June 2nd, 2016
the day I dared to dream about
It is here.
The first dare to dream walk is now!
I am filled with a mélange of
-Can I physically do this?
-I can’t wait to do this!
-I dared to dream
I get to do this!
Fueled with the hotel restaurant’s
washed down with a few cups of that delicious Italian style mocha cappuccino,
that I will now take any way they want to prepare it
Finally, the time has come…
Time to meet Gabriele
-the last “e” of his name pronounced with an up swing making the ending “lee”,
which for some reason makes his name sound delightful to me.
We head outside to the back patio where waiting for us on the table is our future 8 days of bliss
~ Walking the white ribbon roads of Tuscany~
We see maps & various papers organized in plastic folders,
everything we may need on this self guided walking tour
A smiling Gabrielle standing there waiting to explain it all to us.
Gabrielle will be our person in Italy from GIROSOLE Tours
He shows us how to use all that he has laid out
I listen intently, a newbie to this
I keep my mouth shut not wanting to interrupt his flow of instruction.
I don’t want to miss a thing.
He produces a phone with his number programmed in it
–lost, rain or what???
what did he just say?
…if we need to be rescued he’s our guy
– just call.
Ok, got it he asked?
…we got it, we answer
as T scoops up the plastic folders and I put the phone in my pocket
zipped up safe.
This makes perfect sense that T should have the Maps
but… I want the maps
Maps I know (Thank you Dad),
iphones – I mostly know
…this little Italian phone,
just like the ATM machines
will be a challenge
…this I also know.
Off we go in the van to be driven to Montalcino- the start of our self guided walking tour.
Gabrielle is easy to listen to.
He speaks English perfectly
but with that Italian accent that would make
a girl in her 20s (or 80s)
swoon and fall hard
for this good looking young man who is very likable.
He’s an avid skier and has skied and worked in some of the famous snow spots in the USA,
but his favorite place to ski is near here, just across the Alps in France.
Even though I have driven this road from Siena to Montalcino before,
today everything seems new.
Being with someone who can tell you what goes on here has my full attention
~I forget to worry about my walking ability~
As we look out the van windows he tells us what we will see, what is being harvested now, what just finished and what will be next.
This area is still very much about the land, but as with most places,
The young are moving away for new and bigger lives.
Some, like Gabrielle are moving back,
getting that bigger is not always better
He has settled in the hillside outside Siena with his “girl”
-still living off the land,
but in a different way than his ancestors.
His generation is making their living from tourists who come to see their lands.
Some are restoring farm houses and converting them to agriturismos
for tourist to stay,
and others like Gabrielle’s family
transport tourist in their discoveries of this beautiful spot on our planet.
Before we know it, we are in front of our hotel – home for the next 2 nights.
Hotel Dei Capitani,
We walk into the small lobby where there is a bit of confusion as people are checking out
while we want to check in.
Gabrielle quickly handles it
-he puts our luggage aside, speaks some words to the desk clerk
and then turns to us
with his parting words,
call if you need me, if not I will see you in 9 days.
I am a little startled by the transition
I don’t know what I expected
…probably to go to our rooms and leisurely get it together for the first walk
– but no, it’s now-
… ready or not.
We grab our bags & go to a quite side room
next to the too cold to use now pool,
and get ourselves ready to go on a walk in that magnificent valley which we see before us
The trail to this first walk starts quickly as we make a right out of the hotel doors and within minutes leave the town and move into the countryside.
It feels sooooo good.
I find the rhythm right away
on this short 3 ½ mile loop into the vineyards-
which is just a taste of what is to come in the following days.
The colors of the leaves say fall,
the briskness in the air is fall,
and when the sun shine falls it warms the cool crystal clear air
which I breathe in straight to my soul.
I see the hotel and what will be
my room window get smaller in the distance
with a turn of my head
I look far over the vineyards with their golden leaves, just turning red.
Up close we make friends
with two horses- one black, one white
They come quickly
to our outstretched hands offering them
newly picked small apples from the roadside trees.
They love that we have passed by on this quiet road and we love that they have come to greet us.
We drink from grapes pulled off the vines.
Tiny purple bubbles filled with sweetness
burst in my mouth
with just enough juice to quench my thirst.
We watch a cartoon staring the neighboring ranch dogs.
The puppy beagle just needs to run for the fun of it
and his more mature neighbor
– who looks like a bichon, except black and much taller-
decides for the little guys sake he needs to direct him back home all the way around the corner
and stand at the end of the long drive not leaving until he makes certain the young one is staying put.
Then with his work done, he proudly trots back to his ranch.
Before we know it we are back in Montalcino.
I have shed my outer layers,
cleared any cobwebs from my mind, and with my pants rolled up I am breathing steady.
I have just walked thru breathless wonder.
Following white ribbon roads, which curve gently
sloping up and down.
With this first walk, I have shook off the
can-I-do-this walk jitters
have turned my face towards the sun
….ready for whatever comes next
Café Fiaschetteria Italiana
a story onto itself.