This past week at the apartment was nothing special really, more tying up loose ends. As I said, I am in my last 10 days and it seems like yesterday that I arrived. Of coy, the emotions are churning and I don’t want to leave. It is a necessary evil, but I will be even more prepared next time, perhaps even a certificate to teach English and perhaps a job offer, but this weekend so far has been amazing.
We took the train from Rome on Saturday, about an hour and forty minutes to Florence, greeted by rain, not harsh, but enough to be annoying. It is funny driving again as I have driven in 2 months and getting behind the wheel, getting out of Florence was a bit stressful, but we stayed out of the restricted zone and on our way. While, I can drive a stick shift, I opted for an automatic for one less thing to think about. Driving in Italy, as many of you know, is not like driving in the states, but again, this was not my first rodeo. We met some colleagues with who I work in Empoli, but had to stop for coffee a bit into the drive, but through the rains we made it to the Tuscan countryside and the views are magnificent, especially from our villa. After a nice pasta lunch, we headed to the medieval walled city of Volterra which is aboyan hour from where we are staying, but the experience, including hiking to the top of the tower, a stone spiral staircase, was worth it. The drive back was good, but getting back, in the dark, the first time, was a bit nerve wracking, especially when the villa is high in the hills and the road becomes gravel. The experience, was for certain, excellent.
Yes, we woke up to a late start, but we both needed the sleep and were invited to Tenuta Torciano Winery for a wine tasting lunch that lasted several hours. Good thing the place was only 20 minutes away as we thought it was closer to San Gimignano, not Certaldo, but we made it and tasted 8 wines. I have clients who will be enjoy this experience this week and next, so I am glad Rosa and I had the chance to do this. We also made it, after a coffee break to Certaldo, so the drive back was easy and the vistas after you go up the funicular of this medieval walled city are worth the ride. There was even a procession in town as the people carried their patron saint. In the end, we made it back, enjoyed the hot tub at the villa, so full day and a wonderful day was complete. We even created dinner from the few supplies we had. Tonight, we eat out.
Last, but not least, I want to talk about an interesting cultural piece I encountered this week and it happened twice in one day. Not an action, but a word used by Italians, which if literally translated into English, is very dramatic, and it was used twice in one day with two different people in WhatsApp conversations. The word in Italian is mortificato which when Google gets a hold of it, translates as mortified, when really, these people were simply trying to say they were sorry about something, one being late, and one overcharging for something. In English, of course, mortified is more stunned and shocked, so I found this somewhat amusing. In any case, I love the Italians and one in particular, so for my second to last blog from Italy, for now, Ciao and looking to sharing next week.
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin