Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Adventure in Italy

My wife and I have finally decompressed from our two week trip to Tuscany. It was a great trip, with lots of wonderful scenery, food, art and yes wine. We spent a couple days at a 14th century farm house living with an extended Italian family while we learned some traditional Italian cooking. It was called Toscano Mia and was located in a small village near Gaiole in Chianti and our hosts were sisters Simonetta and Paola de Mari. We were joined at meals by Paola's husband and two daughters and the sister's father. It was quite an adventure since Simonetta and Paola were the only English speaker in the family. They grew most all of the produce used in the kitchen and even grew their own olives which they had pressed into olive oil for their own use. Each day started with breakfast and then Jan and I would take a short walk while preparations were made for that days class. Each day we had another couple join us for class. The first day was a mother and daughter from the states and the second day it was a globe trotting Australian couple on vacation. Both experience were delightful. After lunch Paola took us into several nearby towns and we did a little touring. Our bed room was on the top floor in what had been a tower until a conquering warlord took off about 15 to 20 feet for greater security, it still had a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside which was a patchwork of Olive trees grape vine and forest. We sincerely appreciate the thoughtful conversations we had with Paola and Simonetta well into each of the evenings we were there despite the mounds of dishes that had too be washed before the next day as well as the preparations for the next day's class. This was a wonderful introduction to Italy for both Jan and myself. I will write about the rest of the vacation in following instalments.

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