Category Archives: Travel

From The Grill In Tuscany

An evening meal grilled on the barbecue is an exceptionally fine way to ease into an evening of together whilst holidaying in Tuscany. The weather here has become so warm even the crickets and cicadas have gone silent. In these surreal travel times we find ourselves eating in for our trip. Of course this was the plan. To simply find a bolthole we could set up home in for a wee time.

Thankfully, one of us loves to cook! And he’s rather spectacular when it comes to Italian cuisine. I refer to him as the Italo-food-phile. Let me take you through some simple Italian style dishes we feasted on last night. Perhaps there’s one for you? All these dishes can be also be done in a pan or roasted in the oven.

First job, heat the charcoal grill! Then the zucchini’s are added. These have been cut length wise in quarters and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), salt and pepper. As the foodie started the cooking I joined him with the topped glasses, it seemed the supportive thing on a Saturday night to do :). And quite frankly the setting does demand it! Look at that view. Obviously we left dry July in Holland.

Next up the radicchio. Drizzled in EVOO and grilled on the BBQ. Once cooked topped with balsamic to serve. Slightly bitter, crunchy, delicious and full of goodness for health.

The Chicken. These pieces had been mixed with garlic, rosemary (from the garden, goodness) and lemon juice, the mixing perhaps half an hour before the cooking. You could prepare earlier and leave in the fridge.

When in Italy – tomatoes of course! With a little salad, parmigiano  and topped with EVOO and balsamic (of course). We did plan to add roasted peppers but forgot!

Served with bread for soaking the flavour and leftover sauce from the bottom of the plate! Perhaps we would have eaten in local restaurants some evenings in different times. We ventured out for gelato one evening this week. The town was quiet, many restaurants and bars empty. It’s hard to know how busy this town would normally be as we are off the tourist grid but I imagine there would be some tourism. Tourism which as yet hasn’t returned.

It’s a treat to eat under the golden light with the local town in view. In normal times we’d be campervanning in summer. Today we talked of many things and of the  freedom of the van. In this heat we’d probably have moved towards the mountains to cool down at night. There’s a lot of delicious food and much food for thought this trip! Or is this a collective time of considering where we all are? You, me our friends and families.

Where we are now and where we want to be. It seems the time and place for pondering and feeling grateful for good things. And of good things, thankfully, a cool breeze arrived this evening. Hopefully, combined with another day of hiking in this Tuscan landscape sleep will come easily tonight. And also to my friends and family in Melbourne in this time of great unease they may be finding themselves in. An unease that’s a little with me too because of my love for them.

#writingstreak

#underthetuscansun

#ladocevita

 

 

 

Tuscan Wandering.

Every window and every door of this traditional Tuscan villa offers a glimpse of postcard Tuscan wonder. This vista the view from the bathroom. When the end of the work week arrived last night, rather than a knock off drink the husband and I took ourselves off on a knock off hike! A wander out the front door and up into the Tuscan wonder.

I’ve given up my running schedule while I’m here to hike this trail each day. It is spectacular. And it’s simply Tuscany. The colours, the rolling hills and valleys, olive groves, vineyards, bountiful fruit trees, earthy brick and concrete buildings as far as the eyes can see, wildflowers at ground level and expansive skies above. The buzzing of the flies during the day and the mozzies at night remind us there’s always some discomfort! However, dips in the pool, a fan to sleep near and Italian gastronomy more than compensate for this.

My legs hurt in new places. I tricked them with these hills and the hiking. They were so used to running across flat Holland. This is the hiking I love. Wild wonder. Adventurous trails with surprises along the way. It’s good to change it up, do something different with your legs and for your mind don’t you think? I feel a familiar sense of myself on these trails. Hiking through and across countries. The solitude of simply walking.

It’s a weird time in the word to be travelling. The familiarity of being here, the slowness of the days, the long nights and the unfurling of this unplanned time away doesn’t feel like travel. It feels like living. Living within a community, quietly up on the hill and in the local wildness. This is slow travel, this is home for now, this time here behind the Tuscan windows.

#underthetuscansun

#writingstreak

#somewherenewwithlife

 

 

 

 

Sun Kissed In Tuscany.

Behind the brown shutters are windows and doors with bright red frames. Opening these are how a sun kissed morning begins in Tuscany. Closing them after a long and late night spent eating and chatting is how evenings in Tuscany end.

Food that is grown under kiss of the sun makes for a perfect lunch. There’s a flavour that can’t be ignored. And a reminder of how simple one’s lunch can be.

Herbs for the kitchen, grown in the  garden are illuminated by the kiss of the sun.

A healthy glow and contented manner,  the evidence of a sun kissed boy’s day of play.

A house built to withstand the kiss of the sun. Terracotta tiles on the floor and in the ceiling, thick walls of concrete and brick archways.

The kiss of the sun willing a writer to write on. A day spent in the first 13,000 words of a story. A memoir of a long walk and a time leading towards this life now. A time where questions were asked, actions were taken and the leap of faith that happened. The Tuscan sun enabling the needs of all to be met and comfort to the writer when the doubts set in. The power of his kiss is strong. Write, write he assertively guides. Now is the time. It matters not if the written words see me, the light of day. It matters they are written. That the writer writes the story. For her. Her story.

 

*edited to change her to him, my instinct was that the sun is a more masculine energy and a little note from a friend confirmed this. xx

#writingstreak

#day29/31

#writingon

#writingthrough

#writing

#ishibernationcalling

#thewindsarechanging

 

 

 

From My Tuscan Desk.

A butterfly continues to fly by trying to land on me. The cicadas are putting on a symphony, the children are squealing with delight and I think I found myself in the perfect setting. The setting for a little plan I’ve had brewing for some time. Ha ha no not to move here, I’ve changed. I promise. I no longer want to live everywhere but I do want to try a new thing for myself. Nothing new there! Lol. But a hard thing, something that requires some dedication. Tuscany friends, if a dream can’t be birthed here I’m not sure it ever can!

It was a rather clever idea of the husband’s to drive the bulk of the drive yesterday. We had an early start this morning and arrived into the local village of Bibbiena around 10.30am. Enough time to pick up some bread and supplies. Oh my the fruit! The fruit. So much colour and so much fresh choice. We drove in past the fields so it doesn’t surprise me of course. Lush verdant fields with rows and rows of produce. Not that the boys noticed from their lounge room in the backseat. New road trip food tip – breakfast banana in a wrap.

 

Our villa is everything we expected. A lush vista over the valley, fresh warm air, stunning sun, colour and solitude. Apart from the children and the cicadas of course. Spaces everywhere, for everyone. Yes, this is the bolthole we knew we needed but waited for a few weeks to decide on! It’s lush and also it’s characteristically rustic inside (read: old and charming). But you don’t get something this big and affordable without compromise. After half a day I totally get the dark, brick Tuscan cave! It works in this heat. The outside though, wow, with the little beautiful touches.

It’s not a tour the country kind of holiday. It’s time away, get some vitamin D, playtime for the children, yummy food, time for family, time to ‘be’ and laughs. Always the laughs. At Jimmy mostly. And Tommy he is a bit of a funny cat when he shows his humorous side. Greggie is working this week. He has settled nicely into a corner of the house with the big old desk. Best line today, Greggie “but how good is the prosciutto” lol. “Dude, it’s Italy !?!” Eye roll 🙄.

Me I’m out on the terrace. I’m also sort of working. I’m writing. Yes, yes I am. It’s a bit of a story as to how this has all come together. None of this planned at the start of the month. And yet here I am. With an evolving plan falling into place. It’s nice to be away, not to be in need of the break but in need of space and this moment of opportunity. A moment built on the momentum of these past months. A luxury. A time for each of us be in our own rhythms.

#writingstreak

#day28/31

#underthetuscansun

#amwriting

 

 

 

Crossing Borders. Eating Pretzels. Wearing Masks And Chats With Mates.

We crossed three borders today. Starting from home in The Netherlands into Germany, through to Switzerland and on and into Italy. We ate pretzels, wore our masks for toilet breaks (first time for little ones, it was fine they get it). I had some really awesome what’s ap. and Insta private chats (each one significant for reasons that are unfolding, will come back to these in future writing). Flow though friends, always trust the flow, act on the gut instinct to talk.

Not once did we show our passports or face border control. I love the European Union Schengen zone. We did have to buy our 40 Swiss franc road sticker (this allows us to use the roads  for a year rather than tolls). The tolls start on the Italian roads (not as exy as French roads).

We drove past lakes and streams and towards mountains. Oh my heart danced when we arrived in the Alps. We crossed them via tunnels. Aaaah it’s a beautiful way to travel. As is hiking in or taking trains in Europe! Italy was our destination so we enjoyed the scenic route in. It felt like one freeway down.

And there was the oddness of the Corona. Naturally. It’s in our current lives. We stopped only for petrol and toilets. Masked up, gloves for petrol and hand sanitiser. Maybe over the top but this is a highly contagious virus and we don’t want to get sick. In Germany masks are compulsory. Switzerland not, but many wore masks.

We pack food, lots of food. *BIG TRAVEL TIP* We travel with a car fridge. Also had robes at our ‘motel’-  honeymoon style, the boys were beside themselves (future Christmas present idea maybe). Wraps are our go to for a road trip. We had enough for our roadside motel dinner too, so no need to go and find dinner anywhere. We also pack cherry tomatoes, mini cucumbers, apples, bananas, popcorn, chippies, biscuits and  sweeties. Drink bottles for each of us.

We pre-booked the motel so we knew how far we had to come, we  wanted to cross ALL the borders today. I’ve been watching Europe. I am sure we’re good here, no surprises I can predict. But who knows with the pandemic, things change. It’s the risk we take travelling. I wouldn’t be travelling the other way through Belgium, France and Spain right now (daily changes there).

Husband, legend who did all the driving. Mostly because he hates being a passenger is working from ‘home’ this week. We will leave early tomorrow and arrive before lunch when his first zoom meeting is scheduled. Is this not something interesting?! Changing up the home office to a Tuscan farmhouse villa for a week before taking a week off! Heck we could even stay on in Italy and he could work another week before we have to come back for school.

#writingstreak

#day27/31

#fromaroadsidemotel

#hopeyouareallwell