Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Italy, Part 1

After a busy early spring season getting ready for Sheep & Wool Fest, then a very busy 2 days at the fest, I drove my trailer and truck into my side field, walked into the house, had some wine, went to bed, got up in the morning and packed for Italy. 

It wasn't the perfect timing for my first trip to Italy, but Houston had a conference near Florence and I was determined to go this time as I had missed out on 3 previous trips. Above is the very vacant Frankfurt airport lounge. It was 6 in the morning, so no one was relaxing is these very comfortable seats.

I arrived in early morning, caught a bus to the resort where the conference was held, just 10 miles south of Florence. Most folks would think the bus ride scary, but I was thrilled with the twisty turny, stone fenced narrow roads, with cars coming towards you at great speeds.

The views were magnificent.

Once there, I kept falling into bed. I'm not a napper but that bed was calling out to me. After a restful nap of an hour, I got up and went to see what the countryside offered. Houston was busy with cavity ring down sciency stuff so I took off for the hills. 

I hiked to a local monastery, where they still make wine.

Ancient car ports

. Monks still live here, although I didn't see any. This monastery wasn't very welcoming because I don't think it's really open for viewing. They are here to work, not see tourists, so I just walked quietly around, trying not to stand out too much in my American running shoes.

But most of my time was spent eating and relaxing at the resort. It was not an overly fancy resort which was just fine by me. They had great food, even better wine, and I had to appear smart talking to a heap of scientists about climate change. 

And here is where I sat knitting, reading and listening to the great music they had piped in. I was impressed with their indie artist selection.

In the evenings, they bussed us to Florence (yay more bus rides!) to wine and dine us at two different villas.

The food was over the top and wine non stop. 

The view wasn't too shabby either.

Villa 1

Villa 2

Beautiful gardens

and a final walk back to the buses. 

One of the days, we were taken to Florence for a walking tour in the heart of Florence. The theme was mostly about Dante, with the famous statues and landmarks thrown in.
Our tour guide was a very nice man, but my eyes glaze over and my mind starts to wander when they're pointing out important landmarks and interesting details, in this case, Dante.

So I distracted by the shop windows we were passing at a very quick clip. 
Loved this 'dress' made of various types of fabric.

and this picture frame shop

and who wouldn't swoon over these delectables?!

or marvel at all this color?

I got a chuckle out of this retro ad for men's wear. LOVE the 'man' purse!

 Statues aplenty

and ornate buildings with over the top embellishments.

But I like the quirky. This was a very ingenious way to store a bike.


Beezus said...

I went through the Frankfurt airport when I went to Egypt four years ago. It was much the same then. On the way back, they were very interested in my camera and lenses. I was very worried they might keep it because they thought it was a bomb or something, but I found out later it had something to do with people constantly trying to get out of import taxes and duties.

You took some beautiful photos of your trip! So glad you got to go.

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