Monday, September 22, 2008

La Dolce Vita

When my friends and family from Australia ring me and ask 'what did you do today?' I sometimes get the feeling they are very bored with my answer which goes a little like this: 'ummm I woke up, brushed my teeth, checked my e-mail, did a load of washing, vacuumed and then went out and did some errands'. I think what they are hoping for is this: I got up and opened my curtains to let the Tuscan sun come in through the wooden shutters. Then my Italian lover woke me up. We went out to the Chianti countryside and had a picnic where I sat sipping brunello while my Italian lover fed me morsel size bits of mouth-watering bruschetta and olives that are from his family's olive farm.

So, this one's for you my dreamer friends. On Sunday we had a romantic, gorgeous, fairy tale Italian day.

So you are not disappointed, my disclaimer is that no Italian lover features in this blog nor any of my other blogs, but my spunky Aussie/Filipino Italian looking husband does, so you'll have to make do with that.

So, said husband and I got up early and went to our favourite coffee shop, the Open View Bar which overlooks the Arno river. We had a caffe latte and a chocolate pastry. Very Italian. No bacon and eggs in sight.

We then hopped in our car (I wish I could say Italian scooter to make this story even more Italian, but I value my life and refuse to get onto on of those) and drove two hours to Lago Trasimeno which is a large lake in Umbria. This is such a beautiful spot and we plan on returning when it is a little warmer and a lot less cloudy.

On the way home, we saw a sign for the town of Cortona. I had started reading the autobiography 'Under the Tuscan Sun' some time ago and remembered that it was the setting for the book. I'm possibly the only person in the world that thought it was one of the most boring books I've read and I couldn't even finish it, but I remembered the author's description of the town and thought it was worth a look. We quickly flicked through our Frommer's Guide book but it didn't even have a listing for Cortona so we weren't expecting much.

But when we got there we instantly fell in love with this gorgeous town. And clearly a lot of tourists were also in love with it as there was more Americans than Italians around that day. Sitting atop a hill and overlooking the most beautiful scenery, we ate some panini with proscuitto and finished off our lunch with some of the best gelato we've tasted.

We also stopped in at a bakery to sample their local pastries. Cortona's specialty seemed to be these giant meringues as all the shopfronts were filled with them. They kept chanting at me 'eat me, I taste gooood and I have no calories'. So I had to go in and see for myself.

On the way home, we stopped to admire these gorgeous grapes growing by the side of the road. Someday someone will enjoy these beauties in their glass of red.

In keeping with the Italian-themed day, we got home and husband cooked up a beautiful Italian meal of pasta marinara with prawns, fish, octopus, mussels and clams. We had bought also bought some Brunello wine and some local oil from Cortona. Needless to say, we had a feast.

Unfortunately Monday came around too quickly and reality set back in. Husband went to work while I waited patiently for the fairies to come and start the housework. By ten am, I realised I was on my own and started the washing and ironing.

I can't wait for next weekend to come around again where the weekly chores and routine stops and we get to experience another town that some people only dream of visiting. Yes, life is really dolce (sweet) sometimes. Not always, but for now, it's very very dolce.


erin :: the olive notes said...

oh, we love Cortona...we even went to find Ms. Mayes actual house...absolutely stunning!

Gil said...

Why do I always get so hungry when I read great posts such as this? Glad to see those beautiful pictures.

Leanne in Italy said...

What a lovely sounding day! And I also thought Under the Tuscan Sun was the most pathetic waste of time book ever written. I saw the film and liked the feminist twist with her being single, and the lesbian friend coming to live there and have the baby...but in the book she has her nerd boyfriend Edward with her and it is sooooo boring.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

What a fantastic day you had, beautiful countryside to be seen. And lots more to explore.

As for pasta marinara to round off as well, thats is one of my favourite pasta dishes. :-)

Anonymous said...

oh man, now i wanna go to Cortona!!! Of all the time we spent in Florence we never really explored Tuscany that much.

On our next trip I'm going to insist on driving through the rolling countryside, sampling wine, and stopping at hilltop towns!

Can't wait to read about next weekend!

Welsh Girl said...

It's a tough life but you handle it with style! Poor you, you must be longing for an English weekend where you can go to Homebase and then take a scenic diversion via Wolverhampton! I'm off to make a Meringue Giganti!!!

'A Tuscan view.....from Umbria' said...

Hey Monika
Just found your lovely blog via our mutual friends at the Olive notes. That post about skinny jeans had me laughing into my cappucino. Next time you take a trip to the lago get in touch we live very near and it would be great to meet up.
Ciao amanda

Delina said...

It is such a bella vita - laundry, chores and work a side. I'm so over due a Tuscany trip :(