Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sarteano- Journey home

Was up at 5.00am this morning. Caroline got up too but we left Kate sleeping for the time being. It was surprisingly cold at that time of the morning but the sun started to come up at about 5.15am. We managed to away by 6.00am and getting to Pisa by 9.00am felt comfortable. Indeed it proved to be and we got to the car-hire by 8.50am. After the usual queuing at every step we eventually got on board our flight Glasgow. Sitting on the flight now we have been told to expect a temperature of 17 degrees and rain!!! Welcome home!!!

Sarteano Day 17 final day

Today we are a little bit in Limbo. We are not wanting to leave; know we have to and are still trying enjoy the day while also getting packed. I'm sure many people have felt the same as their holidays end. Not wanting to do too much, not spending too much money (as you don't want to take any more Euros out just to convert them back to pounds the day after). Ends of holidays are Horrible! I wish there was service you could call. Where they would turn up, do all the packing and magically transport you home without having to go to an airport and guiltily make your way through customs. It is however, what it is. Tomorrow afternoon we will be back in Glasgow (probably raining) and we will moan at how unfair our holiday was so short. In a couple of days we will back in the old routine. Ahh! C'est la vie!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sarteano Day 15

After our efforts yesterday we decided to stay on Camp today. Kate had kids club, Caroline had sunbathing and I have a book I want to finish before going home. That was our day! We whiled it away being lazy.
In the evening we decided to go out for a meal and to try somewhere new. We decided on a restaurant, Daniela, in San Casciano die Bangni which is only 14K from here. Always the worry when we eat out with Kate is that she will not try anything new and that is sometimes impossible in foreign restaurant. Last night she had deep-fried Lamb Chops with chips, which she loved (I enjoyed bits as well!), Caroline had a House salad followed by pork with ratatouille and I had Tuscan vegetable soup (a meal on its own!) followed by a wild boar stew with plums and cherries. The meal was fantastic and while it was not cheap it was worth it if only see Kate eat some different food. Tomorrow is our 2nd last day and I think a trip to a new town is on the cards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sarteano Day 14

Today was our most tiring, exciting and hottest day all in one. We took the train from Chiusi to Firenze. The journey out was quite uneventful and the train was thankfully air-conditioned. When we got to Firenze the heat was already searing and that was just before 11.00am! We made our way to the Duomo through the massive crowds but found it no problem. The crowd to go up to the top of the Duomo was huge so we decided to go up Campanile instead which is just as tall and gives a magnificent view over the City. After climbing approximately 500 steps we reached the top soaked in sweat! It was worth it but it was midday now and the temperature had soared to over 100 degrees!
When we got back down we drank water by the gallons and then on to visit; Uffizi,
Ponte Vecchio,The Statues in Piazza della Signoria,Ammannati's Neptune Fountain and Loggia della Signora.
We took the Roma train back as it was quicker but it has to said was filthy and very hot with no air-conditioning. We survived but were very hot and sweaty by the time we reached Chiusi at 5.00pm. It was a great day and well worth putting up with some dis- comfort to see such a magnificent City.
A special mention goes to my wonderful 7 year old daughter, Kate, who did not complain once in all the stifling heat. She is a wonderful little girl who appreciated what she saw today.

Sarteano Day 13

The day started slowly again (I think we have slowed down with heat!) as Kate went off to Kids Club, I went to Supermarket and Caroline read her book outside the caravan. Today was very hot and 42 degrees was recorded by lunchtime. In that sort of heat you really can't do anything quickly and so it was 3.00pm by the time we left for another visit to Citta della Pieve, this time in the sunshine!
Citta della Pieve is interesting in so much as it is in Umbria and looks different from it's neighbouring Tuscan towns. The buildings are all brick as opposed to the Tuscan stone building. I think it gives the place a more austere look but nevertheless interesting. We did discover the narrowest street in Europe Vicolo Baciadonne. After we had seen what we wanted we went back to Sarteano via Lidl! Kate has been having withdrawal symptoms from her apple juice and the only place that sells it is Lidl.
In the evening after dinner we went down to dancing were Kate jogged away for 45 mins! Such energy! Early night as tomorrow we are taking an early train to Firenze. Excited!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sarteano Day 12

Today is hot! 32 degrees by 9.00am. We have decided to have a quiet morning by the pool where Kare can play with her new pals. Monica, Anna and Sarah are her main friends but they mix with other slightly older ones, especially in the pool.

This afternoon we have made another visit to Montipulciano. One because we love the town and two because Caroline wants to buy a beautiful leather hand bag for which the Italians are so famous. I have a look for one too but don't find anything to replace the one I bought last year in Pienza. Apart from this most important task the rest of the afternoon and early evening are spent in cafes and restaurants. A very easy way to while away a day! We leave Montipulciano just after sunset, which stunning.

Back at the site we go down to the bar where some holiday friends are having their last night. Kate has a great time with the children and we all talk till nearly midnight before we go our separate ways. Holiday friends you might never see again but they will always be part of your holiday memories.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sarteano Day 10

The day started off with Kate going off to the first day of the Kid's Club, something she enjoyed last year. It meant Caroline and I could go off to the weekly Market that comes to Sarteano every Friday.

Caroline managed to find a nice pair of sandals and we also bought a roast chicken (delicious!), some fruit and veg plus the smelliest cheese in the world called Peceroni. It really does stink but tastes surprisingly mild.

We decided the rest of the day should be a pool day and we had a lovely picnic down by the tables laid out under the vines beside one of the pools.

The rest of the day has been quiet and finished off with Kate going to the kids dancing which has also just started tonight.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Sarteano Day 9

Started the day off with a walk up to the forest surrounding the campsite. It was another lovely morning and very warm so the walk was not too long.
After breakfast we decided to visit the town of Pienza. This is a lovely town that visited last year and where Caroline and I bought a lovely leather bag each. On the way there we also decided to visit Monticchiello which another town we visited last year. This is like a new town but is actually a completely renovated old town and it is really beautiful. It sits up high overlooking some typical landscapes such as the fields of Sunflowers.
After visiting both these towns we then went on to another place which really a hamlet but is a very important place historically. It's called Bagno Vignoni. It's a medieval spa town where the town square is a large Roman bath and where the waters still flow ( and smell!). You cannot bath in the town pool at the moment ( for some reason ) but at the bottom of one of the hill you can enjoy the waters which sit at a temperature of 46 degrees. Almost like having an open air bath!
It was a tiring day but worth it. We've had a quiet night and looking forward to another good day tomorrow.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sarteano Day8

I got up early this morning to see lovely blue skies and decided to go for a drive and take some early morning photographs. I also had the intention of going to find a Lidl store I'd seen earlier in the week. This is because of Kate's appalling diet and her desperation for Apple Juice! This is not a very common juice in this part of Italy, bar the green pulp juice which does look like you are drinking a glass of snot! My good intentions however were all to no avail as I set off in the wrong direction! I found myself driving to Montepulciano when in fact I should have been heading to Chuisi. Never mind said I, 15k down the road, I'll turn back and go straight to Lidl. Not having my navigator (Caroline) I managed to take a wrong turning into the old village of Chianciano Terme where I found all the narrow streets and a one way system! I followed the narrow streets and Market, without hitting anything, and found myself out the other side not knowing where the hell I was. I just drove more in hope than in knowledge. One hour later I found a big junction I knew, next to the supermarket I normally use. This was not a time to be brave any longer, so I bought breakfast supplies, including Green Apple juice and headed for home. I arrived just in time to see Caroline and Kate getting out of bedding declaring they were starving and was there anything in for breakfast ?!
The rest of the day has been pretty lazy. We lay by the pool for most of the day before I made dinner. After dinner visited the town of Casciano dei Bagni. A lovely little village set high in the mountains and well known for it's old Roman Baths which have special water full of algae and stinking of sulphur! What ever turns you on! Still it was a lovely visit and a great way to round off a lovely day.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sarteano Day 7

Today started off dull and threatening but by the time I returned back with the morning bread it had already brightened up and so the pool beckoned. I left Kate and Caroline to it and joined them an hour later. We decided then to take a trip to Orvieto. This town is over the border in Umbria and hosts one of the oldest Cathedrals in Italy, Basilica Cattedrale Orvieto.The town itself is a mixture of old quiet streets and alleys along with it's many restaurants. One of the restaurants we choose, which was not in the main Square, turned out to be quite expensive for food that was ok but not great. We should have known better. They have some unusual shops and one of them was a wood carvers workshop, Michaelangelo, with the actual shop across the narrow street. This was very much a modern day Pinnichio.

Just as we decided to leave the rain started to come down really hard. We were lucky not to get soaked! As the weather has not been great today we decided to stay in and play cards. Memories of my childhood came flooding back. I went to be bed very happy.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sarteano Day 6

The day has started beautifully with hot sunshine and having breakfast on our decking. Caroline and Kate are off to the pool afterwards to meet up with some new friends that Kate has made. One of the really good things about these camps is the number of children who holiday in them and so the children learn to make friends very quickly. I'm off to the supermarket! Unfortunately we have to and barring eating restaurants all the time we have to keep supplies up, MY job!
This afternoon it has clouded over a good bit and so we are off to Montepulciano. This is one of my favourite towns with stunning architecture, good cafes and lovely shops.
San Bagio is it's most celebrated church and is stunning in it situation and architecture. We then visit our favourite cafe in the main square. Also in the main square is Cattedrale Santa Maria Assente. This is a very unusual looking Cathedral on the outside where the facade looks like it needs finished!
Another interesting fact about Montepulcaino is the fact it is the birthplace of Roberto Bellarmino. This in fact was the name of the Secondary school I went to in deepest Pollock, Glasgow! He in fact had been a Jesuit priest who had come to Scotland to help convert the heathen Scots! Amazing really.

The day has finished with us down at the camp bar where some of the other Scots families have gathered with their children. Chat is the order of the day/night and mutual friends are discovered. A perfect end to another lovely day.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sarteano Day 5

Normal service has been resumed. It's 31 degrees and sunny today and the site is buzzing with people round the pool and the village. What a relief, especially to Caroline and Kate. We had a great time playing in the big pool which is one of three, the other two are open to the public and stay open all day. The one we use closes at 1.30 which allows time for a siesta! Life is hard!!
In the evening we visited the nearby town of Cetona. This very traditional Italian town has it's focal point in a large rectangular square were the locals meet and talk of an evening. It really is wonderful to hear the human voice as the main source noise and animation. If only we could adopt this back home rather than the usual television and loud music. We have sat in this square eating ice-cream, drinking coffee and talking. Feeling quite at home really

Friday, July 01, 2011

Sarteano Day 3

At this present time 4.00pm there is a huge thunderstorm! These storms don't usually last long but this one has been going for a couple of hours and it is loud and heavy with rain.
This morning it was very hot and clear blue skies so we didn't expect quite a downpour. We visited the local Market in Sarteano which occurs every Friday. It was very busy and we were able to buy very fresh food for tonight's dinner. I bet they're glad they were only there in the morning. The good thing about storms like this is it lets you just sit around reading and relaxing. Even Kate is happy dossing about naked in the caravan! Relaxing is what a holiday is all about and that's what we are being forced to do, whether we want to or not. I'm sure by this evening it will be back to a warm and sunny place and we'll be ready to get out and about tomorrow in the hot sunshine!

Sarteano Tuscany 2011 Day 1


Set off from Glasgow this morning at 4.15am! I hardly slept for fear of sleeping in so now we have arrived in Sarteano I am truly exhausted. The heat is searing, 90degrees plus, and I think we could be in for a thunderstorm. At least that will clear the air!
The mobile home is very nice and a surprising amount of room. I'm off to supermarket for supplies. After dinner it will be a short walk and then an early night. I'm hoping to feel bright and raring to go tomorrow. Here's hoping.