|Siena to Padova
Waking up in a castle was fun. As I opened the wooden shutters I was greeted by a misty fog which seemed fitting for this regal sort of life, you could definitely imagine looking out over your mignons and wondering what sort of delectable delights your cook would be brewing up for the day. Orson slept in till 5am, which was a vast improvement so Simon and I did our first in-room gym workouts, which proved to be quite intensive. We both felt better afterward. I even ran a couple of laps of the driveway, great setting. The jet-lag seems to be fading.
At 8 o’clock we climbed the stairs to breakfast. Nicola had set us up in a room on our own (which was gr8 because Ors did get up a few times and run around the table) away from the honeymooners. The spread included coco pops for the children, but served in a large mug with warm latte, salami and cheese for the parents with coffee followed by croissants and sweet pastry. All this was eaten with a view of the olive grove. I really enjoyed it. I could definitely live in this part of the world - the lifestyle and views are lovely.
Nicola took us up into the tower after breakfast, Siena was still hidden by the mist but it was a great view despite that. Then we packed up and said ciao to him, Joya and the cats (not before purchasing some wine and olive oil) and began our drive to Padova.
And so began our first foray off the itinerary… As we approached Firenze the signs for Pisa Nord began to pop up. Maybe, maybe. Before we new it we were heading for the torre pendante, the ‘tower pending’. It was a little further than we had hoped but would make us the best parents in the world.
Arriving in Pisa is like rocking up to an amusement park or concert. The streets are lined with traders selling mini towers, tees and magnets, any keepsake you can imagine (although not as many lamps as I remember as a 12 year old ). It all felt like an ‘event’. The weather helped too, the sun beamed down on these majestic white structures. The grass was green. The sky was blue. We wandered along watching the punters with their hand up in the air and could not resist taking a couple of those silly push/pull/catch photos ourselves.
We had a delightful lunch of gnocchi, pizza and lasagna, vino and juice followed by gelato. It was relaxing and I even enjoyed securing Audrey a faux Prada handbag from a street trader, talked him down down from 35Euro to 13 – superstar!
Paova was a little further than we thought, so after a long drive we google mapped it into town and thankgod for that because the old city was a rabbit warren of one way streets. The hotel Eden was pretty basic and we would all be sleeping n a very small space. The man at reception sent us to his fav pizza joint and it ended up being great except that I mistakenly ordered the shredded horse pizza (much to Simon's delight - he read cavali as cavello nero) but thought I was getting the vegetarian.
After dinner we walked to the main square outside the church and kids went crazy running around while I bought little sets of religious bead bracelets. It was lovely to enjoy the space as the sun set and then as the night mass finished we were overrun by the hoards exiting.