Tuscany, a feast for the eyes and the waistline.
At last I fulfilled another dream on my bucket list and Ian and I spent five nights in Crespina, Tuscany.
I love Italian food, love the passion behind the language and the idea of walking amongst the grape vines and olive groves, is definitely my idea of heaven on earth. When we got there it didn’t disappoint. To say it was beautiful is an understatement. The views from where we stayed were breathtaking, the people were so lovely and the food, well the food was just so good! It was also extremely plentiful. I felt completely and utterly spoilt.
We stayed on a lovely farm with a spacious apartment and the food was so good we stayed there to eat every night. Every night was a surprise in terms of what we ate. No menus, just two of the loveliest women on earth bringing us dish after dish of amazing Tuscan food.
Wonderful dishes made with vegetables fresh from the land, pasta to die for and the clearly organic chicken and lamb were amazing. As for the panacotta, an abundance of sweet strawberries and carafes of their own label wine….. well lets just say I was in a permanent state of FUFTB (full up and fit to burst) bliss.
This alone was a credit to how far I have come in my quest to overcome my OCD. We ate alfresco nearly every night, there were cats, kittens and an a rather cute dog and I had no idea what I would be eating until it was put in front of us. It is only since I have been back that I have actually realised what a big deal this is for me.
I wasn’t the only one pushing boundaries. Ian managed to ride a horse for the first (and apparently last) time in his life.
I am still giggling about it now and we’ve been back for two weeks! He had absolutely no control over his horse whatsoever, and all she wanted to do was eat! The poor man who was attempting to guide us round on our hour and a half trek wasn’t expecting it to take so long and he had to call for back up to get us back to base. It was Ian shouting “OH NO!” as he went straight through the middle of a bush, that had me in stitches. There were of course many other words used to describe his experience – none of which are printable! The poor horse had to be retrained when we got back to the stables.
As for me I loved being back on a horse after thirty odd years and loved seeing even more of the sights from horseback. I felt like a natural and luckily my horse seemed to do exactly as I told it. My OCD seemed a million miles away and although I took my hand gel I didn’t use it once. I felt like the old me, who used to love being around animals and I am sure it’s thanks to running out in the fresh air in all weathers and terrains.
Our next trip was to an amazing winery, where we had a lovely wine tasting. There was also honey and wine based jams accompanied by lovely cheeses and plenty of bread. Which was just as well as I am the size of a postage stamp and cannot fit in much alcohol at all. However I did sample a bit of everything and we even managed to calm our hostesses nerves with our hilarious horse-riding tales! Bless her, she was relatively new anyway and in addition had to do the whole thing in English.
Which brings me nicely on to our attempts to speak Italian. In true Jane and Ian fashion, I had spend ages with my Babbel app on the bus. Ian on the other hand was sure he could wing it. To be fair we both spent our time with our little phrase book permanently attached. My full sentences that I had practiced seemed to have flown out of my head and I suddenly found I only managed the bare essentials ie Grazie, Buongiorno, Arriverderci, Ciao and of course Tutto Bene (very good) which although I was perfectly polite, I was a little quiet for me. I would like to continue with my study of the language though and maybe if we go back I can manage to understand more than one word in every ten!
It was also really nice just to get away and spend some proper quality time with Ian. What with work different shifts, running, choir and the household stuff it sometimes feels like we are just TV buddies. However with so much time to just relax it was nice to do some fun stuff, recharge our batteries and remember just to be us.
We definitely made some new memories and had a lot of laughs. We had a lovely mixture of one day relaxing, followed by a busy day like our all day trip to Pisa which is a lovely city. I took so many photos that Ian said I looked like a tourist. I reminded him that’s because I am. Honestly what am I going to do with him!
Anyway what ever you do this summer make it good. Ticking stuff off of your bucket list feels amazing and sometimes it’s easier that you realise. For years we just couldn’t afford to travel too far, so now it means even more to us. I would never swap the brilliant holidays we had with friends and family closer to home. There is however something special about pushing your own boundaries and letting some new experiences into your life.
Enjoy your summer, whatever it brings.