Let’s recap a little. We were a little jet lagged, so very tired and last night I kept waking up with the light on trying to work out why I had a IPad in my hands, only to realise I was writing the blog and had dozed off. It was only 10 pm. I’ll need to read it again and see what I need to edit out or embellish a bit today.
Cortona is beautiful, like stepping back into an old time Italian hill town village but without the poverty, brown shirted fascists and swill tipped on to the streets, but it now has wifi, a few tourists, cafes, and bed and breakfast establishments. The narrow cobblestone streets, the maze of alleys, the stonework and sculpted work in the walls, the stone steps up or down the hill that seem to go on forever maybe to some magical place where my crumbling knees can’t take me. The people here seem friendly as well. Yesterday we had a few arrogant lack of responses to enquires that you don’t usually associate with Italians, not so much here in Cortona, it’s small and personal. The old people ( probably our age ?) are still sitting with their walking sticks in Piaza dela Republica front of Molesini delicatesan watching the young people having a drink at a bar and the children playing, kicking soccer balls against a 1000 year old stone wall, and a classical guitarist playing on the steps of the town hall adds to the atmosphere.
Dinner last night was at Nessun Dorma, a place where Genelle and I were familiar with. The food was good, a great atmosphere downstairs where our table was in what must be carved into the hill, a great waiter ( an English woman who has been in Cortona 30 years). We were so tired, some worse than others, that Genelle nodded off a few times, her face nearly landing in her bowl of beetroot risotto, Andrew wasn’t nodding but his glass of wine missed his mouth as he lined it up to have a sip. Our interpreter, man of many languages ( allegedly) and known as Il Commando converted Italian into a hybrid mix of gay Oxford street ultra camp/ Italian/ Scottish mish mash of words. He left us confused and wondering if maybe the pursed lips and kiss blowing and the way he says “sweety” to Dave and Andrew isn’t something he feels a bit too comfortable with – just putting that out there.
Breakfast is downstairs at Dolce Maria, it’s a great spread, a very tasty damper and beautiful scrambled eggs, croissants, the man of the house, Paola’s husband does cappuchino’s, a great way to start the day. Dave finishes the eggs, he’s working hard to be Paola’s favourite, a real charm machine.
The upstairs meeting is to try and sort out. Final plan for the weeeks activities, it’s still not clear when we finish, but it looks like the Paris Peace Accord with peace being sorted. It’s does resolve itself after the women meet with our transport consultant.
A coffee on Piazza Della Republica then Dave and Ali split to walk for the day, John Andrew and myself go to the museum, then we split into different groups and John Sonya, Andrew and Jane walk to Santa Margherita, and Fortress Girafalco apparently at pace, Genelle and I head to the park for a walk towards Bremasole and back. We pull up short of the “Under Tuscan Sun” house because we can’t find it, no excuses our inbuilt gps isn’t working. However the walk in the park around the hill in the shade is very nice, nibbling on the grapes and peaches Genelle purchased this morning.
Our room is now looking like a Chinese laundry, smalls hanging up where we can fit them, shirts on a curtain rail. Our room looks a treat.
Dinner tonight is the official overseas birthday celebration of Genelle’s 60th Birthday, and we’re going to Trattoria Ambrosia, we went there last time so I hope it’s as good as it was 6 years ago. After drinks and nibbles at Maladetti Toscana, where our host demonstrate a good understanding of irony and sarcasm when he comments on Andrews new shoes. Andrew got some comfortable soft soled Italian shoes to replace the leather dress shoes and our host said if he wanted to feel Italian go back to the old shoes, needless to say Andrew feels a little dejected and then feels worse when our host refers to him as “Mario” because of the shoes – Andrew, from now and for the future will be known as Maria.
On to Ambrosia, a great atmosphere, the water is a spring running out of the wall to a glass covered pool with mock Etruscan jugs and vases. The food is pretty good, better than last night I think. Bits of extra are thrown in, all up a bill of $252 Euros for 8 people for food and drinks.
” Life is not all about money, if you like it buy it” who do you think said this? Dave Robson not Genelle.
Pencil pines are a good idea John
Ciao from Cortona