Friday, October 14, 2016

Getting A Real Taste Of Italy....In Chianti.....

A giant old, stone farmhouse in the middle of 100 acres of abandoned vineyards in the Chianti area of Italy is where we are hanging out these days.  Needless to say our views are breathtaking and we are so fortunate to be here. We are 20 minutes outside of the city of Siena and within an hours drive into Florence.

The Big Old House

Since this old house is SO huge with about twenty rooms in total, the homeowners have it sectioned off because they don't use the whole thing. We have a private entrance that leads to our corner of the home with a private bedroom and bath.  Until the homeowners leave for their vacation we are sharing the one kitchen. Our days are spent out exploring so we might see the lady of the house for breakfast before heading out for the day.  At her request we have had the pleasure of dining with our hosts for dinner for the past two nights.  Such a fascinating couple that are educating us about wine, Italian life, and giving us a TRUE taste of Italy!

Our Entrance

Terrace where we have a wonderful view

He is Italian originally from the Milan area while she is from the US, around Nebraska but has lived here for twenty some years now. They have one son together who lives in the US with his American wife.

Views From The Terrace
These are the old vineyards
that they chopped down after many years 

A few of their 200 Olive Trees

Dinner with our hosts begins around 8pm since Europeans tend to eat late.  Our first dinner was a scrumptious meal of turkey leg baked with peppers and served alongside baked fennel.  About the only thing I knew about fennel is that it's made into a tea used for medicinal purposes.  When I was sick as a kid my mother would make me drink fennel tea that I hated, thus souring my tastes for it. But amazingly enough the fennel our host served was baked, topped with parmesan cheese, spices, bread crumbs and drizzled with olive oil. It was delicious and surely something we'll be putting into our food repertoire. For an additional treat we were served bread along with their home made olive oil from last years crop.  WOW! We only thought we knew what olive oil tasted like but this stuff was superb. Light, clear, delicately flavored and surely a favorite to our taste buds. The new crop of olive oil comes out in November we've been told so perhaps we can manage to find some next month here. And for dessert some sliced baked apples topped with butter, cookies crumbs and spices.

The Chickens

And dinner would not be complete without abundant wine, something that warms the soul and body. First our hosts served white wine with the meal later followed up by red wine for dessert. When asked why I received a lesson about white always comes before red due to it's heavy flavor.  We also learned about wine glasses and how the pricier glasses make the wine taste better. Since our wine usually comes out of a box we're know little about the stuff. It was explained that the wine is served in a large glass so it can be smelled before drank to get the true flavor.  We have a lot to learn about wine but surely our time here in Italy will be invaluable!

Last night for dinner our host made a scrumptious turkey soup with rice followed by a more traditional Italian dish, eggs with cheese.  First large chunks of cheese were fried to a crispy goodness while other cheeses melted along with the olive oil.  The whole mixture was then topped with eggs, sunny side up and drizzled with hot pepper sauce. Strange but delicious and something we never would have experienced had we not been here with these wonderful folks.

When our hosts take off for their vacation we'll be in charge of two chickens that live outside in a pen. And because this house is way out in the middle of nowhere, they want a presence here while they are gone. But they still have no set plans as to when or where they'll be going it might be a few more days yet. Since they just bought a new car he wants to drive from here into France and then into Spain.  They have to be in Barcelona for a party in early November so ultimately that's where they are headed.  Both are 75 years old yet still love to travel especially within Europe.

Yesterday we went out to explore some of Siena looking for some warm clothes to wear.  From what everyone says the weather is unseasonably cold for this time of year.  They started up the furnace yesterday mainly for us.  But it is in fact ILLEGAL to start up the heat before November 1st in Italy according to law, although they say no one goes out to check. Daytime temperatures have reached only 50 degrees while the nights dipped down to a cool 40.  Add to that the rain which causes a damp even cooler feel. But between the heat and a heated mattress pad on our bed we're staying toasty warm.

We knew when we left hot, humid Panama that we would experience colder temperatures here in Europe.  But despite the cool temps here we are in Italy, exploring amazing castles, tasting wonderful new foods and living rent free in someone else's house.  Life is good and it doesn't get much better than travelling the world with my best friend and lover at my side in Italy......along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

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