September 10, 2014

Castle in the Vineyard


Lady Hiva had done her research and found a Bed and Breakfast that used to be an old castle just outside Florence. It was at the top of the hill overlooking the vast iconic views of Tuscany. The place was everything you imagine a castle in Tuscany would be. There were vistas of vineyards, ivy growing down large stone walls, views of the valley and monasteries on neighboring hills, a pool in the olive garden overlooking the village and of course friendly people working there.

We were glad that this was “home-base” for several days. We would go explore something during the morning and come back to spend the afternoon and evening at the pool and wandering around the gardens. Our favorite time was sunset.  Lady Hiva tells me that all sunsets look the same, you see one, you see them all, but I have to disagree. There is something enchanting about the dance of clouds and the splash of colors as day gives way to night.

Breakfast with the other guests was held out on the veranda overlooking the manicured gardens. It could not be more perfect. (Although in all the bathrooms we stayed in there was a bit a mold in the tile grout. Lady and I decided that was our only complaint the entire trip. Maybe we should start taking janola (Clorox) with us where ever we go…hehe). At one point we bought a watermelon and sat by the pool eating it. Lucky loved it and when I wasn’t feeding him fast enough he started to chow on it with his out his hands, true dragon style!

We went into Florence and explored the city. Florence is truly an amazing city of art. The Medici’s collected are for years and it is still on display throughout the city. Our favorite part was watching the sunset from Michelangelo’s Landing. There was a guy there making bubble art with LARGE human side bubbles. Tau’aho loved running after them with all the other children. We finished the night with gelato again…this time from a place that made their own gelato. This one had more than the regular flavors. I tried lavender! It takes the way it smells! But I kind of liked it.


Replica of Michelangelo's David

We went to Pisa and Lucca one morning too. We really did not like Pisa much. In the area around the leaning tower of Pisa is a Basilica and a beautiful grass area where Tau’aho could run. However, the trip was literally only a few minutes. Outside the wall that protects the tower and the Basilica Pisa is a run down and a bit dirty.
Pisa Basilica and tower

Leaning tower of Pisa

Lucca, on the other hand, was a cute little town. It also has a tall protective wall around it. We spent several hours wandering the streets, going in and out of the small shops and admiring the views. We even stopped to have waffles and gelato before riding a carousel. If Florence was more like Lucca we may have been more enamored with it.

We even toured the nearby monastery. It was interesting to meet the kind old men that lived and worked there. it was an immaculate place with huge original art in all the main halls (again, some of it really gory). The guy that gave us our tour was fun, even though he only spoke Italian the whole time we acted like we understood and chased Lucky as he explored the long hallways. I am not sure living in one building for an entire life, but they seem to enjoy it. A simple life.  The best part of our time in Florence, though, was the place we were staying. If anyone is ever in the area, we definitely recommend it. 
Monastery in Florence

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