13 Jul 2019 – Sat.
First thing in the morning, we had a quick breakfast and bid Gianna a heartfelt goodbye. We left the beautiful town of Modena and headed back North to Lignano where we were to meet with family.
With all the bad traffic due to the beginning of summer holidays, Florian and I arrived quite a lot later than anticipated. We were being treated to a day on the boat with Lawrence and Monica.
And surprise, surprise! We went on board Lawrence’s new yacht and while exploring the rooms, found Naima hiding in one of them!! Best surprise ever!
Naima managed to take a day off work to fly down from Munich for Lawrence’s birthday and with us as a bonus. Flo and I were over the moon to see her, and after we had our hugs and kisses, and question and answer session, we were all just happy to be in each other’s company on a beautiful day in Italy.
Inside the yacht.
The new yacht hadn’t got all its licences for sailing so we took the smaller boat Lawrence and Monica have to set off for lunch.
We set off to Marano Lagunare, a small, non-touristy town for some seafood.
Can’t say no to fresh prawns and scallops!
These sardines were yum!!
Can’t go wrong with seafood pasta when near the sea.
A fresh off the boat catch, grilled seabass which was so clean tasting.
Just after we had sung “Happy Birthday” to Lawrence,
and dessert had been set down,
We were warned of a freak storm brewing and heading towards Lignano.
We had to pretty much make a crazy dash back to the docked boat in order to avoid the impending rain.
And rush away we did. The black clouds kept threatening to catch up with us, following closely as Lawrence expertly handled the boat, steering it over now-bumpy waves to return back to the marina.
Flo, Naima and I alighted the boat and quickly proceeded to the bigger yacht to take shelter just as the clouds unleashed heavy droplets of rain. Lawrence and Monica went to park the boat and it wasn’t for about an hour before they managed to make their way through the torrential storm, back to us. Even with their rainproof jackets, they were still soaked on arrival but we were glad to have them back. We managed to spend a further hour with them catching up, talking about the babies etc before Flo, Naima and I had to brave the rain to return to our car.
It was a wonderful day that we spent with Lawrence and Monica – both of whom I’ve heard much about but never met until that day. Lawrence was every bit as wonderful as Flo made him out to be. He is so much like a father to Flo, and I could see how much he loves Flo as well, like a son. It was too bad that the freak storm cut our time short, but hopefully we’ll see each other again soon!
Flo and I drove Naima to the Venice airport where she had to catch her flight back to Munich. The bad weather and traffic meant that we were driving against a tight time frame but we managed to get her there just in time… Only to find out shortly after that her flight had was going to be delayed… and then delayed again due to the storm. Thankfully, she did arrive in Munich safely that night, albeit very late that night.
After dropping Naima off, Flo and I had a few hours drive to get to Chianti. By this time, we had the black clouds hanging over us, pouring buckets of water over the car. I was quite concerned about the visibility and even told Flo that if he wasn’t confident, we could just stop by the side and wait for the rain to subside, if ever. He soldiered through and at one point, we were pelted by hail. That was quite scary.
Finally, after we’d passed the area of Modena, we saw the end of the clouds give way to clear sky. It was the most peculiar thing. Almost as though the clouds had formed a thick blanket and we had finally raced towards the end of it.
14 Jul 2019 – Sun.
We woke up in our next hotel in Chianti to blue clear skies and the tweeting of happy birds whizzing nearby.
Breakfast was a lavish spread of savoury/salty foods… most of which I couldn’t consume at the time.
It’s strange how in Italy, many are used to having sweet foods for breakfast – cakes especially. I stuck usually to the hard boiled eggs and yoghurt, and fresh fruits if offered. Of course, I’d also have a little taste of cake because they are so difficult to resist, but I realise I’m not so much a fan of Italian cakes with their sweetness level being a bit too much for me.
We took our time after breakfast before taking a drive out.
We stopped every so often to take in the beauty of Chianti.
There were vineyards that littered the valleys and mountains, and the greens all around made for such a pleasing drive.
We finally made a proper stop at San Gimignano where we had lunch against a wall. Haha.
I really liked the rustic town with all its brick buildings.
Even though it was very very filled with tourists. We didn’t expect it to be so crowded but it was.
It’s so difficult for me to imagine that people live within this town especially because it looked like something out of a film. The architecture of the buildings were lovely, at least in my eyes, and I spied a well in the middle of the town too.
As usual, me being me, I wasn’t supposed to take this picture without giving a donation. I took it anyone only for hubs to nudge me and go “you’re supposed to pay to take it“. Oops! Anyway, it was a clay version of the entire town and it was built to be like a fortress. Where we wandered around was only a small part of it, but it was magnificent.
We went next to Monteriggioni where we wanted to visit the castle. They had a medieval festival going on there so entry fee was about 12 euros per person and there were people decked in medieval attire going in. I wasn’t too excited about the idea of paying 24 euros altogether to go in, and well, I comforted myself with the thought that I’ve seen other castles before so we decided to give it a miss.
Still managed a photo of it from afar though so there you go!
Dinner, we went to Castellina in Chianti – the town centre closest to where we were staying.
It’s a quaint town filled with lots of eateries and considering it is rather on the small side, it was nice to feel the lively ambience of the place with locals and tourists alike filling the al fresco areas and digging into their aperitivos or dinner.
Flo and I walked around and settled on Antico Trattoria.
We had a sharing platter of antipasti.
There were some hits and misses. This wasn’t particularly outstanding and both of us didn’t appreciate the livery spread on top of the baguette to the left of this plate. The frittata was ok and puff pastry one next to it.
Being in Chianti, you can’t leave without having a truffle dish so we got trufflin’ with a Mushroom Tortelloni in Truffle Sauce. This was mainly Flo’s, and it was creamy, rich and perfumed with the truffles.
I decided that I really wanted to try authentic minestrone so I went for it.
Unlike the minestrone soup often found here, the Italian version was filled with lots of vegetables – carrots, kale, beans, tomatoes… all crowding a rich, tomato broth. No pasta whatsoever.
It was a hearty soup to warm the soul and I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would when it arrived at the table. I don’t think I could ever go back to the minestrone soup offered at Soup Spoon here.
Always room for gelato here in Italy.
So Flo went for his favourite stracciatella and peach… if I remember correctly.
The gelato at this shop near the start into the town centre was really good! I was quite impressed by the creaminess of the gelato and how it wasn’t overly sweet either. Good stuff!
A little sunset to see us off into the night.