Sunday, June 22, 2008

Second Week in Radda in Tuscany

Sunday June 15th

Glorious Local Delights

Lovely sunny day so we strolled up to Radda to enjoy the Sunday quieter mood of our village. There was a more relaxed feel and we wandered about phoned, interneted and shopped. Drove along small local road to Volpaia – small hamlet about 4 km away – decided on the spur of the moment to have lunch in a warm sunny restaurant with magic views (licensed since 1707!!). MaryAnn, our tenacious native-speaker, cleverly negotiated a cliff-top table with exquisite views and we settled in!! Mick had wild boar (very appropriate thought the others) and the desserts were to die for! Checked out the Church and village before enjoying a forest drive and magnificient views back over our lodgings. Siesta around 4.30, light tea and early bed ready for the next two days!!

Mon June 16 – Tues june 17th


Up early and off via A1,A11,A12 & A15 to La Spezia where we eventually found some free parking, bought tickets and caught the 12 o'clock train. Jumped off at Vernassa (on Ben and Maddy's recommendation – thanks guys, a great call!!) where, after negotiating some “zimmer pimps” MaryAnn and Elaine settled on two lovely rooms (close to each other and one with access to a tiny private garden with sea views) high up on the hillside! Having dumped our gear we headed off for Monterosso. The next two hours was a rather strenuous climb and descent with astounding views – certainly well worth the effort and leading us oldies to be a little smug about making it!! The regulation beer and sniff around (rather spooky church!)in Monterosso before train back to Vernassa and REAL SHOWERS!!! (the only downside to our Chianti digs). Drinks in our secret garden; dinner al fresco by the harbour – feeling like locals now those pesky tourists had scuttled off; walked around the town (with several glimpses of the full moon on the water!) and home!!!

Breakfast at O'Shannassy's before packing and walking to Corniglia – still pretty difficult but well worth it. The weather was overcast (thankfully! we have no illusions about us all making these walks in really hot weather) but fine and the sun came out around 11. Pit and phone stop at Corniglia and joyful news that the track to Manarola had just opened after a week of being closed! Off we went (down all those stairs!) brief stop in Manarola and on to Riomaggiore for late lunch – there were lots more people at this end and we know that we didn't do the latter towns justice but still there was a sense of accomplishment in having “done” the whole nine km!

Left La Spezia around 4.30; home around 7.30 to Elaine's pasta and bed!!!!! A great experience!!

Wed June 18th / Thurs June 19th

“Come back to the place you began and know it for the first time” T.S. Eliot

The simplest things are just the best! Our last two full days here were blessed with perfect weather – gloriously sunny and warm with slightly cooler evenings – and we expected just to experience more of the same. Up very late on Wed.; wandered up to Radda for a look, coffe and phoning; back down the hill with groceries for washing, lunch and siesta; drinks around six; lingering meal; an even better sunset; great company; fireflies!!! in the dark – they looked like fairy lights at one stage!

Thurs up a little earlier. Off to Castellini (the next town which we had driven straight through about ten times). Saw and went into Etruscan tombs (c. 400 B.C.) open to the public sort of in the middle of a park. Wandered through yet another delightful town and found excellent local museum which had a fine presentation of finds (some back to 1000 B.C.) and the history of “our” area. Bonus was a terrifically restored castle with tower and top views. A great way to finish our time here. Home for the usual; siesta, walk to the village; drinks; lingering meal (Mick's risotto – much nicer with only two stock cubes this time!!); music; wonderful sunset – and, for the first time, chocolate!!!

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Hi guys,
looks beautiful and fun. We're at the Brittons for a b'day dinner. Had a good day after getting in from albury last night.
Robert Mugabe?! Where was the assassination attempt...
x Matt, Clare, Les and the Brittons

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