Day 10 (February 14th)

Happy Valentines day!

Today started very early.  The bell in the square woke me up at 5, and Jill says she heard it sound every hour all night.  So it’s kind of hard to say where her night ended or began.  Miwa certainly demanded we be out of bed by 6.  Oh well, at least we got out of the house early.

Today was a driving tour of Chianti.  We drove south to Castellina, stopped in the parkade with the best view in the world, decided we didn’t have enough time to give Castellina the attention it deserved, turned around and drove to Radda in Chianti where we stopped for lunch and a brief tour-de-ville.  Our parking spot in Radda also had a lovely view.

Next we drove to Gaiole in Chianti, saw nothing of interest, and immediately did a U-turn.  We drove almost back to Radda before heading north onto smaller back roads towards the picturesque medieval hill top town of Castello di Volpaia.  Very charming once again.  It seems that at least every second hill top in Chianti has a picturesque medieval village stunningly placed upon it.

The vineyards in this region are particularily precipitous.  All the work must have to be done by hand which makes me wonder where the labourers come from, especially after looking at some of the house prices in the area.  I suspect many of them are from Africa.  I wonder how cheap it would be to import Mexicans to Quadra?

After Volpaia, we continued north onto less well maintained roads.  At one point they were completely covered with snow.  Mitzi became very nervous and shrieked or gasped at every bump or slight swerve.  I didn’t think the roads were that bad at all, and since Jill was breastfeeding in the back seat, I was driving super extra safe.  Where I might have been driving at 30 or 40 km/h I was crawling along in first gear and never exceeded 15 km/h.  I glanced over at Mitzi and saw she was clutching her door armrest with one hand and here gloves with the other.  So to lighten the mood, I said, “This is pretty neat, I’d better take a picture!”  Then started rooting around for the camera whilst appearing to give the road no attention whatsoever.  Then I got the camera and took a few pictures as I drove along.  I don’t think Mitzi was amused, but Jill and I had a good chuckle.

The roads were soon clear of snow but became very curvy.  Similar to the road to Hanna on Maui, but with less traffic and less maintenance.  Of course the steeper more tortuous terrain made for even more picturesque, precariously perched medieval stone buildings.  We have the pictures to prove it.  Lots and lots of them.

Sadly, we were unable locate any open wineries.  They were either closed for the season or closed for Sunday.  One teased us with open signs right up to the locked front door.  Cruel of them really.

We arrived home to an un-expected carnivale celebration in the Piazza.  Kids were running everywhere with confetti, fake spray snow and silly string.  There were performers who re-enacted historical events, belly danced, walked on stilts and even did a fire dancing and breathing routine.  We enjoyed most of it from the comfort of our apartment, but Jill and I ventured into the fray with Miwa when we went in search of dinner ingredients.  I managed to dodge all but one stream of fake snow.  Jill thought the whole thing was quite fun.

Ciao

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