Sunday, 2 September 2012
We had set ourselves a very easy day on Saturday with a drive from the last stop of only about 90k. The roads were not the best and we decided early on to ignore the satnav and follow our noses to Poggibonsi where I knew there was a supermarket to get in provisions. When we arrived at the centre the rain lashed down but Mo and I had to brave it for a trip to a bar to use a loo - it would seem that Italy has changed to the extent that the toilets I've visited so far have all be usable and even good: when I was last here they bad were beyond description. What appears not to have changed is that public toilets are few and far between.
We arrived at the small township/large village of Radicondoli 6 k from our destination and found ourselves a place to eat. Highly recommended by a local gentleman we met who was from Australia but who lives in Italy for 6 months and Sidney for 6 months. The barman (and owner I think) spoke some English and was, by all accounts, very hospitable. We were received by a monosyllabic 'the dining room's closed' (it was after 2pm and there were people eating so I suppose they closed the kitchen at 2pm) with no hint of apology or alternative. It that was hospitable then I misunderstood the word. Anyway we did manage to get some pizza which we discovered lurking in the bar behind which he was standing. The bonus was that three pizzas and three coffees (served by an even more surly non-speaking girl) cost 7€. I have paid 5€ for a coffee in some places.
By 4pm we were parked in even more torrential rain outside the villain Belforte with no sign of anyone to let us in. Thank heaven for cellphones. I texted the owner in Siena who rang the caretaker in Radicondoli and then rang me. What a charming man and wife the caretakers were. He spoke French as a second language so that was useful as neither Mo, Diane nor I have particularly good Italian.
We emptied the car and set about settling in and waiting for the rest of the team to arrive from Australia and Canada via a day or two in Rome. No sign. 7.30 we left a note and went to the local pizzeria. Wonderful pasta and pizzas to die for with super friendly service. We'd been told that it was adequate and rustic so perhaps our international tastes are not as sophisticated as we thought.
Lots more photos of the village, villa and everywhere else will follow but in the meantime I'll leave you with the view from my bedroom last night:
and the view from the Pizzeria: