|By the time I walked down the steep steps to the produce truck, it was surrounded with no less than 10 locals residents, anxious to buy their weekly supply of fruits and veggies.|
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Today’s photos are from July 18, 2018, while in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy. See the link here for more details.
Recently, we’ve been including past photos from the three months we spent in the summer of 2013 in a small village, high in the mountains of Tuscany, Italy. It seems so long ago and yet the memories of Boveglio remain fresh in our minds as if it was yesterday.
It was early on in our travels when we arrived in Italy, only eight months after we left Minnesota on October 31, 2012, the date we consider as when we first began our travels.
A misconception about our travel dates may revolve around the fact that we didn’t actually leave the US until January 3, 2013, when we embarked on our first cruise from San Diego, California to Miami, Florida during which our ship transited through the Panama Canal, sailed to the Caribbean and disembarked in Miami, Florida.
|It felt awkward taking photos so I did so discretely. I was the only tourist in the bunch as I heard the locals chatting on endlessly in Italian. I did my usual smiling and head nodding, hiding my camera under my shirt.|
From there, we stayed with friend Carol for three nights in Boca Raton, Florida while awaiting our next cruise. From there, we sailed on another cruise disembarking in Belize. We rented a property on a peninsula, Placencia, far from the chaotic capital of Belize, City.
In April, we sailed on a few more cruises including a transatlantic cruise, a Meditteranean cruise, another cruise through the Suez Canal and the Middle East a two-week stay in Dubai, later flying to Barcelona, from which we cruised to Venice. Once in Venice, we toured along the canals and exquisite city, eventually traveling on to Boveglio, a 4½ hour drive, until we reached the 300-year-old stone house we’d rented for three months.
The GPS on our phones wasn’t working while high in the mountains of Tuscany, but somehow we managed to find the property, hauling our then excess amount of luggage up steep stone steps to the property.
Once situated in what was our third holiday home outside the US (Belize, Dubai, and Italy) at that time, we had an opportunity to relax and enjoy our time in the gorgeous setting in a pristine historic village.
|More fruit than vegetables, I was unable to replenish our supply of cauliflower but purchased other vegetables.|
Of course, we had to make major adaptations, as we’d done in Belize and Dubai. It was summer and very hot with no air-con or fans, not even in the bedroom. Nor were no screens on the windows. At night, sleeping was intermittent with mosquitoes buzzing around our heads.
During the day, we were bombarded by giant flies, sometimes horseflies, and other flying insects when we had to leave the windows open for airflow. While preparing meals and when dining in the typical Italian kitchen, which we loved, the flies were relentless.
At one point, we asked the owners for suggestions. They came with cheesecloth and a staple gun to fashion some form of screens, but on the first windy day, the makeshift screens flew out the windows. We didn’t bother them again. We swatted the flies and mosquitoes.
As typical in a 300-year-old stone house, the beams and door frames were very low. Frequently, in the beginning, we both banged our heads several times a day. We eventually learned to keep our heads down when we moved from room to room.
|Here’s what I purchased today for a grand total of Euro $4.09, US $5.33. Prices were better at the grocery store but the freshness and convenience made it worth paying more.|
The access to the veranda to hang laundry required a dangerous climb from the indoor stone stairway to an opening, halfway up the stairs. We proceeded with caution when we often went out to the veranda to pick the fresh vegetables the owners had planted for us in various pots. We proceeded with caution each time and thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and spices.
The most challenging issue, was the fact that no one in the area, including our landlords, spoke any English. For three months, we dined in restaurants, shopped at the local markets, and somehow communicated with the neighbors, the landlords, the cleaner, and the pharmacist, learning a few words as we went along.
The WiFi signal was so bad the only place we could get an adequate signal to prepare our posts and conduct research for future travels was near an open window or on the tiny veranda accessed through one of the bedrooms.
We couldn’t watch the old-style tiny TV when everything was in Italian nor could we download and stream movies or TV series with the weak signal. Fortunately, previously, we’d downloaded lots of books on our phones and spent most evenings reading while we swatted the persistent mozzies off our screens.
|Hesitantly, I handed the vendor a single bill for Euro $50, (US $65.10), concerned she’d refuse the larger bill. No problemo! She had a fanny pack filled with money!|
Amid all of this, we wouldn’t trade the experience of those three months for anything in the world. It was there in Tuscany, Italy in the tiny village of Boveglio, that we learned how important adaptation would be as we continued on our world travels.
No, it wouldn’t always be easy and most often, in one way or another, it wasn’t. Perhaps, as we sit here today on day 117 in lockdown in a standard hotel room in Mumbai, India, unable to go outdoors, have a cocktail, eat a variety of meals, socialize, wash our clothes in a washer, hear birds singing, pick a flower from a garden or see any of Mother Nature’s wonders, we’re somehow managing just fine.
Was the past almost eight years of adaptation instrumental in making this experience tolerable? Most likely, yes. We’re grateful for what we’ve learned and the gift of tolerance we’ve gleaned in the process.
|Tom describes my chicken curry (on a bed of steamed cabbage), as looking like cat puke. I dismiss his observation and thoroughly have enjoyed this spicy delicious meal.|
Hopefully, in time we’ll be able to continue on. Be well.
Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2019:
|A wedding gown of the era, shown in a room at Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.|