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Thread: Ciao

  1. #176
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    Default Re: Ciao

    drunk (and loud) Americans-our reputation throughout the world

  2. #177
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Looks like a great time!
    Ragnar B.

  3. #178
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Yup. Good thread! Inspiring, even!
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  4. #179
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Davis View Post
    drunk (and loud) Americans-our reputation throughout the world
    What the hell are you talking about? In comparison to the local Italians here we are reserved, quite and sober. That’s not to say we can not be coaxed into living La Dolce Vita and embracing all the culture and lifestyle has to offer. Everywhere we go we meet, laugh and drink with them. Just last night in Siena the two tables to the right of us in a little osteria in Sienna started a conversation with us. Them with their broken English, us with our poor Italia, and yet managed to eeek out a momentary friendship based on food, wine and fun. In the end the thre guys and the owner ended up sharing a glass of grappa and information for when they visit California.

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    We have been embraced by the locals because our philosophy on this trip and in life is to embrace serendipity and love. There are two primary motivating forces in life, you can choose to live a life of fear and worry, or you can choose to live a life of love and acceptance. We chose love.

    Stand back for a Sienna photo dump at the end of the day. This place and the Tuscan light is the stuff of dreams.
    Last edited by Joe (SoCal); 08-27-2022 at 12:31 AM.
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  5. #180
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Davis View Post
    drunk (and loud) Americans-our reputation throughout the world
    To be honest, I think that is much less a thing now than it was perhaps forty years ago, certainly from what I see of American tourists in NZ now, vs then.
    Funny story. My ex used to manage a rental car kiosk at the Picton ferry terminal (South Island end of the inter-island ferry route), about 1987. Like many port towns it could be a bit dodgy after dark, and I'd go over with her to meet the late night ferry and sit out of sight behind the counter reading a book while she did her thing.
    She had one of "those" American tourists, Hawaiian shirt, cameras and all, waddle in behind about four more sprightly customers one night. The loud pissing and whingeing started almost immediately, escalating to some nasty comments directed at my then wife.
    The look on his face face when I stood up from behind the counter and suggested that he could either apologise to "my wife right now", or f**k off and walk to wherever he was going, was priceless. An apology was forthcoming, he STFU until he got to the front of the queue, and it was all very subdued yes ma'am, no ma'am, thankyou ma'am. I carried on reading my book behind the counter, and tried to keep a straight face.
    I was told afterward I needed to work on my customer relations skills . I suggested that her customer needed to be reminded of the manners he was taught as a boy, and the instant the words "stupid c**t" passed his lips, he had crossed a line .

    Pete
    The Ignore feature, lowering blood pressure since 1862. Ahhhhhhh.

  6. #181
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    Default Re: Ciao

    i think you and your loverly bride are doing quite a nice job of it joe
    other than the unfortunate drone episodes of course
    fantastic thread, kat and i read it and comment on it together each day
    thank you for it

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    What the hell are you talking about? In comparison to the local Italians here we are reserved, quite and sober. That’s not to say we can not be coaxed into living La Dolce Vita and embracing all the culture and lifestyle has to offer. Everywhere we go we meet, laugh and drink with them. Just last night in Siena the two tables to the right of us in a little osteria in Sienna started a conversation with us. Them with their broken English, us with our poor Italia, and yet managed to eeek out a momentary friendship based on food, wine and fun. In the end the thre guys and the owner ended up sharing a glass of grappa and information for when they visit California.

    CEBD153C-40B1-47A0-9D2E-7A68E69D550B.jpg

    We have been embraced by the locals because our philosophy on this trip and in life is to embrace serendipity and love. There are two primary motivating forces in life, you can choose to live a life of fear and worry, or you can choose to live a life of love and acceptance. We chose love.

    Stand back for a Sienna photo dump at the end of the day. This place and the Tuscan light is the stuff of dreams.
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 08-27-2022 at 09:43 AM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  7. #182
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    Default Re: Ciao

    I love Siena, and was lucky enough to be in the Campo for the Palio some years back.
    Gerard>
    Albuquerque, NM

    Next election, vote against EVERY Republican, for EVERY office, at EVERY level. Be patriotic, save the country.

  8. #183
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Thanks for sharing your fun; this is inspirational. Where is the last week gonna be?
    Without friends none of this is possible.

  9. #184
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    What the hell are you talking about? In comparison to the local Italians here we are reserved, quite and sober. That’s not to say we can not be coaxed into living La Dolce Vita and embracing all the culture and lifestyle has to offer. Everywhere we go we meet, laugh and drink with them. Just last night in Siena the two tables to the right of us in a little osteria in Sienna started a conversation with us. Them with their broken English, us with our poor Italia, and yet managed to eeek out a momentary friendship based on food, wine and fun. In the end the thre guys and the owner ended up sharing a glass of grappa and information for when they visit California.

    CEBD153C-40B1-47A0-9D2E-7A68E69D550B.jpg

    We have been embraced by the locals because our philosophy on this trip and in life is to embrace serendipity and love. There are two primary motivating forces in life, you can choose to live a life of fear and worry, or you can choose to live a life of love and acceptance. We chose love.

    Stand back for a Sienna photo dump at the end of the day. This place and the Tuscan light is the stuff of dreams.
    Years back, the group I used to travel with was a 'moving party', as well - we often had other tables ask if they could join us! That.... was fun.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  10. #185
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    Default Re: Ciao

    This whole trip has been about 80% unplanned, the only definitive pre-planning we did was the flights in and out of Italy and our AirBnB in Bologna and Florence. Everything else was serendipitous and figured out while we were here.


    The Chianti safari was due to a chance meeting with some British tourist who were sitting next to us at a “deli” in Bologna who had just come back from florence and had done the tour and showed us the trip advisor link on their phone and said it was a must do, so I booked it then and there.
    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...e_Tuscany.html


    It was on that tour that the Sommelier tour guide just happen to mention he just came back from the beach and Renees eyes lit up since we both love beaches. She began to inquire if he knew of any “natural” beaches ? He smiled and said of course and wrote down the direction to an exclusive little hidden beach in the beach town in San Vincenzo. When we got back, we looked it up on the map and decided to make an overnight tip incorporating a desire we had to also go to the Walled city of Siena. So I booked an AirBnB in Siena so on Friday we rented a car and drove to the seaside town of San Vincenzo, spend the day on the beach and then drove an hour and a half up to Siena. FWIW driving in Italy is a entire thread unto itself, suffice to say lanes on roads and highways are nearly a suggestion in Italy [wink]


    The beach was amazing, and suffice to say since it was a “natural” beach I wont be posting most photos of that part of our trip [wink]

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    After arriving in Siena and texting the AirBnB’s owner who informed us in no uncertain words that parking inside the walled city was strictly forbidden. He sent us detailed instruction on exactly where to park that was outside the was and was the closest gate to the apartment we would be staying in. The best part of his advice was that these secret parking spaces were free. This is truly one of the reasons to use an AirBnB because they have lots of local knowledge.

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    Now Siena is an absolutely magical place and was on our too do list, but the public transportation, unlike the bullet train we took to Rome, Siena is a complicated trip, which comprises multiple busses and walking and would take a lot longer than driving. Since we decided to go to the beach first it just made sense to rent a car and drive.


    Since medieval days, the territorial battles between Florence and Siena have become the stuff of legend. The battle of Montaperti is still a dispute that can make blood pressure rise and cause faces to become red with indignation. The Guelphs (Florentines) and the Ghibellines (Sienese) fought out their differences in 1258 at the hill of Montaperti outside Siena. The opposing sides were fairly even until the evening, when a man called Bocca degli Abati, a Florentine but apparently a Ghibelline at heart, cut off the hand of the Florentine standard bearer. With a fallen flag, the Florentines lost hope and were routed by the Sienese. The river Arbia was said to have ‘run red with blood,’ as over 15,000 men died that day. Dante Alighieri (a Guelph) reserved a place for Bocca degli Abati in the ninth circle of Hell in his Divine Comedy. In the end Siena lost to Florence due to A combination of economic decline, sparked by the Black Death, and political instability led to its absorption by the rival Republic of Florence during the Italian War of 1551–1559. Despite resisting for 18 months, it surrendered on 21 April 1555, marking the end of the republic. This is why the medieval city of Siena looks more like a military fortress than the cosmopolitan open city of Florence.


    So after dropping off our bags and taking a much needed shower to wash the sand off our nether regions we went out to dinner and thats the photo of us and our dinner “fiends”. We later walked up and down the incredible town, and I do mean UP & DOWN, since Siena is very much a hill town with winding roads and narrow alleys. To be honest, I actually got a slight case of claustrophobia and felt a little like a rat caught in a maze. That soon dispersed when we walking into one of the stunning open air piazzas with some of the most amazing architecture I’ve seen. the shear beauty of the Siena brick and raw beauty combined with some amazing light was almost too much to bear at times.

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    Last edited by Joe (SoCal); 08-27-2022 at 09:27 PM.
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  11. #186
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Cont.

    Our host made reservations for us at the restraint where we met the two other couples and enjoyed an amazing antipasto and some fabulous Brunello di Montalcino.

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    After a night of absolute debauchery filled with wine, love and vin santo we woke at dawn with the Tuscan sun rising out of our top floor. I opened the window to appreciate the view.

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  12. #187
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Joe, thank for keeping up the 'travelog - I may have mentioned it 'up-thread' , it's been 45 years since we toured Italy on a railway 'kilometer pass' the times do change !

  13. #188
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    Since we were only going to be in Siena for that day we decided to set our Apple Watch to track to an record our waling activity and do the aerobic tour of the tourist sites of the city.

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    The Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) is a palace in Siena, Tuscany, central Italy. Construction began in 1297 and its original purpose was to house the republican government, consisting of the Podestà and Council of Nine. The outside of the structure is an example of Italian medieval architecture with Gothic influences. The lower story is stone; the upper crenelatted stories are made of brick.

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    Last edited by Joe (SoCal); 08-29-2022 at 10:24 PM.
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  14. #189
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    After clocking multiple miles of intense up and down self guided tour of San Francisco quality hilly roads and with impending thunder storms looming on the horizon, we decided to take refuge and a needed a much deserved lunch.

    Now I’m pretty good at scoping out “The Place” and through one osteria, I could see a covered patio that looked out to an amazing few and the place just had that “feel” that it might be special.

    I was right, Nina sat us down and we order some aqua minerali con gas and two glasses of unbelievably crispTuscan White ( local wine ) the wine was so clear as to look like water. At first I thought it might taste like Pino Grigio, which I commonly refer to as wine flavored water and I an not a fan. This local white wine was definitely not wine water, but complex and intoxication mix of pears and silky, rounded full mouth feel. It was starved with some amazing olives and nuts. When we asked why every time we order a drink there is always some olives or humus, or potato chips served ? It turns out in Italy it’s illegal to just serve alcohol without any food in Italy. What a great idea and yet one more reason to love how the passion for food and wine is ingrained in the culture.

    And the view wasn’t so bad [wink]

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    There was a small home next door and the young couple were gardening in there beautiful back yard and came over and handed Nina a huge bunch of picked hydrangeas which promptly put in bud vases on the tables.

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    The couple had a little dachshund, some chickens, roosters and a tortoise. Which of course being animal lovers we were drawn to.

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    After having a wonderful life chat with Nina we enquired what she would recommend since she was also the chef and creator of all the dishes. She recommended the whole sea bass filled with muscles and small local potato’s in olive oil and fresh herbs picked from the garden.

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    It is impossible to decibel how flavorful and excellent this fish was. Talking to Nina, she mentioned she had lived in Auckland NZ for 5 years apprenticing as a chef and you can see some of that influence in her choices and yet still retaining the rustic charm of her home city of Siena. She was a charming, proud artist and food was her palette.

    As the rain and amazing thunderstorm filled the patio we moved inside and finished with desert, espresso and a loverly Vin Santo and home made Biscotti.

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  15. #190
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    Default Re: Ciao

    The gal with the rooster reminds me of a Italian cross cousin.

  16. #191
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    I would like to take this time to apologize for the many many typos, misspellings and grammatical errors in this thread, but I’m doing all this on my phone usually in the early morning.

    Hopefully you all get the gist and the photos speak for themselves. Thank you all for letting me document and preserve the memories for when I get home.
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  17. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe (SoCal) View Post
    I would like to take this time to apologize for the many many typos, misspellings and grammatical errors in this thread, but I’m doing all this on my phone usually in the early morning.
    ...with the brain still wine-dark from chianti and vin santo...

  18. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom from Rubicon View Post
    The gal with the rooster reminds me of a Italian cross cousin.
    Interesting story I’ve been reading while on my holiday here:

    From the wine drinker’s perspective the origin of the Black Rooster or GalloNerois much more important. As the battles for territory continued in the 14th century, a competition was held between Florence and Siena to determine, once and for all, the boundaries of each city-state. It was agreed that riders would set out from each city at cock-crow, and that the point at which they met would determine the boundary of each community. The Sienese selected a fat, well-fed rooster, but the Florentines chose a skinny, malnourished black one. The hungry Florentine rooster awoke very early, and thus the Florentine horseman covered much more ground than did the Sienese one. They met at Fonterutoli, giving Florence rule over the majority of the Chianti Classico area. Artist and writer Giorgio Vasari painted a black rooster on the ceiling of the Palazzo Vecchio, and the Consortium chose the Gallo Nero as their symbol.

    Wine has been produced in the area since Etruscan times, and as far back as 1398, legal documents mention Chianti wine. In 1716, Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, defined the geographical area. This, however, did not stop the emergence of bogus producers of wine claiming their vintage to be Chianti. Over 100 years ago, Barone Ricasoli organised a ‘Consorzio’ of wine producers to discipline itself. The Barone’s descendents live in the Castello di Brolio, which dominates the southern Tuscan hills. In 1924, in Radda in Chianti, a voluntary group met to promote and authenticate wine. That organisation is now known as ‘Consorzio del Marchio Storico-Chianti Classico.’ Each year the Consorzio checks the grape varieties and yields of its members’ vineyards and issues the famous ‘Gallo Nero’ symbol to the producer.

    The Black Rooster appears against a red background on Chianti Classico and against a gold background on Riservas. The Riservas will have a minimum alcohol content of 12.5 percent (12.0 percent for the Chianti Classico) and be aged for 27 months. Better quality vines are used for the Riservas, which can be aged for many years, but, of course, they are considerably more expensive than the Chianti Classicos.
    Last edited by Joe (SoCal); 08-28-2022 at 09:23 AM.
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  19. #194
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    Default Re: Ciao

    what book?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  20. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    what book?
    Ummmm the author is Dante or something like that I thought it was a comedy but it’s not
    Actually its a food, history & travel book I. Was given from one of the oldest ristorante in Florence, Paoli

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  21. #196
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    A little fun sidebar so ….. WE FOUND NY PIZZA in of all places Siena

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  22. #197
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    Joe, the picture of Villa Antinori gets me. Walking around places like that sometimes it’s overwhelming to imagine the generations who walked the same path the same view. Thx for the updates.

  23. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Davis View Post
    drunk (and loud) Americans-our reputation throughout the world
    oh I’ve seen English, German, Canadians and Australians contribute to bad behavior. I did my part as well but made it to the curb before throwing up.

  24. #199
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    So we are entering the last days of our world wind adventure in Tuscany and I have loads of video to edit.

    Yesterday we were both kinda vacation burnt out and it was rainy and humid and slept in and woke up very late, had lunch, did some grocery shopping.
    I even got to use my new Italian “man bag”

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    Then we went back to our wonderful full A/C on Casa di Amore in Florence and just vegged out. We also have had to deal with buisness crises that have started to overwhelm us.

    The business back west is just in compete disarray. Wile I was driving back from Sienna into the city of Florence tying to pay attention to the GPS in narrow cobble stone streets with pedestrians, cars, Vespas bikes, tourist and just plain crazy Italian drivers while hands free fielding calls dealing with disasters at Groom Service I couldn’t even think strait. One flaky groomer was supposed to have her last day on the 26th and she decided that she was going to make her last day the 25th and just didn’t show. Then yesterday another groomer didn’t show because her car broke, but didn’t tell anyone until 11:30 so all hell broke loose. We will probably get 1,000 1 star yelp reviews and I’m trying to put out fires with a janky Italian SIM card in my phone. ALL of this in the last 2 days with us being 6,000 miles and 9hr time difference, which means there is a very small window where we are all on the same clock. We should have just shut down while we were away but I always think that would be unfair for those that depend on the work and money.

    We had planned on flying out on the 31 arriving Sept 1st. Then take a couple of days to recoup and Renee to go back to work on the 5th. Now we are both just gonna put on our big boy pants and suck it and hit the ground running as soon as we land. I have some come to Jesus talks with some of our staff when we return. The friend who is supposedly watching our place, our dog and some basics check on the business. Me being the A+++ personality printed up several 3 ring binders with every bit of information on the house , dog & business, it’s not rocket science if you just looked at the manual I provided to several peoiple Anyway he’s is not doing the job and lots of stuff is falling through the cracks, it’s no wonder his business is failing. I gave him a couple of hundred dollars for gas money for the commute from his place to ours and also gave him the valet key to my Tesla “FOR EMERGENCY USE” I check on the car from the mobile app and it had 300 mile range when we left and it was down to 9 miles and extremely low charge. I had to tell him the car is not nuclear it needs to be changed up and had to talk him through the whole charging procedure again on my janky Italian phone.

    So even though its been an extremely stressful and a little vacation burn out Renee and I have realized we are a great team and more and more in our life and marriage we are perfect for each other. We think alike, we eat alike, we have the same values and work ethic I find myself saying it’s like having one mind in two bodies and for that I’m blessed.

    So after dealing with everything we decided to take a walk around Il Duomo shopping area and pick up some gifts and trinkets for those back home and then grab a gelato. The light here is always amazing.

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    We came home and had a light dinner in our place of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil in EVOO and balsamic, some big firm green olives with the pits and a simple crisp Tuscan white wine and went to bed early.
    Last edited by Joe (SoCal); 08-29-2022 at 12:34 PM.
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  25. #200
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Ain't no place like home Joe.
    Glad you and the Missus did the tour. Paid for by the sweat and blood of your employees.
    Even though Martin and Paul were busting your chops photo wise your posts have sweetened the Bilge.

    Tom

  26. #201
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    ^ Uh, paid for by Joe and Renee's entreprenuerial spirit in starting their company, moving it cross country, and then making it grow through strenuous effort.

    Glad to have fixed that for you.
    Gerard>
    Albuquerque, NM

    Next election, vote against EVERY Republican, for EVERY office, at EVERY level. Be patriotic, save the country.

  27. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    ^ Uh, paid for by Joe and Renee's entreprenuerial spirit in starting their company, moving it cross country, and then making it grow through strenuous effort.

    Glad to have fixed that for you.
    Thank you Gerard.

    Renee, in particular worked 11-12 hrs a day over for over 20 days in a row without so much as a lunch break from 8:00 am to 10:00 PM most days before this trip to cover for our shortness of staff. This is what we do. This is what we have done for over SIX years actually 12 years in total non stop to bring this company from a dust of an idea to a profitable company that in turn employees 10 people and makes their lives something that didn’t exist before moving it cross country. Making it grow through strenuous effort and willpower. We will continue to do this and forgo jet lag and hit the ground running just as soon as we touch down in John Wayne airport on the 1st of September for probably the next six years non stop.

    Ok so today was a shopping day for all of our staff, special customers, family, and yes ourselves.

    After a little shopping we went to a little trattoria and had some pizza and a little white wine. It was hot out so the outdoor seating but they were equipped with cool mist producing
    umbrellas which were wonderful.

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    After a shared pizza I had an amazing Vin Santo with wonderful biscotti to dip in it. The attention to detail when it comes to these delicacies is astounding, what they end up doing is putting a glass of warm water and then laying the snifter at an angle so that heats up the Vinsanto and put it in a perfect angle for dipping your biscotti.

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  28. #203
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Tacoma, WA
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Good for you guys!
    I recalled a Ted Talk, can’t recall the speaker, but he warned “never be a tourist. A tourist has paid for and has expectations. Be a traveler, a visitor, a guest. Be open to everything!”
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

  29. #204
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Southern California
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Then Renee wanted to get a mani-pedi so I mapped out the closest one, the funny thing is is the map automatically puts it in as a car drive and you have to change it to walking - look at the difference

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    This in a nutshell is what driving in Italy is about

    After some more shopping Renee went to get her nails done for our last night’s dinner at La Giostra tomorrow night. I went Next door to a little trattoria. Sat down at the table and for the first time I ordered everything in perfect Italian. I was very proud of myself when I said in my best Italian.
    “Buon Pomeriggio, Uno aqua minerale con gas, uno Vino blanco Tuscano, E caprese insalata”

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    I sat at the table read a book I bought while Renee was getting pampered next door.

    Oh and I also treated myself to some fine RED Italian loafers to use on my red Vespa when I get home

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    Last edited by Joe (SoCal); 08-29-2022 at 10:49 AM.
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  30. #205
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Southern California
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Walking past Il Daumo we went back to our Casa Dell’amore and took a nice 2 hr siesta. We just awoke and thinking about what the penultimate evening in Florence has in store for us.

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    Last edited by Joe (SoCal); 08-29-2022 at 11:48 AM.
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  31. #206
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Southern California
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Good for you guys!
    I recalled a Ted Talk, can’t recall the speaker, but he warned “never be a tourist. A tourist has paid for and has expectations. Be a traveler, a visitor, a guest. Be open to everything!”
    My old friend Tony

    “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
    “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”


    I miss him, but he is intimately in my travels and especially here in Tuscany
    This post is temporary and my disappear at the discretion of the managment

  32. #207
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    new zealand
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Cool thread Joe, love the pics.
    We are looking 18 months out at my 60th, with Europe in the cross hairs - this has given me food for thought.

    Pete
    The Ignore feature, lowering blood pressure since 1862. Ahhhhhhh.

  33. #208
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Nebraska
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    Default Re: Ciao

    I'm predicting a bit of a let-down, Joe, upon your return home. Yowza!
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

  34. #209
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Southern California
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    I'm predicting a bit of a let-down, Joe, upon your return home. Yowza!
    that would be true if I didn’t also live in a place others come to vacation
    This post is temporary and my disappear at the discretion of the managment

  35. #210
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Nebraska
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    Default Re: Ciao

    Maybe. The architecture, Joe. Hundreds of years old, vs 'this old place must be ten years and growing!'

    Plus, who ya gonna speak Italian to, in California?
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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