It was decided that San Gimignano was to be the first on our list of places to visit. Since the tour buses start rolling in about mid-morning we got an early start and drove the short distance there.
Already the parking lots were filling. However we found some near the back of the town that were still almost empty and off we went. It was quiet and deserted of tourists (well, not counting ourselves). Locals going about their daily business. Ladies hanging out their washing on lines outside the second story of the building.
We wandered up the road (and I mean ‘up’) and onto one main road, soaking in the ambiance. Really, they look like walkways and are treated as such by tourists until a small bus or other vehicle needs to get by.
By the time we reached the main piazza it was busy. Tour guides holding up their flower, umbrella or other item to be seen by their group, were beginning to fill the area. We wandered the shops looking at wine and leather purses. Where else would both be next to one another but here?!
There is a different feeling when visiting a place that has been inhabited by one group or another for almost 2,500 years. A serenity (when not surrounded by hordes of tourists) and a connection to the land that is impossible to feel in N. America, unless of course your heritage is First Nations. (N. American Indian tribe)
Things are built here to last. Not for a few years, or even a decade or two but generations……. Solid and strong and not competing with the land when in your sight line, but fitting in, like it belongs.
There was a scenic observation area we turned onto and found a lovely spot to take pictures while a harpist entertained us with soothing notes.
We succumbed to culture, and really it was not a hardship, by stopping for cappuccino. Russ and Annette managed to keep some self control and did not order anything else. Ken had a donut…. Any surprise? I saw a wonderful pastry with dark chocolate and custard filling…. And succumb I did….Heaven!
Some more wandering and window shopping (saw a purse in that lovely floral you bought Cindy). Then we decided it was time to leave and head back to our quiet retreat and have Mediterranean siesta.
We stopped along the way for sugar which we forgot on our previous visit to the grocery store. Of course sugar was not the only thing we bought since good prices were found at the PAM superstore in Poggabonse. Certain favourite “liquid sustenance’ was procured for indecently cheap prices so the males in our party were quite excited. 😊
We were intending to go into Tavernelle and have pizza for dinner, however at the grocery store Ken found Florentine steak!! On the website for our accommodation it said there was a grill to use. We had not found one so far so Annette used her wonderful translation app to ask our hostess, Gabrielle, if there was one. Sure enough, we were ushered around the back of the house to a shed style room where the grill was. It was rather old and rusted but it did the job and florentine steak we had!
Our only problem is that our travel mates like their steak medium-well..to well done!! Anyone who knows Ken understands it does not compute to cook a steak that way. He will have to cook the second one (yes of course he bought 2!) in two stages.
The cooked pics will have to wait as Annette took them and we are having trouble making the wifi work with her camera in this place……
We are winding down now… Wine and steak and wandering a Tuscan hill town taking their toll. Certain people are hoping we will regain a little energy for a card game before we retire for the night.