Month: July 2013

Nude & Food

Nude & Food Florence, Italy Florence, Italy Today we are doing something different and taking a food tour, “nude & food” so called ‘cos we meet at the Galleria dell’ Accademia which houses “David”. Everyone’s seen pictures of Michelangelo’s statue of a nude David, slingshot ready to slay Goliath, but until you see him in the flesh, or should I say ‘marble’, it’s not hard to see why everyone loves this iconic piece of art. He is 17 feet tall, standing on a platform 6ft high, so he is very imposing. The girls seem to be quite enamoured by his…um, his…. physique!?? The tour group comprises 12 intrepid souls from Canada, USA, Russia, England and Australia, plus our wonderful guide, Sam. Sam is a native Florentine married to a Kiwi, so there goes half the joke package! As long as we don’t have to try any Sauv Blanc! The tour was terrific, lots of laughs, good conversation, and plenty of great food and wine. We started at David, then headed off for coffee and pastries …

Damn sunglasses!

Florence, Italy Florence. Time to pack up and leave our lodgings in Cavriglia for Florence, but not before another visit to our new favourite butcher in Greve. On the way to said slaughter house we bypassed to the tiny hamlet of Volpaia, an 11th century fortress town high in the hills of Chianti. Lovely town, but our bovine shop awaits As I navigated our journey through the winding roads of the Chianti, my brand new mirrored sunglasses just snapped at the bottom of the rim. Devastated, cannot believe a €30 pair of sunglasses only lasted a week. Obviously too aggressive on the corners with my driving. Time for a decent pair, as these cheap sunnies are starting to add up!! I digress, our old friend Cleve recommended checking put the dried pigs penis riding stock at the butchers, who could resist? But sadly we could not find one! Seriously, this shop is so great it was sad to have to head off to Florence, but head off we did, sans GPS. Eventually we had to …

Another hot day…

Tuscany, Italy Another hot day in the Tuscan sun that started with a run up and down the hills in searing heat. Straight into the swimming pool after the run so as to avoid heat exhaustion, and to give the body a jolt back to normalcy. With that done we got ourselves ready and headed into Siena. This town is a lot bigger than we had anticipated, and being amongst the tourist groups again, was an indication of what crowds we were in for. Grabbed a copy of the local map, which of course set us back €1, nothing for free when tourists are involved, and set off to explore Siena. The map was a relic of ye olde days and looked like it had been drawn using crayons, but managed to get us through. The main road Banchi Di Sotto, was packed with tourists and lined with the ever increasing popular souvenir shops, suffice to say this was going to be a quick visit for Hughy and I. We walked to the local Duomo …

Under a Hot Tuscan Sun

Tuscany, Italy Ah, the serenity. After what seems like weeks, actually it is weeks, we finally have the sounds of silence. No traffic, garbo’s at dawn, drunken yobbo’s, crowds…..did I mention traffic? Tuscany, quiet, peaceful….and a pool! Have I talked about the heat? Hot! 32-34 every day lately, and humid. Sweat city. We haven’t mentioned breakfast much, but our morning diet lately has consisted of bakery/cake/bakery/bread…repeat! This morning we had muesli. Muesli, with MILK! Thank God for self contained accommodation. We got a few tips from people, thank you, and after getting provisions for dinner (i.e. beer!) we headed off to the Chianti region and a few reds. First stop Greve in Chianti, yes GPS that is GREVE in Chianti…..GREVE, not San Polo!! Nice place San Polo, just not Greve, and 20 minutes further away. We reach Greve in Chianti, and a lovely place it is. We wander around the main piazza looking at the shops, checking out the tourism info joint, enjoying the sunshine, and come across the most incredible shop we have ever …

Hello Tuscany

Tuscany, Italy This morning we woke to the remnants of the previous days storm, with a hazy cloud cover over Assisi. As now was not the time for panoramic photos of the city, we headed to brekky followed by a walk into the centre, all up hill of course, for a coffee overlooking the Basilica of St Francis. By 9.30 the cloud began to disappear and we made our way to Rocca Maggiore……or so we thought. Following the map we headed down a path that we believed was leading us to this medieval building, before deciding it was actually leading us up the ‘garden path’. Back tracking down from whence we came, we asked for directions before heading off on a different path, through the city lane ways of Assisi, before finally coming across the Rocca Maggiore, but not before drowning in a sea of sweat. Parting with our standard €5 we entered the medieval building which was erected as a German feudal castle in 1174. During a popular rising the Duke Conrad of Lutzen …

St Francis of Assisi ( patron saint of animals )

Assisi, Italy Up early for a run before brekky and a quick macchiato before catching a cab to our hire car and heading off to Assisi. Hugh was a true expert at the wheel, he has got this driving caper down pat. The drive was simple enough, managed to avoid the tolls and arrived in Assisi around 2.30pm. Disappointing news upon arrival, Beerock was 6kms from where we were staying which meant someone had to drive, so the idea was quickly ditched and Assisi it was for the night. Views of this beautiful town from afar looked amazing and we were not disappointed upon arrival. Managed to find a park near the Hotel, quickly grabbed our 20kg luggage before the rain clouds closed in and a heavy downpour ensued. The welcome relief from the heat was greatly appreciated, it was a strange feeling to actually feel coolness instead of stifling heat. Once the rain had passed after half an hour we headed out to explore Assisi. We took in the Basilica of St Clare, which …

Gnocchi, gnocchi, gnocchi

Rome, Italy Our last full day in Rome, so we needed to push on and see as much as possible. Another hot and humid day awaited, so yesterday’s extravaganza that was the laundry Nonna, will be put to the test. We had pre-booked tickets to the Galleria Borghese, and trudged up the steps and through the beautiful gardens of villa Borghese to the museum. There goes a litre of sweat! The Galleria only allows 200 people per two hour time slot so as not to overcrowd the experience, and it worked well. The sculptures, especially by Bernini, were absolutely awesome. I never thought I’d like marble statues as much as I did…the detail was amazing. Two hours went by pretty quickly and we headed back down the hill to our studio, past the trinket sellers, and the umbrella Sellers, and the water sellers….till we got to the end of the gardens, with a lovely view over Piazza Popolo. The view was great, but not nearly as wonderful as the stirring rendition of a famous Bob …