria, San Gimignano
We could have bought everything from the hog's head to a sow's ear. I was very tempted to see how customs would handle the huge leg of prosciutto but Frank talked me out of it! We settled for a piece.
from Sandringham. Jackson is in Isabel's grade 6 class, and is also Hugo's buddy. It was lovely to exchange stories, and we hope to catch up for a glass of chianti soon.
We felt we had stepped back in time as we walked through the stone archway at the entry to the town. It is famous for all it's towers - apparently the higher your tower, the higher your social position and the better you felt about yourself. It was kind of like a medieval sports car thing for the rich men.
There were magnificent enotecas and macellerias, and as it happened, we had come on a festival day. Lots of locals wandered around in medieval costumes, and we particularly liked the huntsmens' fur pelts, horns and weapons. Everyone was hungry, so we found a restaurant with a terrace and ate well again! Frank and Steve tried the specialty of the area - wild boar - braised in a fantastic gravy which we all agreed would be great with pasta. Everyone tastes everything when we go out to eat, and it feels like a party. The children have been fascinated with all the lizards we see and they
kept them amused while we waited for our food.
After lunch it was ice-cream time, and it was magnificent as usual. There were endless shops down laneways which we had very little time to explore, but we did try. The boys found a shop which sold tiny knight figures, but they were not in their price range as you'll see from the photos! The girls loved the marble eggs and so did I, but I couldn't see us getting them home in our luggage! They settled for a marble souvenir each and Beckett found a sword and shield which was perfect for him.
Just as the dads were tiring of the shops and everyone was ready to go home, we got a real treat - the most amazing parade began to make it's way down the narrow street, complete with trumpet fanfare, drums, flag gymnastics and horses. The costumes were really detailed and all the townspeople took such pride in what they did in the parade. I particularly liked the flag throwers and the drummers - even little boys drummed along with their dads. Knights and ladies rode huge horses, and towards the end of the parade, a
The boys and the knight
They loved his armour and wondered if it might fit them?
white ox appeared, pulling a cart with a young girl dressed in white on top, and children and flowers surrounding her. They threw wheat and flowers to all the children they passed. I took masses of photographs, have a look at the bottom of the blog if you dare!
I was amazed that when we got home the children still wanted to swim (the parents were exhausted!), but it was warm enough and light enough, so off they went. We sat and watched the sun go down over the hills, which put a golden light on everything. It was a wonderful end to a great day.
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