Day 12 – Rome to Cortona in Tuscany

Today is Monday.

Last night’s dinner was great, another restaurant, great food and good company. The restaurant had some musicians playing in the alley, I guess cost shared by the 4 or 4 other restaurants. There are 2 guitars and a beautiful gypsy waif dancing seductively shaking a tambourine. They play, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, Santana, the Eagles, the lead guitar plays finger style like Mark Knopfler, he’s very clever, his voice though is a bit non descript like Knopfler as well, not in a bad way but not a strong big voice. We could stay all night but we don’t. The woman sitting next to us is from Brisbane, a Virgin hostee, sorry steward, and a real estate agent, her father is Italian so she’s visiting family. She loves this part of Rome because it’s so lively, I must say I agree with her.

A gellato then home for a cupof tea, preliminary pack ready for our 6:15 pick up.

Ok now to today, which is Mond. It’s a bit eiry (sic) on the dark quiet streets of Rome as the €50 black Mercedes van whisks us the Termini train station. The train to  Cortona is on platform Est 2, not easy to work out where that is, the Trenitalia staff are not that helpful then we find one that is, so then we  make the long trek to the rattler train taking the back track to Florence.

We find there aren’t many people on the train, thats good, so after fanging along at up to 160 km/hour we get to Cortona a few minutes late. Enzo, our van driver, and possibly related to Enzo Ferrari by the way he drives, meets us and gets us to run, he’s late for his next job, and tears up the hill and drops us in Piazza Della Republica right near our accomodation the Hotel Italia. The lady at reception is nice but vague, our rooms change a few times, but when we get to them they are quiet nice. Paul & Liz have a great view over the Tuscan Valley towards Lago Tresimeno.

Paul and I go and pick up our little Citroen Clio, a little blue speed machine. The walk down and up takes a bit of energy even with the elevators.

Breakfast is up in the next piazza, pastry and coffee.

Now I still find it hard to comprehend that you can be on the other side of the world and run into somebody you know, even though initially you don’t recognise the face. Well that happened today. The Aussie in the black Kathmandu puffer vest behind us leans over and says( he’s clearly and Aussie) and the discussion goes something  lije this – ” where are you from?” , Answer ” Dubbo, where are you from?” The answer ” Adelaide but I used to live in Orange” , I say ” we used to live in Orange, played a bit of rugby, then came to Dubbo”, ” who did you play with?” , ” Orange City” I replied, he said ” Unbelievable, I played for Orange City, when did you play?” , Answer ” Late 70s”, ” what’s your name?…… and so on…… Anyway between 1977 and I think 1980 I played rugby with Orange City and it was a great club, I played with well administered club with a great bunch of blokes and women involved in the club.

Oh I forgot to tell you, his name was Ian Dixon (aka “Dog”), a master of the dark arts of the scrum and he’s here in Cortona with Deb (his wife) for three months. He tells me another of our team mates Ian Sinclair (aka “Stinky” – can’t explain why?) lives about two hours from here. Anyway lucky buggers spending time and living here in Italy.

We do an orientation walk with the Murphy’s, then lunch, we walk some more, find an artist who does exquisite, fine pen and ink drawings, the originals would need both my kidneys to pay for one, and the numbered prints are way cheaper but still worth a few €’s. Wandering the streets of Cortona is so nice and such a good way to pass the time.

Drinks in the Piazza is at 6pm, a few beers aperitifs before we walk to Dolce Maria for one of Paola’s dinners. The food is great but takes a long time to arrive, the two nurses misbehave with a little cooee noise from the balcony higher up. Bloody nurses and their party party party! It’s about 11:30pm when we get to bed.

Ciao from Cortona – Pauolo


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