In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 5 in Italy, continued

Journal entry continued, Monday, May 16

Then we headed to an organic farm. The doctor turned winemaker, balsamic vinegar maker, beekeeper!, was interesting. He showed me his bee hives, we toured his winery and vinegar vats, we met his pet boar, then headed inside for lunch. Lots of appetizers and then - the best ravioli I have ever eatin in my life!

(we are on the plane on our way home and I am going to try to catch up writing about the trip.)

The farm owner said he got tired of the stress of business and a boss and doctoring so he bought this land and is living his dream. I asked him if it still felt like a hobby - if he still loved it - and he put his hand over his heart and said "siiiiii' - I feel soooo....sooooo....." I said, "serene?, peaceful? happy?" and he said, "Yes, Yes, Yes!" We took some pictures and got back in the car. Next stop, another vineyard. It was more of a bigger production type of a winery. Wine that is shipped all over the world - at least a three generation farm if not more. We sat at a picnic table outside and tasted lots of wine. This place also rents rooms to tourists. We each bought a bottle and packed it in our luggage. I hope it makes it home without breaking.

We were going to stop at another gelato place but we were all too full. Tomas did a wonderful job and we all enjoyed our tour.

That evening we went down the block to a small cafe and ordered french fries! They were so good. I miss french fries and the funny thing is, I hardly eat them at home.

The first thing I noticed at the farm was LOTS of lavender and rosemary!

The owner with his pet boar! He found it in the woods, abandoned, and brought it home and raised it. He does hunt boar, and truffles!, and cures the meat too. He is living his dream. Makes a person think...

Gosh wouldn't you hate to have to look at this view everyday?

He was telling me he has had six swarms from one hive that he has captured and put into new hives. I told him my hives were probably swarming as we speak! Later he told me, (in that Italian accent, geeesh how do they do it?) "Earlier, when you talked about your bees, I felt sooo sorry for them. They are swarming and you are not there to give them a home." When I returned home I e-mailed him and told him they did not swarm while I was gone, or at least my husband didn't see any swarms, nor did the neighbors, so, do not feel sorry for my bees!"

Look at the view his bees get! And all that lavender and rosemary they get to polinate...mmmm...

Wine tasting...

appetizer tasting. His wife teaches cooking school, and we got to eat the results of that days class. YUM! Except for the wild boar. It was too salty.

All of us with our driver, Tomas.

This ravioli was made with truffle oil and a smidgeon of truffles on top. I savoured every single bite. I can't remember ever tasting anything so good. For dessert we had ice cream with balsamic vinegar. It sounds awful but this vinegar was like syrup, only not sweet, and it was so good. You can order his products online

All of us with the owner, Silvano.

All of us with Tomas.

Sorry ladies, both men are happily married.

On our way to the next winery. And this is why he asked us earlier if any of us get car sick. I admitted sometimes I do, but I wasn't in the very back of the van which helped. He took a short cut and went through winding roads. Very narrow winding roads.

And here we are...the next winery.

This is the place you can rent an apartment at, they have a swimming pool, BBQ, tennis, mountain bike, and the place is just gorgeous.

Father and son owner. This winery has been in their family for several generations.

On the way home we had to stop and take a picture of a scenic view. See the town in the background of the below picture. Apparently, it was owned by one family. I don't remember if it is now, but it was at one time.

OK, so here we are back in the streets (village) of Siena, by our Hotel (Duomo). And Theresa and I weren't finished with the day, even though it was a long one. We were looking for a place to have a snack.

And we looked in the window of this one cafe', right down from out Hotel, and people were eating FRENCH FRIES! Real American French Fries!!!!

Now, it had been a long day, and Dad just wanted a cup of coffee dammit. An American cup of coffee. Not easy to get in Italy. And when he ordered a cup of coffee he got an espresso! Well, he was not happy. And let me just say, before the trip Theresa had given us several pages she had printed off and she asked us to read them. I read them. Our parents did not. And she told Dad before the trip, when he admitted he didn't read them, "OK fine, but when you pay $7.00 for a bad cup of coffee, I don't want to hear you complain." when the waitress brought the "coffee" and saw the look on Dad's face she said, "ooooh, Cafe' Americano?" He said yes. They brought back a cappuccino, in a very small cup, and his was about half full! (OMG!) Hang with me here because it gets better.....

Those are ketchup packets. I wanted coke with my french fries. They ordered minestrone soup with their french fries. Isn't it funny how when you know you can't have something you want it. This was the only place we saw french fries, we hardly eat them at home, but for some reason we had to have them.

This was the coke I got. In America, we are just used to full glasses and free refills. So's the story.

We finished eating and waited, and waited, and waited. Now, in Italy they do not give you your bill UNTIL YOU ASK FOR IT. Mom & Dad just could not get used to that. (aahhem, it was in the paperwork Theresa gave us to read. That's how I knew - wink wink) And we could not find our waitress. So, Mom finally told this man who was behind the counter we wanted our bill. It came to 46 Euro! What? Well, there was a 1.50 euro service charge for each person. When Mom gave the man 50 Euro, he never came back with her change, and he did not speak English (with that cute Italian accent!) And she couldn't take it any longer.

You see, here's a little story about Mom. We told her, several times, before we left that she could not complain at the restaurants in Italy. If you do, you will get treated badly. (it was in the paperwork) And in America, she complains at restaurants. (sorry Mom, but it's true. Our family sometimes take bets on which piece of silverware she is going to send back because "it's dirty!")

When that non-American speaking man did not bring back her 4 Euro, she got mad. She was not leaving 10Euro for bad service and bad coffee. And she had to leave the 6, because it was on the bill. Many restaurants charge service charges in Italy, but they do not always put it on their menus. (which was in the paperwork) So she went after that man!

At this point I went outside!

Apparently they got into an English speaking-Italian speaking argument. He kept telling her 'no' and she kept telling him she wanted her change. So she went into another area of the restaurant, tracked down our English speaking waitress, told her the situation, and got her 4 euro back.

I can't believe Theresa and Dad stayed inside!

On Mom's behalf it was the principal of the situation, he took our money without asking. And he probably get's by with it 90% of the time.

And do remember, 46 Euro is $57.00.

So for 4 french fries, 3 soups, 2 coffees?, 1 coke, it was $57.00!

She got her 4 euro, came outside and announced that we would not be eating there again.





  1. Driver Thomas...........raaarrrwrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"!!!!!!!

  2. Cindy, Your mom is not eat there again. LOL. Love it. Gee I think I'd be happy to see a mcd's after that. Coffee? I would go nuts. 57 dollars is it normal or just for tourists? Love the views...not really any bad sights. Smiles, Susie

  3. I loved this post and your mom.Right on ,Mom ! It is good to appreciate the differences in eating and living customs in other countries, but that should never be license to steal money from tourists , for bad, bad product & service.

    What a wonderful trip you had, I know my husband, the family bee-keeper & winemaker would LOVE such a trip.Thank-you for sharing this, I enjoyed it.

  4. Oh Cindy, Your stories make me laugh & smile...

  5. Oh Cindy! This is GRAND! I'm having the time of my life with you on this trip----enjoying every picture and hanging onto every word!!

  6. Ok, now you have a penpal in Italy. Mr. farmer was probably very glad to hear your bees were NOT swarming! How cute!

    I didn't realize Italians are such swindlers! Good to know! I love how your sister prepared everything and your parents chose not to read it. Too funny.

    Your mom was right! LOL!


  7. Love your Mom! I would not worry chances are you will not be eating there again. Probably somewhere down the street would be the better choice. I am caught up now, waiting for the next installment. Oh and Cindy Bee, there are others that are enjoying your country chicken song besides me. Your the best! Have a great evening! Oh, I guess the evening is almost over. I must have spent too much time in the sun today.


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