Today was excursion day. Some crazy Italian bus driver made it up the hill to pick us up (yes, when I say crazy I mean it- you haven't seen the driveway). We started the day by going to a very old town, Angioletta. It was market day and when we arrived, the vendors were just setting up their stalls. To get to the market, you had to walk down, down, down a road that dropped straight off the side of a hill. What is it with the Italians and these hill towns? You could see for miles and miles across the Tuscan countryside. Before we went to the market, we went to a textile factory that makes beautiful linens and fabrics. We got a tour of the factory and got to see how they made the fabrics- it was fascinating. The fabrics were both plain and ornate, simple and wildly complex. I wanted to buy a tablecloth, but one that fit my dining room table was almost 300 euros (about 375.00). Sorry, not going there. I did take a brochure and may order some material to make the tablecloth myself when I get home.
After that, we toured the town. It was built in the 1200's. Every corner you turned it was like "Hello! Gorgeous! Wish you were here!" Brian took hundreds of pictures (some of which we will load on the website later.). Our plan is to make a collage of the doorways- they were infinetely varied and full of character.
After the town, we went to an olive oil mill for a tasting and lunch. The mill owner was a fascinating character- really, I was expecting him to start doing ballet and breaking into arias- and he was passionate about his product and the process of making oil. After the tour, we went to his parent's house (read estate) and they had set long tables in the courtyard for us so we could have lunch. Under the shade of enormous fig trees we had a four course lunch ( I know, just roll me home at the end of this vacation) complete with wines and different bottles of flavored oils to try. At a separate table on the other side of the coutyard, his family was having their noon day meal. Dogs children and workers carried on loud conversations all at the same time. Brian and I were just looking at each other and saying "does it get any better than this?" Which made me realize- this is bliss.
We then went to a goat cheese farm and did a tasting. After 3 hours under the shade of the figs with the oil merchant's family, we were all beginnig to fade. We were supposed to go to a winery for a wine tasing, but the group decided we had experienced enough for one day.
We came back hot, tired and sweaty. A bunch of us decided to get glasses of wine and jump in the pool. The sun was starting to set over the Tuscan hillside- everything was basking in a golden glow. As I sat floating in the pool, glass of wine on the edge and listened to the laughing and joking of our new friends, I realized that perpetual bliss is a state of mind. May it never end.