Under the Tuscan sun

Four days in Tuscany without any internet connection can feel like a long time. But it also feels immensely liberating not to look constantly at the phone.
This year we got lucky with four days without rain; sunshine and perfect pool weather almost all the time. But while lounging at the pool is preferable, Tuscany invites you to go and look at the scenery, the beautiful cities, villages and shops. And that’s what we did.

It took us all of Wednesday night to drive down to Florence. Around 6:30 we met up with friends for some coffee. Still looking fresh, don’t you think?005Finally at 9am we made it to Monika, the little cafĂ© two long-winded curves above our Bed&Breakfast. After a round of coffee and dolci (tasty croissants) the day was spent at the pool, sleeping, reading or in Fanny’s case getting entertained by her mother.006A real lazy first day, drinks in the evening before dinner and an early night for me.014 016 017 018 029For three days I went running every morning with Eva, her dog Momo and Lilly. The two dogs were leading the way and knew exactly when to stop on the way back. Monika’s was the place to be in the morning, and if it wasn’t open when we arrived, we would take a walk around the church and the cemetery. Eventually almost all of our group made it up there for coffee before breakfast.037 038 040 041 048 050 052 054Friday was spent in Florence shopping, lots and lots of shopping. We had a walking tour planned around the duomo, in the end decided against it and went for ice cream. After an excessive shopping tour, one has only so much energy left. The rest of the day was again spent by the pool, with a good book and lots of water. Dinner was as usual a tasty affair as the lack of pictures indicates.

On Saturday my brother and I made a trip to Volterra. The village is now better know for its part in Twilight. At least the Volturi are supposed to live here. Which is not true, the movie was actually filmed in Montepulciano. Once I knew that it was clear why I couldn’t find the fountain that was shown in the movie. It’s just not there at the Piazza dei Priori.096
While shopping again, this time for an alabaster lamp, we went to see the Teatro Romano from the 1 century BC.077 079 081 083

A last afternoon by the pool, we decided against San Gimignano on the way back. 30 degrees and a lack of AC can do that to you. The scenery and Volterra from below were breathtaking though.105 107

Here some more impressions from four great days. We headed back to Vienna on Sunday, this time during the day since I had a plane to catch. Yours, Pollybert065 070 071 074 076 082 091 093 115

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Birthdays all around

After a day of fasting followed a day of feasting (which by the way is also a book called ‘Fasting, feasting’ by Anita Desai) in Wednesday. Yeah, finally! This was especially great because I was invited to a surprise party that evening.

I left work and went to my Pilates class. Usually I feel refreshed after a work-out but in this heat I was sweating profusely. It is inhumanly hot and humid in Vienna. Every night it looks like there might be some rain and then it never does. Maybe climate change is really upon us. Our winters are definitely longer, colder, harder. I should not complain though but should store up all the heat like a squirrel its nuts.

I had to make do with a ‘French shower’ after Pilates (Clarins ‘Eau Dynamisante’ works every time like a charm) and was then off to the party for my friend Pat. Lovely party, sitting outside in a small garden right beside a park. Very relaxed atmosphere and also relaxed neighbors (none had complained by the time I left), good music and plenty of Mojito.

Thursday evening I had a ‘pre-birthday party’. This time not a private venue but at a club downtown.

20130802-210611.jpg The pool looked so inviting but you are not even allowed to put your feet in. The place was packed and I was not really in the mood for a long evening. Also it was a fasting day, so after two glasses of wine it was over for me. Partying with mineral water is not my kind of thing. (I know, very Bridget Jones!) Here I am with the soon to be birthday girl.

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Then on Friday afternoon I went to see my great-uncle. He had turned 91 on Wednesday and I wanted to surprise him with a cake. So on the way to his place I stopped at a little French bakery called Fruth. What a place! Can only highly recommend it!

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After another hour on public transport in scorching heat and just so that you know what I am talking about

20130803-151215.jpg(and we don’t have a lot of AC in either metro, tram or bus) I arrived with my chocolate mousse cake. We had to put it in the fridge for an hour before I dared cutting it. But when we finally did it was excellent!

20130803-151558.jpgHappy Birthday, Onkel Walter!!

We shared a piccolo (a small bottle of Prosecco) with the cake, then a second, then a third. I had a wonderful time celebrating his birthday and my uncle is the best example on how to live life to the fullest!
Yours, Pollybert

PS: I finished ‘I heart Paris’ by Lindsey Kelk, but started right away with ‘I heart Vegas’. I can’t recommend it because it has the literary value of Twilight. But I am now obsessed with Angela and Alex. What can I say, it’s a guilty pleasure.