Saturday 22 September 2018

Many Happy Returns

The beginning
It was so good to be back in Italy. For many years Andy and I have celebrated my birthday by exploring different areas of Italy. Last year the birthday trip to Italy was not a priority as a visit to Canada/Murphy in August was much more important!

This year however, with the Canadians coming to us in October, an impromptu week in Tuscany could be booked to our favourite area; Castagneta Carducci. This time we were going to experience the delights of Agriturismo. This translates as living on a vineyard, not I hasten to add, as a couple of extra hands bringing in the harvest! Although I did offer Andy's services...

Our arrival was late at night and it took us a few wrong turns to find it. Imagine our delight the next day when we saw the avenue leading to our temporary home ...

Not only was the situation perfect but we discovered that we had enjoyed an impromptu wine tasting at this very vineyard, two years previously. This no plan/impromptu living is working out really well.

The venue was called Agriturismo tra gli Ulivi, owned by the Chiappini family. To be recommended to everyone who wants a taste of an idyllic lifestyle. We were only there a week but it was a wonderful interlude.

Now we are thinking how to spend a month there next year!

Yes, it was that good...

View of Tuscan hills from room
Our room was comfortable with touches of luxury, but it was the view outside that was inspiring. We could look one way to the rolling Tuscan hills or turn our gaze to the right and see the inviting saltwater swimming pool.

I say inviting, as the weather was sunny and very hot. Temperatures in the high 20 degrees so it was refreshing to take a late afternoon swim after walking over 5 miles every day.

Yes, I kept up with the walking ... and walking. Although we had hired a car, every town we visited required much walking and nothing was on the flat. They don't describe the area as having rolling hills for nothing, you know.

Every day took us to different areas. Some days, it was the nearby towns of Bolgheri, Donoratico, Marina di Castagneta, Bibbona, Casale Marittimo and of course our favourite, Castagneta Carducci.

Further north were the coastal towns of Cecina, Vada and Castiglioncello to explore.
We even went south for a day to Orbetello and onwards over the causeway to Porto Santo Stefano on the rocky isle of Monte Argentario. Returning north, via a sunset dinner at Castiglione della Pescaia, another favourite destination.

I have a story to tell about one of my previous visits to Castiglione della Pescaia, but only over a cup of coffee or even a glass of wine!

Prosecco at Marina di Castagneta
Now for the birthday celebrations ... prosecco, a must ... followed by some superb fish dishes and a very contented Eileen chillin'
Birthday girl

An Ending
Watching the sunset on my birthday celebrations was one of the "best bits" of the holiday. "Best Bits" is a reflection on what has occurred to help you remember the whole ... be it a day, a week, a year or even a sunset. The gratitude attitude is a helpful habit and "sets" (pardon the pun) many a picture into the memory store of the mind ... and yes taking a photograph helps too but I can remember this day without searching my mobile phone!

The Finished Article!
Some last words, to sum up my "Many Happy Returns"... and I don't just mean my birthday. Seven years ago, while hosting a yoga week at Campiglia Marittima ...  to celebrate my 60th birthday, no less ... I drove up a steep Tuscan hillside and discovered the world of Castagneta Carducci and its environs. It has been calling to me ever since and I am very happy to keep on returning ... 

I am also happy to say that this is something Andy and I agree on. Above is photographic evidence of Andy enjoying a glass of wine from the very vineyard we stayed at.
 A birthday is a celebratory occasion marking the passage of time and as such I am looking forward to "Many Happy Returns".

ciao amici

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