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T+8 Days

Castelmuzio has an internet point in the bar, can you believe it??

I am just giving the highlights now because there is so much and I find typing with the Italian keyboard very frustrating.
Wednesday night we returned to Abbruzi for dinner (1 Via Vaccaro) food still basic and good.

Thursday, SRA arrived in the morning while we were downstairs having breakfast. Sammi is doing better but not great. They look exhauseted - they did not get much sleep on the flight over. After they freshen a bit, we pretty much repeat the stroll we took on Wed, through Piazza Navona, down to Campo dei Fiore and into the ghetto. Along the way Chris buys a pretty spiffy hat, I buy a mezzuzzah for a friend and Sammi and A buy little model smart cars.

That afternoon, we have lunch with Peter Kilby then SRA go off with him for a tour. We visit Palatino Hill which is great fun for the kids, peaceful and with some beautiful views. Then, though exhausted, hike up to St. Piero in Vincoli to see the Moses. It is closed - bummer!!!! For the next four weeks (until about Nov 16), they are closed all afternoon while they film something. We hike back down to coloseum and taxi back to Piazza di Gesu where we stroll to Entocca Corsi for a drink. Back to room to relax, shower and freshen up.

Let us see, after pre-dinner drinks at the bar we went to Piccolo Arancia for dinner Wednesday night. Food was good but the restaurant was very crowded with a large party that took up most of the main room which made for some cramped dining. Oh and stopped along way to throw our coins in Trevi.

On Friday, we met Peter Kilby early in the morning 8:30ish for a tour. We visited two churches on our side of the Arno to see some Caravagios and Rafaels then took 2 taxis to the Vatican Museum, no line. Strolled through there (took the correct door when we left) and ended up right in the Basilica. We parted, Peter went to catch a train back to Montepulciano, and we spent some time in the Basilica. Then a hike to Taverna Grachi for our first Buon Riccordo plates!!!

That afternoon we split up, SRA, went to Coloseo and Forum, we went back to the room to relax. Sammi is coughing and I want to slow the pace down a bit for her. Becky and I soon get antsy so we hop a bus to Santa Maria Della Concezione to see the crypts while Chris and Sammi continue to hang.

We all meet up later that night and return to Abruzzi for another good basic dinner. Yum, one last gelato in Roma (by the way the place next to the hotel, not the cafe but to the left of the cafe as you are facing the hotel has really good gelato), then off to bed.

We rise relatively early, grab our stuff and take two taxis to Avis on Via Sardenga to pick up rental cars. SRA gets an upgrade on their manual which comes with a cd player, we do not :(. It is cloudy and rainy but the drive is not bad getting to the Bettole exit on the A1 - just a bit of traffic.

Yikes, I should have taken Pauline's directions to Castelmuzio instead of using Rebecca's. We got pretty lost (30 minutes worth) but eventually made it to Castelmuzio. Even on this dank day we could see how beautiful the area was, is.

We arrived about 2:30 to a roaring fire in the wood burning stove. Love it. We unpack, start some laundry, explore the town, drink some wine, and wait for R's sister, who is late. She arrives about 6:30 and we drink more wine then walk to dinner... other than our adventure around Sinalunga, an easy day.

Sunday it is up early and a drive to Arezzo. Find easy parking just past the train station and let the shopping begin. It is the monthly antique market and all three girls (not including S and I) go bugeyed as they examine every item at every stand.

We visit the frescoes, have an amazing lunch at Buca San Francesco, where we get our second and final plate! then stroll through the market some more. We say good buy to K, R's sister and her boyfriend as they head back to their normal lives and we return to the villa without getting lost in Sinalunga. Of course, R made a wrong turn in Arezzo, so we tracked him down and led him back to the Autostrada. That night, just some snacky food and off to bed.

Monday we visited San Biagio and DEI winery - good tour and tasting, picked up a bunch of wines then drove to Montichiello for lunch at La Porta. Yikes - poor Sammi (who buy the way is doing better), gets terribly car sick on those switchback turns. La Porta is excellent, go. We stroll through the town, then return to Castelmuzio via Pienza. Dinner that night, in town while girls stay by themselves at the house (more on this later).

Yesterday, a long and exhausting day up to Florence. We left about 8:15 and returned home around 8:15. Saw the David, met Judy in the Centro Mercato (BTW Judy - we must have just missed you, we had to pick up a jacket for S and left Verazzano about 5:10 :(. , climbed the Duomo (well the men and kids did), had lunch, bought S a leather jacket at NOI, visited Santa Croce, had drinks at Verazzano, and drove home - yikes. BTW - parking at Porta Romana worked well.

Today, off to Montalcino for some brunello. Ciao

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