Days 118 – 119: Hills and onto Pisa

118 – Saturday 15.08:  High on Hills

Some of our Clune Reunion group were departing today, so our numbers were somewhat depleted and they missed one of the best days out.

A slight delay as the coach had a flat and the driver had to fetch a different coach.

Relaxing at the hotel until the coach arrived

Relaxing at the hotel until the coach arrived

Our first stop was San Gimignano where we had free time to wander and have a coffee (wine in J’s case … the local Chianti was begging to be tasted!).  The town has about 11 remaining towers and the view on the approach was stunning.  Lovely mellow stone and squares.  Views from every side.  As it was the Feast of the Assumption, it was brimming with people and cars trying to park … again we will come back out of season.

Distinctive towers of San Gimignano

Distinctive towers of San Gimignano

Views ... and James

Views … and James

Views and Katherine

Views … and Katherine

Typical square

Typical square … mellow stone

We then boarded the coach to go to a Chianti organic winery for lunch.  We were sort of wondering why leave San Gimignano, as it was so pretty … until we got to the winery.  The view looking back to San Gimignano from the luncheon terrace …

View back to San Gimignano

View back to San Gimignano.  The landscape all around the hill towns was what people think of for Tuscany … small hills, farm houses atop with patchwork fields and cypress trees.

Cool terrace for lunch with regular sprayed mist to cool us

Cool terrace for lunch with regular sprayed mist to cool us.  We saw the white cattle our slithers of succulent beef came from and drank the local wine.

After lunch we drove to Volterra, another hill town.  Our guide explained about the Etruscans and we touched an upturned road sign cut in half from 2BC.  The pix can do the talking.

The Church with Florentine shields, as Volterra was captured after a bloody battle.

The Church with Florentine shields, as Volterra was captured after a bloody battle.

Shell fossils in the walkways dating back goodness knows how many years.

Shell fossils in the walkways dating back goodness knows how many years.

The Etruscan Gate, which was supposed t be destroyed by the Germans to halt the advancing Allies. The towns folk pleased to save it. The mainly old, women and children were given 24 hours to fill it with stones and rocks ... they did.

The Etruscan Gate, which was supposed to be destroyed by the Germans to halt the advancing Allies. The towns folk pleaded to save it. The mainly old, women and children were given 24 hours to fill it with stones and rocks … they did.

Check out the rain capes and ponchos ... the odd heavy shower.

Check out the rain capes and ponchos … the odd heavy shower.

Our smaller group as some more had left for the airport after lunch.

Our smaller group as some more had left for the airport after lunch.  Again superb views all around.

Views!

Views!  Spot the chap airing himself!

More views...

More views…  we noticed the fields were a lot more parched here compared to the valley plains of Lucca to Florence.

Being the Feast Day, there was a Medieval precession ... we just caught it.

Being the Feast Day, there was a Medieval precession … we just caught it.

Volterra is known for its alabaster ... apparently it is soft compared to marble and can be carved suing wood working tools. It just glowed when back lit. A few of the windows in the Church had been filled with the opaque marble, which glowed and still let in some light.

Volterra is known for its alabaster … apparently it is soft compared to marble and can be carved using wood working tools. It just glowed when back lit. A few of the windows in the Church had been filled with the opaque marble, which glowed and still let in some light.

We were running late back to the hotel for supper and delayed further as the Carabinieri decided to pull our driver over.  Thankfully, we all had the sense not to whip out cameras thus antagonising the policemen and the driver was super calm.  After 10 minutes of checking the drivers papers … incident free in 30 years of driving professionally we were allowed on our way.  Ironically, our guide had just explained about Italian driving licences and the points system.

Back at the hotel and our last 4 course meal.  Cake for David, whose birthday was tomorrow.

 

119 – Sunday 16.08:  Back into Chardonnay … Home

We were the last of the Clune Reunion to leave and it was very strange not constantly bumping into family as we moved around the hotel.   It is an amazing and generous gift Michael has given us all.  Creating wonderful memories.

We collected Chardonnay and checked out.   The staff were most helpful and checked that the big supermarket was open and gave us directions.

The iperCoop was overflowing with people.  It was like they had emptied their cupboards yesterday with the Feast Day and needed to replenish.  J stayed in Chard and did some unpacking.  K braved the masses and food and booze shopped.  Mindful of the volume and rich food we have been consuming, K set up the slow cooker with soya and dried veg for a bolognese!

Sally Sat Nav set for Pisa, just over an hour away.  Whilst we usually shun campsites unless we have company, we were so weary after the week of festivities that we decided to set up camp for the two nights … Maddy joins us 🙂 on Monday evening.  we erected Maddy’s tent, did laundry and had a quick swim.  We were NOT late to bed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Days 118 – 119: Hills and onto Pisa

  1. We found the iperCoop during the week with Thomas and I meant to tell you about the value, particularly the water! Glad you got there. Love this blog ! Don’t know what I’ll do when it ends Katherine. Makes me feel closer to you both.xxxxxxx

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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    • We love our travels so much … No intention of stopping. And the blog allows us to reflect and digest what we have done so we will keep it going. The fruit and veg at the coop was stunning and do fresh. Nothing like home

      Like

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