Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday and Monday, 15 & 16 May

Sunday was kind of a stay-at-home day. Sleep in, two loads of wash, and a trip to the grocery store. We also drove up to the neighboring hill town of Ortonovo. We thought we should visit it since we see it every time we look across the valley from Nicola. The drive up to that town is longer and has many more narrow, space for only one car stretches than the drive up our hill. We had to back up once near the top of the hill on our way back down, and that is an experience in itself in this Renault. It is very difficult to see out the back of this car. It does have the warning sensors in the back bumper, but that does not help me to try to back it up in tight places. For that, Beth must be my guide, and she does a very good job of telling me where to go.

When we got back to our parking lot, we heard people talking in English as they were unloading themselves and a couple of kids from their big Mitsubishi SUV. We told them that we had not heard anyone else speaking English in Nicola. There was a lady about our age, two 20-something year old sisters, and a three year old boy and a one year old girl. One of the girls was married to a guy in the Air Force, stationed at Aviano Air Base, but currently in Afghanistan. We helped guide them up the hill and into the center of town, right by our place. The three year old boy started to act up, he was tired and wanted to ride up the hill in the stroller, but there was no way on the rough cobblestones that was going to work. I offered to carry him, and picked him up from the stroller, and he was fine with that. We and the mother were amazed that he would go with me, but she was thankful.

We showed them our house so they could get an idea of what the insides of these hill town houses might look like. We mentioned that the kitchen on the top floor was done originally to help protect the rest of the house in case of a fire in the kitchen. We talked for awhile and then they went on their way.

Monday was a driving day. We drove on two roads that were mentioned in one of my car magazines as great driving roads, and that they were. Curve after curve after curve and all either up or down some fairly steep hills. It was mostly a 70 Kph (44 Mph) limit and that was sometimes too fast for many of the corners. Beth had her "brake" on many times. We were wishing we had the Miata over here. But even in our diesel Renault, it was a fun time and cheaper than the Autostrada; plus, we got to see some interesting castle ruins and some beautifully kept castles too. Of course, it being Monday, they were all closed.

Tomorrow, we will be on the road at 5 AM to get to Florence for our reservation at the Accademia museum that has Michelangelo's David statue, and the Uffizi Museum to see Italian Renaissance paintings. We are expecting a hoard of tourists and aggressive vendors. Hopefully, we can find the free parking lot right outside the city mentioned in Rick Steve's book, with enough time to either take a bus or walk to the museum for our 8:30 reservation.

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