It poured rain all night long and was still coming down the next morning. There was a large sportiv on and as we tried to follow two other campervans out we were stopped by a traffic marshall. After waiting several minutes and no riders appearing we took off the short distance to the upper parking area and dealt with our black water.
Heading along south we were dodging the sportiv riders the whole way until well past Erba. The racers the day before had such better weather and conditions – I felt a bit sorry for the sportiv riders, but they were a bit of a pain clogging up the road.
We didn’t go all the way to Papiano, but stopped instead at a lovely town in Toscana – Castellina in Chianti. There was an aire just at the edge of the town centre so we joined several other campervans for the evening.
The next morning as we were finishing our tea a policeman pulled up and started checking all of the campervans. It turns out that ‘any parking area with blue lines’ means we should be paying to stay. We hadn’t seen the ticket machine which was way down at one end but the fellow was very nice and waited while Colin went and got a ticket.
We took a walk all along the main street of the town – I can imagine that in the summer it’s a fairly crowded place. They’ve made an effort to make it attractive and friendly – lots of nice little shops and cafes, with of course, the usual excellent italian coffee.
At one old door there was a basket with some very large rabbits in it, along with a donation box for their care – Colin made a deposit.
We decided to go grocery shopping in the larger nearby town of Poggibonsi, then continue our journey from there.
We got diverted off the route we wanted and ended up having to turn back when we came to a walled entrance to one of the little towns and the gateway was too narrow for us to pass. Several locals waited patiently while we did a u-turn – luckily there was a nice wide driveway right there so it wasn’t a problem.
We stopped again at Asciano for the night – we’ve now been there several times as it’s on the Strade Bianche route and we like the area. The next day was a nice short trip to Papiano to finish cleaning out the house. The first thing we did was throw a load of laundry in, and as soon as the water was hot enough each had a nice shower. It’s amazing how good a shower can make you feel when you haven’t had one in so long!
It was really nice to see Antonio and a few of the other locals down at the bar – unfortunately there’s also mr. creepy. We stopped at the yard with the turtles – the babies are going sleepy for the winter but the fellow showed us one of the big ones that was still about. One of it’s feet had been injured and it looked like it had lost several toes but otherwise was ok.
We arranged with Antonio to get one of the local guys to help us move all of the stuff from the cellar to the campervan – he’ll come by tomorrow afternoon.
We took the opportunity of being in the area to get haircuts from our favourite hairdresser. He’s opened his own place in the village of Pila so it was a bit of a drive but we’re both very happy with the results. Note: a couple of the photos are from the previous year – they’re not actually still requiring masks in Italy.
We got a couple more loads of laundry done, and the helper arrived with his girlfriend and a small trailer in tow around 5:30. Two loads later the cellar was fairly empty and the ‘garage’ in the campervan was stuffed full – I’m actually amazed that everything squished in.
We’ve been feeding chairman meow, and he now has a friend as well. We left some extra food with Rita as she takes care of them in Angelo’s absence – he’s now working in Rome.
The bell in the tower is working again, although it doesn’t seem quite as melodious as it used to be.
Leaving in the morning was again sad, but even if the house does sell we’ll still come back to Papiano now and then to say hi to some of the people – others…not.
We took ‘the scenic route’ to Grosseto on the west coast, passing through some very beautiful countryside along the way and including the towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino. There are some very nice wines produced in the area, and also lots of olive oil.
Grosseto is on a large plain and it’s a very short drive to the sea – the beaches are lovely and wide and the sand is very fine. It’s not crowded now but in summer I bet it’s packed. There are large restaurants all along but most of them seem to be closed already.
Colin and I have both had colds although he’s more affected by his than I am by mine. It’s very unusual for either of us to be sick so we’re just taking it easy parked in the large parking area. I’ve been taking the dogs for nice long walks while Colin rests and hopefully feels better soon.