UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN

MED BLOG 05

Wednesday Sept 24, 2014

Today was a biggie – with a 7:15am start – and there were some groggy-looking Kiwis when we found our seats on the coach. But the effort was worth it. Some of our Mad Midlifers have read books about Tuscany, watched movies about Tuscany, seen photos of Tuscany. But today we got to sample it for ourselves.

Leaving Livorno (one of Italy’s largest ports, not far from the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa), we motored south through the hilltop vineyards and olive groves of Tuscany to Siena, the region’s best-preserved medieval town. Here we explored its ancient walls, steep steps and winding alleyways … admired the Duomo (Siena’s imposing cathedral) … and took in some atmosphere at the Piazza del Campo (site of a fantastic horse-race that’s taken place each year for the past 300 years).

Then we continued our leisurely drive through lovely Tuscan landscapes to the 700-year-old tower-filled skyline of San Gimignano (pronounced ‘San-jim-in-YAH-no’). Known as the Tuscan Manhattan, it owes its trademark silhouette to rival medieval families who tried to outdo each other by building taller and taller towers. And, this afternoon, stepping back in time down those cobblestone streets helped create yet another unforgettable highlight for all of us.

Oh, by the way: en route to San Gimignano, we stopped at a farmhouse right in the middle of those grapevines and olive trees for a yummy, healthy Tuscan-style lunch of organic delights and wine-a-la-go-go!

As you can probably tell, we’re having an AWFUL time – and we’re not even halfway yet! Dunno how we’re gonna cope with another two-and-a-bit weeks like this …

TOMORROW: We’re in Rome, the most fascinating city in Italy … in fact, one of the most fascinating cities in the world! So don’t change channels …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your ‘COMMENTS’! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And if you want to receive future blogs hot-off-the-press in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription!

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!

One thought on “UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN

  1. We LOVE the awful time you are having ha ha ha. Mmmmm that icecream looked yummy. such a tough life … really don’t know how come you keep touring. Yea right!!!! Love ya and big hugz from the Kerks xx

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