A Happy Bunny

October 5, 2008

I’m back and in more ways than one!

My heart sank when we arrived at Rome airport in the lashing rain but within a few hours, the skies had turned blue and that’s the way it stayed for our 10 glorious days in Tuscany.  We’d been lent a little house in a tiny hillside village in southern Tuscany where nobody spoke a word of English.  It was like a dream come true.

Our house was part of a terrace of houses where the few neighbours were all elderly Italians who I imagine, had lived in this little community all their lives.  It was located down a narrow alleyway, only a few steps away from the village square.  We were within easy reach of the bakery, the grocer and more importantly, the local pizzeria where we spent many a happy hour. The house was perfect for all our needs. It was owned by an elderly artist and every available inch of wall space was covered by her beautiful paintings.  The house had it’s own private little garden at the back and beyond that, there was nothing but rolling hills.  We woke each morning to the sound of the local cock-a-doodle-do!

The olives groves are harvested in October. Our little back garden contained one olive tree as well as a beautiful fig tree, a lemon and an orange tree, all of which bore fruit.  We ate breakfast in the garden every morning in the company of numerous lizards and on one occasion, a grass snake.

Surrounding countryside.

The warm mineral-rich water of the volcanic sulphur springs was only a few kilometres from the town. And yes, I did try it but once was enough as the smell of rotten eggs was overpowering.

Our lunches invariably consisted of a variety of salami’s, cheeses, fresh plums and nectarines and lots of the local grape.

The local vines were ready for harvesting. When my hubby returned to this spot a few days later to take some more pictures, these grapes had all been picked. September is a busy time in Tuscany.

The elaborate façade of the Gothic Duomo at the Piazza del Campo in Siena.  We spent a lovely day roaming the medieval streets of the city but sadly, our visit did not coincide with the Palio, the famous horse race through the streets of Siena.

Our day trip to Rome included…

The Colosseum…

The beautiful roof of the Basilica in the Vatican City…

And a passing tourist kindly took this shot of us in St. Peter’s Square. Somehow she managed to make it look as if we had the place to ourselves but in reality, it was absolutely milling with tourists.

So that’s it!  Hope you enjoyed the pics (courtesy of my hubby, Jaimie). All in all, we had an absolutely brilliant time except for one little set-back. A day or two before the end of the holiday, I developed an infection in my forehead. I flew home on strong painkillers, foolishly believing that the infection would clear of it’s own accord.  It didn’t and I’ve been struggling with severe headaches ever since I got home. I finally got sense on Friday and started a powerful antibiotic and today Hey Presto! the headache has lifted.  Now I really am a happy bunny!

Mamma Mia

September 18, 2008

That’s it! I’m off! I’ve had enough of this rain.  This time tomorrow, I shall be winging my way to sunnier climes for a real taste of summer. Think rolling hills clad in grape vines, topped by castles, and dotted with countryside trattorie serving handmade pasta with porcini mushrooms, aubergine parmigiana accompanied by gallons of Chianti, and you’ve got the picture.

Last May, when a work colleague of my hubby offered to lend us her little place in the southern hills of Tuscany, we certainly didn’t hesitate and immediately booked flights.  We opted to enjoy an Irish summer first and wait until September for a taste of Italy.  Of course, we didn’t know then what we know now. Our pre-booked holiday has turned out to be the only ray of sunshine in an otherwise dull and wet summer.

We’ve no idea what we’ll face when we reach our holiday destination.  The owner who lives in Switzerland, has simply told us where to pick up the key and to make sure we tip the ‘Mamma Mia’ who’ll have the place aired and ready for our arrival. The only description we’ve been given is that it’s rustic.  We can only hope that her definition of rustic is the same as ours! The area we’re staying in is famous for it’s hot sulphur springs (health spas) and mosquitoes!

I’ll have access to a laptop on holiday but I doubt I’ll write any posts as I hope to be too busy sipping wine while basking in the sunshine. It’s okay, you’re allowed to hate me! Roaming charges are likely to be high but it won’t stop me peeking at a few blogs from time to time to keep an eye on you all.  Now, I’d better get packing if I’m gonna catch that flight. I’ll be back on 30 September so be good in the meantime, and keep well.