1 EAGLETON NOTES: Arrival in Belforte

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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Arrival in Belforte

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:


21 comments:

  1. I hope that cloud was the torrential rain leaving, and not another one coming in. The view looks lovely. I wish you a wonderful time!

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    1. It was both Monica. The showers came through with remarkable speed.

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    1. Thanks Fiona. Good so far even though the weather's been pretty bad.

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  3. Wow! What beautiful scenery! The sunset is spectacular...

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    1. Thanks Carol. It is beautiful. It's a shame I can't see it at the moment (Monday morning) because of the mist and rain.

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  4. oh Graham, this is divine. I wish I were there, on that terrace, looking out over that perfect valley... Enjoy!

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    1. It's about as good as it gets Yvonne and we could have that conversation with some coffee/wine (delete as appropriate) that we've been going to have for years.

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  5. I can't think of any Council-provided public toilets on Merseyside apart from one at West Kirby station so Italy is not alone in having no public loos!

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    1. I rarely have to use them on Merseyside because of cafes and so on but I'm so used to places in New Zealand where every town and village is resplendent with public loos and they are usually excellent. Thinking about it most of the public loos I can recall in Glasgow are not Council provided either.

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  6. I'm happy that you have arrived safely at your destination.
    Loved the spectacular photos of the countryside...so peaceful...I can't imagine getting any work done in a setting like that (except writing a book or painting the scenery itself)
    Rustic (vegetarian) pizza, I'm there....enjoy.

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    1. Thanks Virginia. I don't intend to do any work at all! Cooking for 6 when I've got my glass of wine and some peanuts is a joy for me.

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    2. I have a serious peanut allergy, so I don't envy you there.
      I do envy the wonderful landscape and picture-perfect postcard scenes and of course the wine....enjoy!!

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  7. public restrooms? Few and far between I'd say in most places, except for gas stations. In restaurants, one is expected to buy something.
    stunning sunset! and I suppose the tree is on your balcony? I like that. I enjoy rustic as long as the food is tasty, and you sound like it was.

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    1. As I said to CJ public restrooms are everywhere in NZ - even little villages one passes through on the highway will have one. It was very tasty Norma: simple and tasty.

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  8. Many years ago, my Mum and I went on an organised bus tour through the Toscana, and for a few nights, our group stayed at a hotel in Poggibonsi. Can't say I remember the actual place, since we went to much more interesting places every day, visiting Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca and so on. As for the toilets back then - even in restaurants they would sometimes be too horrible to use.
    The sunset pictures are fantastic! I am glad you met friendlier and more hospitable people than the first ones...

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    1. Poggibonsi is eminently forgettable Meike. I first went there in the early 1990s and arrived in the early afternoon. It was closed. It was a sizeable town and we couldn't find anywhere to have coffee whilst we waited for a shop to open to get provisions. Today (Monday) the 'girls' are off for the day to a thermal springs and a spa because it's raining and miserable this morning. I shall go to the supermarket in Poggibonsi and perhaps do some exploring too.

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  9. You have found the sun. It can't be too wet if they are combining. These look like HDR.

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    1. No sun yesterday (Sunday) and we didn't leave the Villa. It's less than pleasant (ladies read this Blog) this morning too. I think that the combining's been done and the machinery looks as though it's been left there until next time. Caught out! Yes. Two are HDRd. There might be more coming. I bet you never thought you'd see the day.....

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  10. I've quite forgotten what I was going to say. Adrian's comment distracted me. You doing HDR? What else have you been up to in that foreign land? I really like that first shot, a rural view with a difference. Can't help wondering what is burning in those two fires.

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    1. Yes Pauline. I've been experimenting. We discovered today that they are geothermal power stations. Familiar?

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