About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

ABC Wednesday - T is for "A Taste of Tuscany"

I'm posting early today because I'm going to be out all day tomorrow. Josie and I are taking "Geewits" on a three-hour cruise over to Vancouver Island and back. Then we're taking the lower Marine Drive to give her lots of opportunities to take photos and admire the coastal view. If it's nice enough, we'll go for a walk along the West Vancouver seawall and then go to some fantastic place with a view over a beach for dinner. It's going to be a long but full-of-fun day and I'll check in with everyone when I get back. In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy a taste of Tuscany.
In keeping with last week's S is for Sicily, I thought I'd take you on a little tour of Tuscany. I had seen photographs of the area and thought, "How beautiful!" but little did I know that the photographs hardly did it justice. After driving up the Italian coast to Lerici (see post L is for Lerici) and spending 5 nights there, we drove east to Florence where we had a few hours to wander around and see the statue of David in the Accademia. No photos are allowed in there, but I did manage to get one of the replica in the Piazza della Signoria near the Uffizi. We wanted to go into the Uffizi but the lines were so long that it was impossible. Well, just another reason to go back, right?

From Florence, we drove south halfway to Siena and stayed at a B&B that was a converted farm. My roommate and I had the room that used to be the sheep pen - rather unique, I must say. We spent a few days there, traveling off the beaten track to various small villages, having cappuccino and lunch at "real" Italian restaurants. One day we went to San Gimignano, the city of towers where the movie "Tea With Mussolini" (set in Florence) was filmed.

We spent about half a day in Siena, where I found a couple of gorgeous silk scarves and a pair of leather boots. Then we continued on through Montepulciano to Pitigliano, a city high atop a mountain. We approached the city from a back road, stopping to get some photos where an elderly Italian potter was working in his little shed off the side of the road. He was very pleasant and even though he spoke no English, he invited us inside the shed to see his work. We managed to communicate via our pathetic Italian and lots of hand gestures, leaving him smiling and waving us onward towards the city of Pitigliano. By the time we got up the steep incline and narrow roads to the center of town, it was time for lunch so off we went in search. It seemed as though no one was around, and when we found a restaurant that was open, we were the first to come by that day and the owners had to scramble for us. But they were so kind, and served up one of the best lunches we had on our whole trip. They set up tables out on the sidewalk area complete with umbrellas to shade us from the sun. After eating, we wandered through the narrow streets and found lots of vantage points to take photos of the valley below. It was here that I found an old fire hydrant that completely took me by surprise. And the view from this spot where I found these plant pots was absolutely stunning.


Naturally, we had a tour of a winery in Tuscany! The whole area was surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, a gorgeous setting.
Some of our group even ordered cases of wine and olive oil to be sent home! I enjoyed the tastings but am not that much of a wine afficionado to be bothered. On the left below is Umberto, one of our guides, in the little piazza waiting for our tour, and on the right I am doing a bit of wine tasting - I look VERY happy, don't I? lol




















Cypress trees dot the landscape in Tuscany. I'm sure you've all seen calendar photos of them, but believe me they are incredibly striking. From miles away you can see them atop the rolling hills, amidst vineyards galore. Here are a few landscape shots I managed to get. If you ever have an opportunity to visit Italy, especially Tuscany, I highly recommend you go. The country is clean, the food is magnificent, the highways and roads are smooth, and the people go well out of their way to be friendly and helpful.


I hope you enjoyed a taste of Tuscany today. I will be returning one day to see more of this area of Italy, a country renowned for its history, culture, food, and good-natured people.

To see who else is participating this week, see Mrs. Nesbitt's place here.

37 comments:

Petrus said...

Yes Italy is a wonderful place ..

Have been to Lakes Como and Garda - Malcesine on the shores of Garda is a really relaxing place and the food - great !!

david mcmahon said...

Oh, to be in Tuscany - with my camera!

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Leslie, sheesh, are you sure you weren't a secret tour guide or something? My goodness, everytime I come to your blog I find such fascinating photos or lands from afar. WOW... the sites of Tuscany. I only learned of it when I was in school and now I see it here. Beautiful and yes, you look very happy in that photo!

Thanks for checking in on my interview.. it's done.

kbbryant said...

Well you sold me. Wonderful photos, vinyards, olive trees terrific post for T.

ellen b said...

Oh thank you for the grand tour of tuscany! It is such a beautiful part of the world. Enjoy your Vancouver Island adventures!!

Judy said...

I have never been...until now. Thanks for the awesome tour.

KaiBlueCreations said...

Aloha Leslie,
Tuscany is a delicious place to indulge your senses and ours. Thank you for taking me on a wonderful trip through the countryside of Italy.
Peace, Kai

Katney said...

First David takes me back to India, and then you take me on a homecoming to Italy. I spent nine months in florence as a student. Thanks for the memories.

photowannabe said...

What a fabulous country and your shots made me feel like I was there. Wish I was.
I posted early too. We're having company tonight and i will also be out much of tomorrow. Better early than never.

Neva said...

I love the pictures of Tuscany.....thanks for sharing.....
ine is up here and here.

jmb said...

Lovely photos of a place I know quite well Leslie. They must have changed the rules because I have photos of the David taken in the Accademia.

Texas Travelers said...

Absolutely beautiful photographs!
All deserved to be framed.
Thanks for sharing and a great tour.

The Tide has Turned in Texas.
Come visit,
Troy and Martha

Max-e said...

Nice post Leslie. I have enjoyed looking at the real thing. "Tuscan" style homes have become very fashionable in South Africa, but the monstrosities that are built here have absolutely no character. Maybe our architects need a field trip to Tuscany.

Picturing of Life said...

beautiful nature shots...

My T post in here Thanks

Paulie said...

Terrific Tour of Tuscany. Thanks!

Petunia said...

Lovely Leslie! Now I have to go Tuscany:)

Gary said...

Terrific shots and a great Tour of Tuscany post.

Very informative.

Gary
Bodge's Bulletin

RuneE said...

I seem to have missed something - as a matter of fact I know I have. After this presentation We just have to do something about it!

Blue said...

Wonderful!
I too have been to Tuscany.
It's landscapes so unique with the tall trees, vineyards & olive groves.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Dragonstar said...

Wonderful "T" post. You make me feel I'm actually there with you.

Miss_Yves said...

I love Italy!(In my post you can see... Sicilia !)
Beautiful photos, fascinating tour !
miss Yves

nonizamboni said...

Just the 't' word Tuscany conjures up so much beauty and your post did it justice! Wonderful photos.
Happy Wednesday!

naturglede said...

Greate pictures and story for ABC.

reader Wil said...

You've certainly made an interesting post about Tuscany! You have had an eventful life.It's admirable that you are so full of plans and that you live such an active life.

Daryl said...

What a fun trip that was ... and I didnt gain an ounce!

:-Daryl

babooshka said...

This is a wonderful post. Everything about it the gorgeous images, the text. Wondeful choice.

Country Girl said...

BEAUTIFUL! And I love olives, too. Wish I could afford to travel!

Louis la Vache said...

Very fine - and natural - progression of your Sicily post!

At San Francisco Bay Daily Photo, "Louis" continued the theme of his "S" post with the "T" post. HERE is how he did it.

Chuck Pefley said...

Lovely group of Tuscan images. I've recently visited many of the places you mentioned, and know how very fond I am of Umbria and Tuscany.

I our Seattle weather is any indication of what you're encountering on Vancouver Isl, I'm sorry. Wish it were better for your little show and tell excursion.

For The People said...

What a wonderful blog you have here! I saw your comment on the spider site. I think it bite me. Laughed about snake comment. Had two sankes on mine last week, but I darn sure wasn't holding them. They were poisonous!

Pernille's ting og tang said...

I love yor T to day. Thank you for sharing:) Tuscany looks like a wonderful place. Very nice photos too:)

kRiZ cPEc said...

surely i enjoyed this, good food, great wine, friendly people and beautiful thigns to see. If I had the money, I would go there.

Liz said...

Looks fabulous. i've never been to Italy. Must do so one day.

nancygrayce said...

My granddaughter's been to Italy, but not me! You make it sound and look so inviting. I want to go!

By the way, I'm trying to think of the name of those flowers.

starnitesky said...

Tuscany is one place I would love to visit, it looks so beautiful. It would be a great place to go to take photographs, maybe one day ...

I hope you enjoyed your cruise to Vancouver Island.

Sienna said...

This is such a dream on your blog tonight, I have come from Gorgeous Vancouver to Beautiful Tuscany.

I so fell in love with Tuscany, especially Florence (got pics of David..in the Accademia, nobody said to me stop or anything)...my favorite place was up on the hill verlooking Florence and getting pics of the River and bridges and city...and sitting on the Library steps watching all the people..

Just a beautiful tour...(On one of my Italy trips I got food poisoning in Rome)...I see you were unwell, Sicily?

Loved this trip Leslie.

Pam

Jerez said...

Leslie and all, I started a Cafe' Monday here at Mukilteo's View, We in The NW are known far and wide for our need for coffee, and folks everywhere have their own coffee habits and extravaganza's.

I thought Monday would be a good day to share the aroma. Wanted to invite you all, so stop by...and have a great Monday!