The only steam being let off here was to be found in the main square.
I couldn’t even have a swim as sadly we had no time to explore the hotel’s pool. Still, unlike the last few places we had stayed, we were within easy reach of the town centre. This makes wandering around much easier, as evidenced the previous night. Given that we were no longer wearing pretty evening dresses, but the usual (me: jeggings, boots, sensible coat; her: summer frock and cardy – bloody geordies), and it was quite fresh out, we took a brisk stroll up the main street.
I must admit, I wasn’t feeling my best. The late night and sheer
So onwards we went, and upwards to a wooded area around the archaeological museum. I was initially drawn to a marble sarcophagus, in the shape of an old fashioned bath tub, but then the thoughtful and nature-sympathetic garden layout drew us in further. The roman columns and pieces of viaduct added a romance to the shrubberies, and I sat and enjoyed the view over the town. Birdsong and green quietness was quite as peaceful as the church had been.
The effect of the steam was still magical. The brisk day enhanced the theatrics, and locals filled their bottles. Reading the properties of the water had me wondering what sulphur-bromine and iodine water could do to my sensitive tummy…so I bought some nice bananas and Lidl fizzy water instead. Given I’d got this far borrowing the flatmate's toothbrush, it was also time I bought my own. Which I did. Thank goodness for Lidl.
Returning to the car, we knew we had a place in Volterra for the night, so relaxed into a shortish drive. There were plans to visit the seaside at La Spezia but the weather decided to play dirty. After such a wonderful stroll at Cagnes-sur-Mer, we didn’t want to stare at the sea from under sodden umbrellas; what would be the point? So we pushed on, tunnel after tunnel, gloriously phone signal trolling, and extremely scary at times. The clouds were also quite happy to come down close and have a look at the cars too…
Turning inland the weather definitely improved, and I had the privilege of seeing the Piazza dei Miracoli at Pisa as we whizzed past on the Auto-bumps-strada. Lit up in the sun, it truly made me want to visit again. I had the oddest feeling as I went past Pisa Airport; given that is my airport of choice for Italy, it finally felt like I’d arrived in the country. That I was truly here. I can’t explain it but the wise one said it was all about context.
The roads leading up to Volterra had that clichéd beauty that has been featured in every posh glossy magazine, which has me slightly nauseated. I wasn’t hankering after the sexy dirtiness of previous journey stretches, but perhaps I wanted something slightly more honest. Still, we were now stuck behind the slowest truck whilst climbing the hill. Earpopping should be an Olympic sport…
You know those really annoying people who drive through medieval streets? Trapping pedestrians at the side of the road, between fruit stalls and marble statues? Yes, well that was us. The most direct route to the hotel was through this gem of a town, down slippery stone streets, so we squeaked around every corner…until we arrived at La Laconda. I popped in to find out about parking and we made the little car secure. We returned, to be shown a stunning room with a high tiled and oak beamed ceiling, with two tiny windows with a view to make you weep.
Tired-fuzzy head had now disappeared as we trotted off into town for an immediate look round. The
I’m not going to wax lyrical about the pizza, but the wine was lovely, and the golden grappa lovely. The flirty one had been making eyes at this sweet innocent young man, so he was very happy to join us for drinks. Proof, if any was needed, that I can actually speak excellent English, was confirmed by the gentleman being able to understand me. They don’t teach northern in German schools, clearly. Anyway after a discussion covering everything from Brexit to marmite, the journey, and what people do in Volterra – tourism and geothermal energy, mostly – we let the poor man go, and headed home. Personally I think he was up for a proper night out…
Sensibly we went home to write!