Thursday, July 24, 2014

San Gimignano Part 2

Upon checking in at my hotel for the night in San Gimignano, I asked about transportation to horseback riding in the area since I had contacted a farm that did rides for relatively cheap. This isn't on THE LIST yet but I am definitely going to add it since I've been seeking out opportunities to ride off into the sunset on a horse since I'd arrived. Turns out it would cost more for a cab to and from than the actual horseback riding excursion. Oh well, maybe I could check this off somewhere else. 

I spent the afternoon in between the pool and the air conditioning (thank god!) and felt refreshed and ready to explore the town of San Gimignano. I showered, but I'm not sure why since within two minutes of stepping outside I was dripping in sweat again. Also, can we discuss this? hair dryer, or vacuum? As you can imagine it did not work very well!

The lovely woman at the front desk showed me a back way to walk up to the town center and said it had great views along the way. She wasn't kidding. It was a long walk, much of it hills and it was boiling out but the views made up for it! Passing a roadside wine stand at the start was surely a good sign. 

Walk past a vineyard

View of San Gimignano in the background

Just when I was nice and sweaty, my dress was sticking to my legs and I'm finishing up re-adjusting my bra, I look up to see a very hot Italian guy (presumably a local) walking down the gravel road towards me. And lucky for me he was missing his shirt. Now if this were a movie, it would be assumed that this is the guy I must have a one night stand with from THE LIST, and we proceed to roll around in the vineyards in broad daylight, right? 

Well this is real life and this is what really happened. We pass each other. He says, "Ciao." I avert my eyes as my voice has seemed to stop working at the sight of his body and a small croak escapes. We both keep walking. Sorry to disappoint.

I make it to town and I'm positively parched but San Gimignano is really amazing. It's like the Manhattan of medieval times. I found some great scenes as I explored.

I wandered around for a while until I finally got up the courage to eat dinner somewhere by myself. I've always hated the idea of eating at a restaurant alone, in fact I always get so sad that I tear up when I see someone eating by themselves at a restaurant. I was about to be one of the people I usually cried for. I had my kindle, and a glass of wine which helped, but I felt pretty lonely. Everyone here was on vacation with their significant other or family and friends. So naturally, I did what anyone else would do and got gelato after dinner. They claimed to be the "best gelato in the world" and since I was becoming somewhat of an expert, I'd be the judge of that. I have to say..though the scoops were larger, it didn't match up to the gelato I had twice already in Lucca! I took in some more beautiful views before heading to a bar tucked away on a narrow side street that I had read about. 

There was no one at this bar. Just me, the owner and two of his friends. But, there was wifi and the owner had a generous pour in my glass of wine. Pretty soon after arriving, a couple sits at the table next to me and I can't help but overhear them speaking in English. Glorious! The information I gather is that they've just arrived, had a horrendous time with parking, and don't know where their hotel is. I just happen to know where their hotel is as I walked by it earlier so I offer up walking directions and we start chatting. Turns out they need help planning the rest of their vacation too, and I'm just the person to assist. Before my trip last year I had researched Italy like no other. They declare this fate! They had come into this bar so they could find me! We end up having a few glasses of wine, and it's later than I thought. I walk with them in the direction of their hotel since it's on my way back, and they ask if I'll be okay getting back by myself since mine is not in the town center. I reply that yes, it's only a little under a mile and I've done much worse walks at 4am in New York City and I'm sure I'll be fine...

This now becomes the story of the night that I thought I really might die here in Italy. As I walk out of the town centre I have two choices. Take the road I came in on, which is a back, gravel road that looks incredibly dark..or follow the main road that I assume will have some lights. I choose the main road and wish that hot Italian guy would show up and walk me back. He doesn't, and I had assumed wrong about the lights on the main road. What there is a lot of cars and scooters. No shoulder. Darkness and more darkness. Oh, and I don't know if I should've gone to the street on the right or the left after the traffic circle.

I have to walk and stop every two seconds or so when I hear a car coming since I'm sure they can't see me, and there's barely room for the car on the road. Every time I hear a car coming I step into the brush with god knows what else. One of the times when I have to wait in knee high grass and weeds, and I'm battling with some branch scratching my arm, I hear an animal rustling around. Now I start to get a bit scared. Who knows what kind of animals come out in the Tuscan hills at night?! The road seems to stretch on forever and my hotel is no where in sight. I can't make much progress since I have to stop and hide in the bushes every few steps. I consider giving up and walking back to town. Perhaps I can find a stoop to sit on until morning. I'll just go around one more bend..and lo! Just up yonder is hallelujah, my hotel. Only took me about an hour.

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