Monday, July 22, 2013


DAY 8, July 15, 2013
Since my day really started at 4:13am to be still up and willing to tackle another entry at 10:15pm is somewhat of a feat in itself. This morning the pain was so unbearable I had to have Stefania take me to the Pharmacia to explain my allergic reaction to Tuscany's version of North America's little no-see-ums. I stood in silence as Stefania explained that no I didn't have the bits all over my body so a cortisone pill wasn't necessario only an ointment that I was told once I applied it I could no longer go out into the sun. The pharmacist also gave me an anti-bug spray that I was told to use vigorously as a protective shield against future bites. Every since I have spent the day in heat approaching the ninety degree mark with a long sleeve shirt buttoned up to my neck, jet black jeans and shoes with socks that reached mid-calf.  If I could have found a beekeeper's helmet and veil I would have donned that too, anything to keep those pesky little bugs away from my soft supple skin. In old age your skin either goes leathery which is its own protection against bites because their little stingers can't penetrate the thick layer of epidermal armor or it goes crappy and paper-thin making you an easy target for lunch at the May Fly Inn. I'm definitely lunchmeat.
After my appointment with the pharmacist I spent the rest of the morning walking the main street of Bounconvento dropping in and out of shops. Buonconvento never gets it's due. It's not a hill town but its main street is very charming and there are a few really nice little boutiques.
One shop was run by a Belgian man who had opened a tiny gallery exhibiting some of his photography.
Karel Daems and his work was worth looking at, images of mundane life lifted out of context and displayed in an over-exposed technique that made you question whether they were paintings or photos.
The images were printed then mounted on aluminum and covered in plexi giving them depth that almost had the feel of looking at them through 3-D glasses.
La Dolce Vita has been there since we started coming to this part of Tuscany. It's a small leather shop with some of the most beautiful leather goods we've seen. Everything is handmade and if you are in the area for a week or more they will make a piece for you to your specifications. Bellisima.
I also found a fruit and vegetable vendor with a little shop where you weren't allowed to touch the produce but had to point at what you wanted and the store matron would make the journey from behind the counter to the front of the display making your selections for you. There were no arguments with her picks. You either accepted them or left without them. I picked up some more melon and some figs and as you can see it made for a beautiful lunch once we got back to Armena.
The pool at Armena is one of the reasons we continue to return here. It is a shaft of blue that juts out into the Tuscan landscape and then seems to drop of into infinity. It's a meeting place for all the guests speaking to the communal nature of Armena. It's impossible to be here and ignore the other guests. I know this may seem contradictory to a holiday getaway but for us it has produced a long list of relationships with so many people from different parts of the world who have enriched us with their varying cultures.
That night we remained in Armena making a dinner of pasta from pancetta, olives, and mixed herbs from the garden, garlic, onions, parmesan and olive oil straight from the fattoria's olive grove. What could be better?

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