A week in Tuscany
12 August 2019 | San Gimignano
After a really superb visit to the UK, seeing family and friends, hosting Greg and Carol and then Robin and Pauline in York, a weekend in London with Julia and Tim, visits to Beverley with Anna and Neil and a few days in NI, two trips to the pop-up Shakespeare Rose Theatre in York (‘Twelfth Night’ absolutely brilliant, ‘Henry V’ absolute disaster) we were ready for a rest …
We arrived back at Minnie B late on Saturday 3rd August and all was well. Sunday was provisioning and then a start on changing the engine exhaust elbow. It was much more straightforward than anticipated and the local Volvo engineer even gave us some engine paint for the replacement parts.
By Tuesday we were ready for some tourismo and took the bus into Pisa for the show – it was not as busy as expected but the crowds were determined to do the photos either as if holding up the tower or pushing it over. We passed on those and visited the Baptistry and the Cathedral, both of which are beautifully crafted and maintained. A stroll to the Piazza dei Cavallieri and an ice cream made for a pleasant afternoon.
Up for more, the following day we visited Lucca by train. Altogether a more interesting city than Pisa, but much less visited. Again the Cathedral is a must along with the Torre Guinigi which is surmounted by a few trees … and several hundred tourists. Thank goodness it does not lean. We had a good lunch in the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro and then a stroll around the walls and a beer in Piazza Napoleon before taking the train and bus back to the boat.
Next was a hire car for some serious provisioning, shopping for various cabin items and more tourismo. So Conad supermarket and Ikea did the trick in the morning and then off to San Gimignano in the afternoon, with plans to visit Siena the following day.
San Gimignano is probably at it best from a distance where you can see the hilltop, the vineyards, the poplar trees and the famous towers. Close up it was wall-to-wall stuff for tourists and wall-to-wall tourists – but hey, we are tourists too. We had a nice ice cream in the square outside the Cathedral and then drove back through quite delightful Tuscan countryside.
So to Siena. No not to Siena. Overnight our full-to-the-brim fridge/freezer stopped cooling. Oh well, urgent requirement for a refrigeration engineer, who arrived after a couple of hours and diagnosed a faulty controller. He came back late in the afternoon to install the new one so we had to hang around for him. Anyway all working, so we then went to the Carrefour for more wine and food.
The refrigeration engineer’s visit along with a very small sail repair that was done for us while we were away, put us in mind that Roman traditions are alive and well in modern Italy. Think Centurians ... the Romans were best at counting in 100s … sail repair = Eu100; refrigeration engineer = Eu100 (he installed our spare controller) and as we have stayed a few more days in the marina than planned also Eu100.
Now we are pretty much ready to go cruising again and the plan is to head for Elba and make our way gently south to northern Sicily for mid-September where we will pick up David and Jacquie for a few weeks (they think they are coming on a luxury cruise with full onboard drinks package but they will have to do a lot of stainless steel polishing, winch servicing and general cleaning, and the drinks package is a daily ration of grog: one teaspoon of rum and half a pint of water … to share).