Passing Through Hell to Get to Heaven

Passing Through Hell to Get to Heaven

Oh god – I hope this post lives up to the great title!

Getting out of Florence is always a struggle. Maybe not as big a struggle for us as the guy next to us at the car rental desk – he only brought his international driver’s license and not his real one. He wouldn’t believe it until three different people explained it to him (all in English). Finally he said that his travel partner could be the driver, but no, that wouldn’t do either, because the pre-paid reservation was in his name. Then just change it. Sorry, we have to do a new one and we can’t match the price you got online, so you will have to get a refund for your online reservation and pay the new price now if you want a car. By comparison, our experience was a breeze.

But then we got on the road, and, having loaned our gps to friends traveling in Ireland recently, it was determined to remain there and not let me change the country to Italy. Nope – never heard of it. I thought we could find the route by just following the signs to the highway to Rome, but Don wanted the gps to tell him, so I fought with it for awhile before before we just started driving in the general direction. Can’t miss it.

Of course we missed it.

So I pulled out my phone – hang the data costs, it works – and it got us turned around and headed in the right direction finally. I guess you might not recognize this scenario as hell exactly, but trust me, that first 10 minutes included some real yelling and a couple of close calls with the millions of Italian drivers surrounding us.

One good thing though – this toll entryway that got us is into such trouble the first time (creating that long lineup of gesticulating Italian men drivers behind us) did not get us this time. Which line would you choose?

Choices, choices

We get off the highway pretty quickly and onto a country road through the most beautiful countryside you can imagine. All memories of hell are banished.

Our home for the next week is Casale Le Masse, which is situated in the hill just above the village of Greve in Chianti – walking distance to everything, including the famous three day wine festival, which started today.

Casale Le Masse

After a quick swim, we walk down to the wine festival (this won’t come as a surprise to anybody) and get our wine glasses to start tasting the wine. Don is in heaven.

We even ran into a winemaker that we had met (when he was just selling out of his basement) back in 2009 or 2011. Le Stinche (pronounced Le Stinky) has branched out to several wines since then. He didn’t remember us, but there was no mistaking him. We have a photo from then that looks pretty much exactly like this:

I can hear my Aunt Jan saying, “Smile Don!”.

When Don realized that we don’t have to drink all the wine in one day, we decided to pick up some charcuterie items for a do it yourself dinner back at our place. Got some prociutto cotto and pecorino cheese with pistachio nuts at the butcher’s and a giant chunk of foccaccia and biscotti from the bakery and we headed back up the hill to our little piece of heaven.

Swim, nap, eat, repeat . . .

3 responses to “Passing Through Hell to Get to Heaven”

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