Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday - our free day

Today we had entirely free – we could enjoy the pool, go on walks, or head into one of the towns. After a quick breakfast Scott, Nicole and I again headed out in the Citroen (we’ve gotten to the point we just like saying the same of the car). This time I really didn’t even notice the trip down, I guess I’m getting used to it. Today’s trip took us over to Cortona that was made famous in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. The town is really built up on the hill, which made for interesting driving and walking. We walked up this enormous hill and reached the city center. It was abuzz with all kinds of activity. We went into a café and had our caffeine fix. We sat out on the patio and watched everyone go by. There are many shops in the square including those who sell pottery. Nicole and I both decided we were very happy with our purchases. We started walking through the square when we saw the lens os this fancy camera pointed at us and it was Kari and Igmar who had also come over to Cortona. They joined us as we walked through the narrow city streets. Scott was leading the group up this insanely steep alley to where he promised we would have a view.

I think he even began to get worried as all we had in front of us with this tall stone wall. We did eventually find the view and just like everything else around here it was amazing. The walk up the hill worked up our appetites so we all decided to have lunch together. We stopped at a little place down an alley and enjoyed some gnocchi, pasta with pesto, and salad. I really don’t think you can have a bad meal in Italy! We did a little window-shopping after lunch and then of course had to stop for some gelato.

I think I may be ready to join Nutisystem when I return! By now it was the middle of the afternoon and we all wanted to stop back in Arezzo. After a bit of a drive we made it back to Arezzo and managed to meet up with Kari and Igmar at another café. Since it was later in the day we opted for a prosecco drink since it was a nice warm afternoon. We decided to walk back around the town looking into the shops and seeing the sign “Saldi” everywhere (means sale). The town was gearing up for the jousting rehearsals that started at 5:00 pm. Everyone had on theirs scarves to indicate what team (or town quarter) they are cheering for.

We again had to opportunity to watch them as they practiced hitting the target. We decided it would soon be dark so we headed back to the house. I think we were the last to arrive back. Cheryl, Dinah, and Suzanne had all gone into Arezzo today and spent the day shopping. I’m not sure the stores have anything left after they were done! We had some “show and tell” to see what all they bought. The did find many beautiful things, but I don’t think any of them know how they’re going to get it all back home! Tonight’s dinner was on our own – we could have gone out or have what was left in the fridge. We enjoyed our wine while we warmed us some of the items left from earlier this week and boy did we have a feast. We even managed to light the candles and put on music. We had a wonderful dinner as a group. I think the people have been as important as anything this week. We all come from different parts of the world and with different backgrounds but we can all come together and have a fantastic time. Last night’s dinner really did feel like family. The one great part has been not having to do dishes! We tidied up the best we could from dinner. Several of us had not seen the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” so Kari managed to download it from the web. We went into one of our lounges to watch it but ran into some technical difficulties. The internet is very slow so wasn’t exactly conducive to watching a video. We did manage to watch about an hour of it, but most were falling asleep. We may have to try and finish tomorrow. I had been working on some laundry this evening, since it was really the last opportunity I would have to do so. With some help I managed to work the machines and even hang some things on the clothesline (dryers are not common in Europe). I did stay up rather late getting all of this done, but it will make packing up much easier. It’s hard to believe tomorrow is the last day here. I think we are all getting a little sad that it’s coming to an end. Then again I do get to head to Rome for a few days before coming home.

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