Italian robots

Photo: Colin, Jan, Gessica and Mirco

One of our favourite places to eat. Da Gustin, Bargni. We wined and dined very well as always, but it was the company that made it. It was an innocent question about their robot lawn mower (we are seriously thinking of getting one).

It turns out that their German robot lawn mower is very Italian. Refusing to work in the heat. They even tried an umbrella to keep it cool, but no, the robot was having none of it. Mirco showed me the GPS tracker showing that it was being re-educated back in Germany.

The conversation got more absurd, and funnier, as we speculated that the great robotic revolution will stall in Italy as the robots adopt a more “Dolce vita” approach to working.

Flitting between Italian and English, we had such fun with M&G. A wonderful couple and great freinds. I even came away with some great material for my ambition to do a stand up comedy gig in Italian one day.

Double Dutch

Two dinners with Dutch friends in as many days. After Monday it was Gerard, Jelina, Joep and Bernadette’s turn to enjoy Jan’s cooking.

  • Champagne on arrival
  • Asparagus cigars (The Wine Society’s White Burgundy)
  • Sea bass in pesto (The Wine Society’s White Burgundy)
  • Polenta cake (Vin Santo)
  • Coffee/Moretta

Great company. Great view. Great food and wine. The hours just slipped by.

Pile ’em high

Photo: A hint of what was to come

It didn’t matter to me. I’d just burnt over 2,000 calories climbing Monte Nero on the bike with Leo and Maddi. 13km of pointing upwards, rising to 1,400m aboove sea level.

After a fast descent we met Jan at the Ristorante Il Poggio in Cagli for lunch.

It’s famous for its carbonara. Not just the taste, but the portion sizes. We had two small portions of the Carbonara Classica and two small portions of Carbonara al Tartufo. The largest portion they do is 300gm of pasta. That’s not a portion, that’s a mountain. One mountain was enough for the day.

Al Giardino Botanico

Photo: More food, more drink, more partying

The party season continues. This time at Paolo and Sonia’s place. It was all set up for eating outside in their garden. The thunderstorm put paid to that. A very Italian solution. The ladies ate inside, the men outside under the awning.

Plinky Plonky music

Photo: The SaltaRua – Borgo In Musica festival in Saltara

We’d just got back from San Gimignano, a quick snooze, then back out again to a local music festival in the next village of Saltara.

We joined some Pansèr friends to listen to some classic Italian songs played by a guitar duet. We knew they were classic Italian songs because they told us so, otherwise we would have had no idea.

The headline act was Fabio Concato.

Not our kind of music. Way too plinky plinky for our taste. It turned out not to be our friends taste either. They suggested we go for a beer. We volunteered to host as we were so close. Cool winds, chat and beer to finish the evening.

San Gimignamo

Photo: A couple of days in San Gimignano got off to a good start with the view from our hotel room

We don’t normally do this. Visit places in July and August. San Gimignano, such a stunning place, was packed with tourists. I know, we were two of them. We often comment that if you walk only one street away from the main drag then it’s like being a local, so few people. This is how we explored for the most part but it’s impossible to avoid the throng up and down the main street.

This time we had little choice as we planned the trip around a Bocelli concert. We added to our cultural experince by going to see an exhibition of Helmut Newton photographs. The gallery was also a welcome break form the ferocious sun.