Sunday, 23 August 2009

Tuscany: Part 1

23 August 2009

New farm, new people, new jobs.

We arrived at Tenuta di Valgiano after our long travel from Istanbul to Milan and from there to Luca. All the travelling went without incident and we quite enjoyed sleeping on the airport on Sunday evening as we found a big McDonald’s with long leather seats that served as beds to all the backpackers and other smart travellers sleeping over in the airport. The other, not so smart people, were sleeping elsewhere on small airport seats and concrete floors. The train ride was long and hot and we should have known the temperature in our compartment was a sign of things to come as the temperature here reaches the 30’s at about 10:00 in the morning.

We don’t realise how hot it is in the morning at the moment though, because we’re washing the crates they use to pick the grapes in with a water blast. We’re working from 8:00 until 12:00, after that it is too hot to do anything except sleep or swim. However, by 10:00 when you are soaked and still in the shade it gets very cold and this morning we had to rest for about 20 minutes to let the sun reach the spot where we were working to prevent hypothermia. I also developed a nasty cold because of this and at the moment my voice is sounding a bit like a sexy stripper’s, that’s if I can manage to talk between sneezing and sniffing.

On Friday we drove up the Apennine mountains to a restaurant very high up. The view was amazing, the food lovely and the weather absolutely perfect. It’s a lot cooler up there than down here and it was a bit of a shock to arrive back in this heat and humidity again. First thing when we set foot out of the car was that another bug bit Marike, what a lovely welcome back. The mountains were lovely though, it’s just like I imagined the Alps and Heidi’s theme song was stuck in my head the whole time we were there.

Although there are only three people who can speak English everyone is very friendly and try to communicate with us. They are saying that we will begin picking white grapes next week as it is too hot for them and the red ones probably the week after. It also sounds like we will have real early mornings next week and only pick until lunch time... I wanted summer weather and boy have I got it.

The people Marike worked for in England was so kind as to offer us a few days stay in their villa nearby, so we'll probably go and stay there for the last three days we’re in Italy to rest before we set of on our Contiki tour. I’m afraid I might have bitten off a bit more than I could chew and we won’t really enjoy the Contiki tour if we have to start it feeling the way we did on Monday. Hopefully it all works out.

That’s it for this week. No real funny incidents so far but we are having lunch underneath a big tree with a view and a bunch of Italian people and eating real tasty Italian food (with meat) every day, so I can now tick that on my list. Some other Wwoofers from New Zeeland and the USA will also arrive soon and the local people that help with the picking every year, so we should have the festive harvest atmosphere real soon. We did go walking for 10km yesterday without the proper shoes for an ice cream after under estimating the distance to the closest town considerably, so today we’re both trying to recover and just enjoying a real chilled Sunday. Another one of those real bad decisions. At least we only have three more weeks to try and top the last one.

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