Saturday, October 24, 2015


Well hello, yes we've been SKI-ing, that is Spending the Kids Inheritance.  We've been on an awesome adventure to Italy with most of our time spent in Tuscany.  Some years ago Pete and I had been to the library, I went out to the car and started looking through Nicki Epsteins book about yarn shops in Tuscany.  When Pete came out I showed him what I was looking through and he fosocked in his bag and pulled out Lonely Planet Guide to Tuscany and so a dream started.

We flew from Auckland to Kuala Lumpar to break the journey for a night.  This is a view from our hotel window to show the smoke from Indonesian fires.  We couldn't see anything past the multistory building and the collar of Peter's shirt - black.
From Rome airport we trained straight to Orvieto, a medieval hilltop town we had stayed in before and chilled out there for a few days.  Took a bus trip to Civita, another medieval castle town on top of a hill but the hill is slowly falling away taking the buildings with it.  There is no vehicle access except scooters and 4 wheel bikes to takes in supplies
 but around every corner is beautiful picture.
 You can see below how one building is occupied and looked after and the one on the left is unoccupied, plants growing out of the walls and in danger of collapse.
 Next stop was Montepulciano, yes, another medival town on a hill and we were there for the Wine Barrel Rolling Festival.  My pre-trip exercise program of walking up and down Bowentown Hill stood me in good stead here as there were a lot of steep streets.  The Festival included a parade of each contrada or family dressed in ancient costume walking the 1.8 kilometer track mostly uphill in about 30 degree C heat.  This couple have 3 or 4 layers of velvet on.
 No pictures of the barrel rolling, they were too fast for my little camera.  An 80 Kilo barrel, one guy rolling it from the back, second guy at the side also keeping it moving but also steering it, 1.8 k up hill around corners, some 270 degrees and so fastand so fit.  Our landlady was tickled pink that the last team came in after the ambulance but really just to finish was amazing.  And then the party began, pit roast, wine and singing.

We took a short bus trip to Prezia and I was delighted to meet Paola and Mattia in their weaving studio and they were working with NZ merino yarn.  The greasy fleece is sent to Italy where its spun and they were enjoying weaving with it.  I can't buy fine merino yarn in NZ!

Our next stop was Padua, mainly as a jump off point for Venice but also an interesting city in its own right.
Venice is unique, of course. 
The canals and buildings - so picturesque.

Grand Canal
Inside courtyard of Doge's Palace
The Bridge of Sighs.  The last view prisoners got of Venice
as they were led from the courts in the Palace to the prison.
And a last canal view before we move on to Florence.
Until next time ...