Pretty early start after a quick breakfast – on the road north before 9:00. Actually went thru a very small part of Firenza after taking a wrong turn, then got onto the motorway for a bit.
At one point we were stuck behind a smelly big truck and there were lights and sirens behind us – it was a ‘search and rescue’ type of vehicle, not really an ambulance, but definitely on a mission. We slowed and pulled over (as much as we could on the narrow road) but the truck ahead of us didn’t even try. When the emergency vehicle did pass the truck he stuck his hand out the window – Colin wondered why he was thanking the truck but I was pretty sure he was giving the truck driver the finger. Awhile later Colin saw a helicopter that looked like it was airlifting someone out – perhaps an injured hiker or something that the van that had passed us was speeding to help.
We exited the motorway to go north to Pistoia, then partway across the Appennines northwest thru Abetone to Pievepelago, where we stopped for lunch. It was a small cafe with a nice outdoor area. Colin ordered a proscuitto and cheese panini, which turned out to be two pieces of white bread, not even toasted like a panini should be, and no condiments of any kind. About 15 or 20 minutes later my tortellini and wine finally arrived – and the pasta was just excellent. It was stuffed with ricotta with a light covering of crushed tomatoes and was hand-made – really tasty.
When I went in to pay an older lady was there in addition to our waiter – I think she might have been the cook (and maybe his grandmother) because when I said how delicious my pasta had been she started talking with me. I told her I was from Canada and she thought that was quite something – she went on a bit in Italian and I didn’t actually catch much of it but she was pretty happy.
We decided to pick a campground to go to and chose one in Zocca that wasn’t supposed to be that far away. We couldn’t find it on the map so keyed it into the GPS – talk about taking the ‘scenic route’ to get there. I’m only partly kidding – it was very picturesque (as the whole drive today had been) but darned if we could find the campground once we got to Zocca. We must have gone up almost every road, and asked some very kind people for directions, before we finally found it. One fellow, that was a long way down a very small road, told us that the road ended at his house – we couldn’t turn around as the road was too narrow, but we could follow it to the end and just drive right around his house.
Once we located the campground the cook came out and told us that the owner wasn’t there at the moment but she showed us where we could park and plug-in, etc. We went to the bar for a glass of wine and the owner returned – took our passports for a minute, then said we could pay, etc when we left in the morning. He asked if we might want dinner – after my large lunch I said maybe only a salad, but Colin said he’d have a meal. Much of the menu here is organic, and actually grown here, and tonight there is no meat.
There are at least two cats and two dogs that have free-run of the place, including the bar and restaurant. The cats are both pretty small, and one of the dogs is fairly large – looks like a cross between a german shepherd and a lab or something – all are very friendly.
Dinner was so good – started with some really nice wine, then an antipasto plate, along with my mixed green salad. The antipasto was excellent – six or seven different things and all were hand-made and delicious – humous, chickpeas with tomato, focaccia, soft white cheese and other things – not sure what it all was, other than it tasted great. The salad was so fresh – grated zucchini, fresh garden peas, lovely greens – very refreshing. Colin had the pasta – I believe it was rigatoni with tomato sauce – he said it was good. The owner told us that the cook had only been there about a month so he was very happy when we told him how good the meal was.
Had a wonderful long hot shower after dinner, and tried not to stay up too late reading.