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By The Last Ditch
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Flagging in Tuscany

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We hit the road on Monday morning. We hit it slowly because the bus driver’s lean and hungry look did not signal, like Cassius, that he thought too much, or perhaps at all. He was taken by surprise by road works that had been going on for days, by Monday morning traffic that must be routine and by the location of the hotel in a building that had stood there for centuries. In consequence the group waited outside in the heat with their bags for an hour and then had to carry them down the street to the nearest spot where he would deign to park.

None of this should have been my concern but Speranza and I waited for yon Cassius’s input on where to meet in San Gimignano. His knowledge of that delightful town proved however not to extend beyond the coach park as to which his only information was that we would not be permitted anywhere near it.

The roadworks and an earlier accident on the autostrada made for a slow, tormented exit from the city. A colleague came along for the ride and we began with the roof down in anticipation of a boulevard cruise. After half an hour of near stationary baking while marinating in diesel fumes we put it back up for air conditioned relief.

Eventually we reached the winding Tuscan roads for which Speranza is designed and had a little automotive fun before a mad dog / Englishman climb up a steep dirt path from the car park. I love San Gimignano but a combination of sweaty exhaustion and happy memories of a family trip long ago tinged it with melancholy this time. I got one shot I liked of a stone head on a parapet before retreating to a dark cool interior for beer and ice cream.

The run from San Gimignano to our home in Castello de Gargonza was much more like it. The way was clear and winding, the scenery was scenic and as a Brit I had no cause to fear the controllo elettronica della velocita. Our hotel is a medieval village on a hill and is beautiful. I was too exhausted to join the introductory tour and may regret that later. At the time a cold shower and a clean shirt was a more enticing prospect. 

After a lighting demonstration in a garden washed with golden Tuscan light, we ended the day at an elegant table on a lawn and refreshed our artistic souls with local food and wine.


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