Thursday, 10 May 2012

Arrivederci Toscano

Arghhh! We have been brutally unplugged from the internet. I meant to do a final Italy post on Monday before we left Tuscany, but wifi on top of a mountain is a little inconsistent and it was off for most of the day. We have no internet in our new accommodation so we are relying on the local café hotspot.

So, a catch-up post. Our final few days in Tuscany were wonderful. We drove over the mountains to the coast to Forte dei Marmi, where rich Romans and Florentians go for their holidays. I was hoping to spot George Clooney having lunch in one of the chic bistros, but no luck.

Hoping to see George
Pier at Forte dei Marmi - spot mountains we drove over in background

Forte dei Marmi has a nice sandy beach, so that kept everyone entertained until it was time for pizza, gelato and another scary drive over the mountains.

I love the beach

Saturday was Rob’s birthday and, simple man that he is, all he wanted to do was go on a picnic. We found a nice grassy spot by the river and pigged out on local salami and cheese, followed by a stone skimming competition.

Rob knows that, as much as I love local cheese and salami, no holiday for me is complete without a couple of decent meals that I haven’t had to cook. I know that there is little he hates more than sitting in a nice restaurant trying to entertain the children, so I was very grateful that he agreed to go to Restorante Butterfly for lunch. Michelin starred deliciousness here we come!

Waiting for Michelin-starred spaghetti

The waiters were very gracious in finding us an unobtrusive place to sit and supplying some simple pasta and tomato sauce for the children. This pasta was so wonderful I could have eaten it as well as my own three courses. Silky with olive oil, Florence, of course, declared it not very nice and refused to eat more than one bite.

I'm not eating that!
In case you are interested I ate: confit pork with terrine of pig’s head, cuttlefish spaghetti with ink, pigeon three ways – breast, itty-bitty legs and liver pate sandwiched between two tiny discs of bitter chocolate.  A truly memorable meal.


Rob had foie gras for his secondi platti, which Freddie tried and seemed to enjoy.

I love foie gras

Monday was our last day in Tuscany and we woke to a lovely sunny day. We drove into Lucca, hired a family bike and cycled round the city walls. Freddie saw this as a prime opportunity for some baby acrobatics and stood up the whole time, occasionally trying to climb out. A nun looked at us a bit disapprovingly, but Rob kept a tight hold on his jumper the whole time. More pizza and gelato at our favourite places and then home to get packed up.

In the evening we walked down to the bar in the village and had a final aperitivo before putting the children to bed. The local one is campari based with additions of gin, red vermouth, orange or lemon juice and champagne depending on where you go. 

Everything was packed in the car before we went to bed and we got up at 4.30am in the hope that the children would go back to sleep for part of the 7 hour journey to Abondance in France.

This kind of worked and the trip was pretty straightforward thanks to the GPS Lady whom I am warming to. Apart from a screaming fit on Freddie’s part as we ascended the Alps, the kids were great and we were here by lunchtime.

Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment including our snow adventures!

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