Long travel, but finally arrived. Heather picks me up at the airport and whisks me away. We stop off in Lucca (for lunch) and I pick up my SIM card for my Italian telefonino (which gives me an Italian phone number) and buy some minutes. So easy and inexpensive to purchase minutes, 5 Euros for 100 minutes a week (I highly recommend ‘unlocking’ an extra iphone which allows it to be used in Europe). Off to on the way to Casabasciana, where her home is at.
I had forgotten how beautiful the Tuscan countryside is. Last year I was here in January and it was cold. The weather now is warm, sunny and just beautiful. I intend on driving while I am here for a couple months so I am paying particular attention to Heather’s driving/maneuvering and becoming increasingly apprehensive as I thought it would be easier in the countryside. I thought less traffic would allow me the opportunity to make it happen. We will see… they drive just as ‘crazy’ in the countryside with roundabouts and cutting through lanes. Heather jokingly advises “you know they do this as sport” as a car jumps right out in front of us from a illegal parked position on the side of the road. “They only move onto the road when they are sure a car is coming” lol.
As we drive up the mountain, I take in the breathtaking views, but start to wonder “how will I be getting down from this mountain without a car”? We park and she advises about where to park so no rolling boulders will damage the car. I grab my luggage and trek through the winding narrow walkways between the homes and arriving at her courtyard. I settle in to my room as she advises I have the entire floor to myself. wow. This is wonderful. My sitting room is probably as big as my first floor in the USA, there are fireplaces everywhere to heat the areas of the home in winter and in the summer, the fact we are high up on a mountain and these stone buildings provide natural cooling.
We go to the local store (which is a second floor room in a building in the village) to buy our food for dinner for the two of us. Cute. I start to meet the local villagers who wonder who the new American is and why he is in this remote village on top of a mountain. lol. We purchase our steak and potatoes and asparagus which we then cook together while drinking local wines while we cook. Great time catching up with Heather and finding out what we both hope to gain from this adventure together. Heather starts to list her business issues and I take notes…
I am learning that byproduct of this adventure is definitely going to be weight loss for me. Heather is very Healthy at 68 years old. She looks 50. I am taken aback and hope I look as good at her age. She adds no added sugar to anything and uses very little seasonings when she cooks. She’s a purist. I am also learning some cooking techniques and in general slowing down to take care of myself. I start to realize how hectic daily life is in the USA and how the focus here is on ‘living’ and not just ‘getting through the day’….