The opportunity to unpack our bags, wash some clothes and cook for ourselves was irrestible. We thought we could even handle two weeks in one place.
A little research on our favourite accommodation site – agoda.com led us to a farm in southern Tuscany, about 25km SW of Sienna called Tenuta di Papena. It is a working farm with crops of grain and animal fodder. The family also have horses and compete in show jumping. They have the biggest horse float I have seen, which must be a challenge to drive on the narrow country roads around here.
They all work hard there, the family and farm hands start well before the tourists open their eyes and are still going as we sip out Chianti and Vernasse during dinner. Even with a genuine Siesta stop in the afternoon, it is a long day.
They have developed a lovely community of 6 apartments, built within the walls of what was a convent, and during our time there we met a great group of holiday makers with whom we shared our travel experiences and email addresses.
Bruce sneaked a packet of dog biscuits into the supermarket trolley, so the dogs visited each morning and evening for their special treats. Actually, they got bored with the biscuits but never ever rejected a good, strong pet.
We spent many days “at home” revelling in the comfort and warmth of our own accommodation. We took day trips to the local villages of Chuisdino and Monticiano and the abbey of St Galgano, as well as visiting the more touristy towns of Sienna and San Gimignano. We also walked both in and near the farm and in a nature reserve called Farma Torrente (Farma River). As Spring turns to Summer, the wild flowers were stunning, and I couldn’t help include a few below.
We also started a project that we have been dreaming up in the last few months. It’s aim is to provide a forum of information about how to escape home and travel (the world) for longer than the typical 6 weeks. We will start with our own experiences in preparing for our long journey, and hope to encourage others to contribute. We plan to launch our web site in late August, giving you enough time to prepare for a 2013 adventure. Of course it needs some design and some web site development, which kept us both busy in Tenuta di Papena.
Tenuta di Papena, around the farm
Farma Torrente, national reserve