Back in 1999, as I started to stretch my restless hummingbird wings and yearn to travel, I took a trip. I was heading to Europe for 6 months – France in particular – to challenge my solitude after a divorce and I wanted a means to commencing the journey with a hand to hold. In discussion over caffe lattes at a local cafe, a new acquaintance and I discovered a mutual desire to explore the Tuscan hills. Frances Mayes’ book , “Bella Tuscany” had whetted our appetites. Before we knew it, we had booked a 3 week tour which would see the two of us walking together in glorious Spring sunshine amongst villages and vineyards across almost 200km. It remains one of my favourite holidays ever; a perfect combination of laughter and new friendship and beauty and movement. Throughout it all, I kept prodigious journals. Here is an excerpt from a particularly memorable day as we rested from the trail in a Castello which dates from the Middle Ages. Set high above surrounding countryside between Montalcino & Pienza, it is still owned and inhabited by the Contessa and her family – descendants of the owners from 1438….
We are now at Ripa d’Orcia & have a quiet day to soak up the atmosphere of this enchanted place.
Over everything is the sound of the wind – very now and then a breeze catches the cipressi and the soft swish of air through deep green leaves overlays all the other murmurs and sounds.
This is truly living.
I am complete!