Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Still Catching Up...

Obligitory Ponte Vecchio Photo (to comply with Photo Cliche Police)

The gods of the internet are proving somewhat capricious at the moment. I’m unable to make contact or upload pix to my photobucket account. Until I do you’ll have to content yourself with words only… if I can get on line long enough to post them. I’m a bit too far from the node to get any consistent link to the web unless I sit outside the office.
I took Tuesday off to post as much as I could (when I had access) and scale some photos for you all to see. I did get into Firenze, briefly to go to Fort Belvedere, it was closed in memorium to a careless young woman who fell from the battlements last year (I hear it’s a bit dangerous there). On the way, I passed Piazza Michelangelo where the bronze of David hangs out. I think the marble one was moved indoors a number of years ago. It’s… just… there. I mean ya come around a corner and there he is… larger than life! Inconceivable! I stopped on the way back, not for the statue, but for the view…….. yeah… it’s that good. Of course it’s photographic cliché… naturally I took as many shots as I thought I needed from various locations there anyway. Who am I to break with tradition? At least I hope the continuing weather issue provides my shots with a mysterious moodiness the picture post cards won’t.
Sitting under cover (it was bucketing down rain… again) with tuna and pickled onion on ciabatta sandwich in hand I tried with my terrible Italian to ask stall owner about the weather. Fortunately we were able to communicate (he had some English I enough phrasebook Italian). He told me this has been the worst period of rain in Italy for years. They get just a few days of sun then a bunch of days of rain and it’s been like this since the beginning of the year. I told him I was used to the weather coming from Oregon, but I would like some sun so I could get some decent photos to take home. At least everything is seriously green. Hmmm, `wonder what this will do for the 2010 vintage come fall? Hopefully things will dry up soon. Grapes need to struggle to make great wine.

I got back to my room feeling a bit punchy (I must try to remember not to keep pace with the British when drinking) so I took a nap before dinner… which I had here at the agritourismo’s own trattoria. Primi was Tagliatelli in a wild boar gravy (truly breath taking), Secondi was roasted bunny in olive oil, garlic, sage and rosemary with roast potatoes (a little dry but with great flavor). I washed it down with Inalbi’s chianti (no fava beans). I opted not for desert… getting too much of that lately. The waiter comped me a glass of the local grappa. I usually think the stuff tastes like paint thinner, but this was reasonably okay. Instead of what I associate with grappa, raw alcohol and resin flavor (kind of like drinking a file) I got a bit of raisin along with all the octane. It’s still not a favorite, but somewhere there’s gotta be a better grappa that's a work of art… I’ll keep trying for all your sakes!

Victory at the Laundromat.
Over breakfast this morning (Wednesday) I plotted out with Rick Steves (well his phrase book anyway) what I needed to say to get my dirty clothes done. `Wrote it all out then went into Impruneta to the self serve “washateria”. As it worked out I didn’t need to stress. No one was home… but the instructions were very clear. I dumped my stuff in the Speed Queen (no lie) paid at the cash point, got soap and bingo – bango the job was done! It only took about an hour (note to self: do not try parking on the really narrow street… don’t ask).

This afternoon I drove down to Cortona. It’s one of those famous Tuscan hill towns and it’s gorgeous. There’s lots of climbing to do. I took lots of pix despite the rain showers that moped about in the area. It was something of a long drive (about an hour) so instead of sampling some Super Tuscan wine (no designated driver), I had some excellent chocolate and mint gelato at “Gelateria Snoopy” in the town square. Then I visited the Etruscan exhibit in the museum there. I also spent some time talking with Antonio, while I browsed in his beautiful ceramics shop. We compared notes about how small the world is, family (do you sense a pattern here?) and a mutual love… Frank Zappa. Getting back to Firenze was a bit of a nightmare on the A1. Once back I put together what you’re reading. Then it was off to dinner. The Trattoria here was closed, so I hit the Garmin and picked something not too far away. The San Martino was just over 7 clicks and specializes in sea food. Primi was scallops broiled on the half shell with porcini mushies, butter, garlic and bread crumbs. Secondi was grilled squid served with lemon, endive, tomato grilled zucchini and potato. All served with a very nice house white wine. They talked me into desert… a lemon sherbet topped with raspberry salsa. Yum!


  1. Glad to hear you are having a great time despite the weather Greg.
    How the hell did you get a ceramics shop owner onto the subject of Frank Zappa?????????????

    As for this:
    "...somewhere there’s gotta be a better grappa that's a work of art..."

    Don't hold your breath! OR try too long - that stuff is more toxic than an oil spill ;)
    Rumour has it that Michelangelo invented it to help clean mistakes in his paintings.

  2. Your posts about the food are making me real hungry...Roast Boar Gravy? I'm drooling.

  3. Geep!

    I just tuned in after not following for several days. Wonderful. Hope you weather has improved but your adventure sounds like a dream so far. I think put on a pound just from the reading. Safe travels and take care.