My brother and I got up and had a walk, mostly inside the walls. We walked past Del Duca, up by the park walls and along the prison fences. We then walked back towards town on the road, but ducked right towards our carpark, before swinging a left at the Alab’Arte workshop. I don’t come here too often, as it’s purely residential – but a change is a good as a rest. We then took the stairs down towards Docciola, before swinging back on stairs to the left. My brother is a hiker, so I wanted to take him on an uppy-downy route (I think that’s what they’re officially called!).
The light that morning was strange, and somehow brighter and more yellow than normal than it usually is on a morning – perhaps some haze diffused the bright sun. Some of the photos as a result (I think!) are wonderful.
We wandered around the carpark in the north-eastern corner of the walls, before taking a look at the Roman theatre ruins and the hills and Apuan Alps beyond. Then we went to Porta San Francesco and from there to Porta San Felice. Finally, what killed us off was the monster climb up Via della Pietraia, at the top of which I took the last shot of the rainbow. It’s a good route, as it takes you all over the town, and keeps cardio going with hillclimbs. We were suitably sweaty by then and headed back to the apartment to eat and shower.
I used to get folded and battered weekly by a Thai lady (they call it massaged), and found it enormously beneficial. I hadn’t had one in a long time, and I felt a little tight after recent walks around Volterra. The problem is, you can’t find a Thai massage place within 20km of Volterra. In fact, the one I found that seemed reputable and was getting good scores on Google (Ban Thai) in Pontedera. We left our guest behind us, as we had every intention of returning in time for lunch.
We parked and I left Niamh off while I went to the place. Niamh crossed the railway tracks into the older part of town (recommended, by the way) for shopping. The shop was closed… d’oh! I called and found out she was open for appointments only. I managed to talk her into giving me an hour. She arrived a few minutes later, and I was suitably chastised into remembering to book in advance next time. In fairness to her, her anger didn’t show in the massage, and I was out an hour later – suitably energised and limber.
I found Niamh about 20 minutes later, and looking at the clock and feeling the aching emptiness in our tummies we decided to forsake my brother and go to lunch. A quick call later (we’d let him know he should take care of lunch himself), we went to a nearby Chinese place. If you are a regular reader, you’ll know that we are on an eternal quest to find a Chinese restaurant in Tuscany that does Western-Chinese stirfries tolerably well (fried rice and dumplings are pretty good). After talking to several ex-pats and Italians about this, it would seem that our quest is in vain – but we are nothing if not stubborn (and hungry), and so we carry on regardless.
So now we took our fight to Pontedera. We completely bypassed the Piaggio Museum (Piaggio being the manufacturer of the Italian ‘Vespa’ scooters and ‘Ape’ 3-wheeled mini-mini-vans. We’ll have to go there for another vlog and blog. La Felicità is tantilisingly opposite the museum, but we were just too focused on our bellies.
Some of the resulting meal was nice – again, the dumplings and rice – but the curry was ok, and the chicken with peppers we ordered was like so many other stir-fries: soy and salt. Cheap. I figure that Italians don’t particularly like their veggies mixed in with their meat, so Chinese restaurants tend to give less of a crap about stir fries. It bothers me! Still, there are worse things happening in the world!
Once fed, we waddled back to the car and headed home. I snuck a granita in from L’Isola del Gusto, and then chilled for the afternoon.
That evening we went to the piazza for dinner – to Ristorante Etruria to be precise. As we had all been fed that afternoon just had a single course. They gave us some nice salted flatbread to whet our appetites. It is a touristy place, but sometimes it’s nice to eat in the square, and it has something for everyone.
Ok, maybe more than one course!
We finished off a relaxing evening with a short stroll to Antica Velathri Café for a couple of beers/cocktails.
Home and screen-watching! Thanks for reading to the end. Please leave a comment or question, I’d love to hear from you!