A great adventure indeed. Margaret, sitting opposite me on our patio just now, suggests “The voyage from Hell” as an appropriate title. It seems I, for one, can never arrive in Tuscany without a bit of drama and at least one car breaking down. This time it was nearly backing off a cliff (one wheel half off) which made the car give up, something it was obviously ready to do from the time we left the rental agency. But this is not the only adventure. We lost our second car and its passengers completely, right outside the Florence airport. They showed up at the villa hours after us, thankfully, having toured Central Italy clear over to the coast, after dark. But we are not stupid. We asked our landlady for four more bottles of wine to go with her sumptuous dinner. It helped.
If you are planning to drive out of Florence, even if you have a Garmin, allow 2 hours just to thrash your way out of the city. Plan on getting sidetracked into an Italian carney or two, doing multiple loop-di-loops while the Garmin lady says “recalculating . . .”. Then of course it’s an hour to Siena. And had it not been for our car giving up (well, starting to stink and smoke actually) we never would have found our villa. We called our landlady, who came and got us.
This morning Hertz sent a tow truck to pick up their rental car. Margaret and I have stayed at the villa to send off the car, while the others went to Siena to pick up Joyce at the train station. Frankly, Margaret and I are glad to be here. As the rental car glided away on the back of the tow truck, Margaret rolled her eyes toward heaven and said, “No more drama, please.” And there has been none. Just the dry Tuscan air fragrant with rosemary, the sunshine, the bees, the wild cyclamen, the wine.
We are here. A good night’s sleep and a bottle of wine, roast pork, pasta and grape-apple cake. It is heaven.