Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thursday, May 27th, Around Monte Amiata


Today, we had several adventures. In the morning, we drove to Pienza and then to Montepulciano. Both are classic Tuscan hill towns dating to the 12th and 13th centuries. Fortified walls, large church towers, windy stone-paved streets, with seven hundred years of living etched into its plazas and buildings. Though the fields and cypress trees provide dramatic photo elements from every view, it is the powerful long dormant volcano known as Mt Amiata that dominates the landscape. Of course, Ken and Pat look at it with eyes that only descendants of the mountain’s highest village can. I can see their pride they read its name in every viewing placque, listen to it mentioned in tour guide presentations, and watch tourists by postcards of it.

We crossed over Monte Amiata this afternoon to find a local park which was reported to contain several kinds of deer, and a few captive wolves. It took the directions from the owner of a great local restaurant where we had lunch, but we finally arrived at the Fauntistico Park del Monte Amiata, where a refreshing mountain hike shared deer and great valley views but no wolves. Rumor has it they are brought out once a week, and Dianne has ambitions of returning on the weekend to try to see them.

Later in the day, Ken and Di did their wash in a town lavandaria while I wandered around taking photos and testing out the range of the short-wave radios I had brought with us. It turns out that they do reach about 2 miles before the volume and clarity cuts out. I figured that we might need them if we took different routes at ruins and other tourist sites.

In the early evening, trying out best to stay awake and maximize our sleeping time tonight, we rescued two small kittens from the fireplace. Before we arrived, a mother cat had gotten into the house from the yard and given birth to a litter. The caretaker had gotten two out, and we could hear the meowing of at least one more. We were able to coax out the first, and listened closely for the faint sounds of the second as the evening ended. Warm milk and my impression of a mother cat’s insistent instructions finally convinced it to make the journey out from the far reaches of the soot cavern under the fireplace. Four cat-lovers can now sleep contentedly, at peace with their souls.

Here's a link to a video of the photos on YouTube (Around Monte Amiata), and to Picasa for the photos themselves (Around Monte Amiata)


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