Alas, it’s been another dry spell in my blogging. I can’t think of a particularly good excuse other than I’ve been really busy with running, work, and in particular, travel. That is why I am focusing on travel in today’s blog.
My wife and I just returned from ten days in Tuscany, Italy. Most of it was Ecstasy, but there were times of Agony as well. The pain started immediately after leaving the car rental lot. I had gotten Google directions from the Florence Airport to the Villa Le Barone in Panzano and turned right, looking for Via L. Gori. When got to the first intersection, we could not find it. I turned around and retraced our steps, facing one lane of oncoming traffic. Then suddenly I saw one, then two, then three oncoming cars, so I pulled off to the side right away. I finally realized the exit road from the car rental lot is one way! We knew we had to find the A1 towards Rome which we eventually found after a few more false starts.
We were able to follow the Google directions along the A1, then onto the Raccordo Autostradale Firenze-Siena with no difficulty, but when we took the Cassia exit, our Agony returned. The problem was simply there were very few street signs. By that time, my wife had been able to connect her GPS, so when I made one wrong turn, she was able to see we were going off course. We finally found Route 118, which was also pretty hard to follow, because there were many forks in the road and Route 118 wasn’t always signposted. Anyway, I won’t bore you any more with the rest of the details because we ultimately made it to Villa Le Barone. If you do this trip, be sure to specify in your trip search engine that you are leaving from the car rental facility, not the Florence Airport. Also be sure to choose both the maps and large map options if you go to the print screen at Google Maps. The maps option will show you all the turns. Hopefully this will reduce the Agony.
We got our first taste of Ecstasy as we caught a glimpse of the Villa, driving past the gated entrance, up on the hill to our right. We could see the Villa through the open arched gateway, a serene, stately edifice against the rich blue Tuscan sky. Once inside the Villa we checked in, climbed the stone stairway to the European first floor, and then we found our way to our spacious room, with great views of the orchards and vineyards in the serene valley below. Later, as we toured the ground floor of the Villa, we found a sitting room, complete with a fireplace, a library, game room and lounge. Immediately we felt at home. Continue reading EPISODE 10.TEN DAYS IN TUSCANY-THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY