Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Last day at the villa

June 27, 2012

Today is our last day at the villa.  Tomorrow morning, we will be leaving for Rome, where we will return the car and stay overnight before flying back to Toronto on Friday morning.  We are hoping for an early start so we can have a little more time to spend in Rome.  I expect we should be at the hotel in time for lunch - nothing moves too fast in this place.

We said our goodbyes to Carla (she probably would still be sleeping when we leave tomorrow morning) and gave her and Sperello a bottle of Canadian sparkling wine with ice wine from Pellar Estates.  We thought it would be nice for them to sample some Canadian wine.  I don't think they can get that here.  We didn't see much in the way of imported wines in the Enotecas (or would that be Enoteci?) that we went to.  Carla was really sweet and said she would try and save it for when Sperello gets back from Florence on Friday.  He stays in Florence during the week and comes back after work on Fridays.

It took us a while to pack everything.  It's kind of tough when you have to keep an eye on the weight of each suitcase.  It is even harder when you can't get consistent readings from your scale (or in this case, the scale that we borrowed from Carla).  At one point, it looked like I was about 3 lbs overweight.  I took out a bunch of stuff and reweighed the suitcase.  Seemed like it got heavier after I removed the stuff.  After a few more attempts with inconsistent results, I gave up.  I will weigh the suitcase again before I go to bed.  Let's hope it is not again exercise in frustration!

That's it for now.  Bye.

Lake Trasimeno

June 26, 2012

I thought the plan was to spend a leisurely day at the villa.  I slept in till about 10 am and after a leisurely breakfast, I found out there were plans afoot to visit Lake Trasimeno.  Lake Trasimeno is only about an 18 minute drive from the villa and we have passed it on numerous occasions on our jaunts to towns and villages in the surrounding area.  So I guess it's only fitting that we pay Lake Trasimeno a visit.

Trying to make this GPS that we have take us along scenic routes is kind of challenging.  We ended up going along the road parallel to the highway, which was not that scenic but we got where we wanted to so it was all good.

We passed a number of small villages on the way to the lake.

View from the car on the way to Lake Trasimeno. This is just past Magione.
First look at the lake from the road.
Another look at the lake with 2 of the islands on the right side of the photo.
A building on the way to Passignano sul Trasimeno, our ultimate lakeside destination.

Pink building.
Looks like the remains of a small castle in Passignano.
Broadwalk along the lake in Passignano.
Three restaurants in a row along street by the lake.
Ferry boat.
Buildings in Passignano.
Sculpture in the lake.
Ferry dock.

And of course, it is lunch time.  Florine and Petros checking out the menu in one of the restaurants.
Statue in park across the street from the restaurants.
The restaurant that we decided to grace with our presence for lunch.  The Lido restaurant was part of a big complex consisting of a hotel, banquet halls and a pizzeria.  We picked it because it was right on the lake.  We figured we haven't had any bad food anywhere yet so why would it be any different here.
View from our table in the restaurant.

View from the restaurant.  We went out to the open patio but it was too hot to eat there.  We opted for the comfort of the air conditioned dining room.
We could have had lunch under this canopy if there had been a table set up.  There was a cool breeze and it was nicely shaded.   I guess they have lots of weddings here - it is rather picturesque.
View from the patio, with the hotel to the left.
My lunch - pasta with mussels-the white one, pasta with pancetta (red), roasted tomato and fried seafood from the lake.  I took a look at the water - it looked pretty clean.  We could see fish swimming around the rocks.
Ferry at the dock.  We decided that it would be fun to visit Isola Maggiore, one of the bigger islands in the lake. Apparently, there are only 14 regular inhabitants on the island, which is famous for its lace making.  Petros went to take care of the parking meter while we went to see what time the ferry was supposed to leave.  The assistant captain said 5 minutes - the captain said 2.  We told them that we were waiting for 1 person and I asked the captain if he could wait 5 minutes.  I got the Italian shrug.  Then we say Petros coming around the corner.  We pointed him out to the captain and asked him to wait.  He said okay, went up the ferry and blew the horn.  That set Petros running while Irene dashed into the office to buy our tickets.  We made it on the ferry and off we went.  The breeze from the lake was so nice after the heat and excitement on the dock.  There were 2 other passengers (with their bikes) in addition to us.  It was practically like being on a private yacht for us.
View of the dock as the ferry pulled away.
Passignano sul Trasimeno from the ferry boat.
One of the islands on the lake.  Not the one that we were headed to.
Isola Maggiore in the background.
A water taxi.
A para-sailor. He was flying on the water.  I think he was faster than the ferry at one point.
Our first port of call - Tuoro.  It was a quick stop - picked up passengers and off we went.  
Isola Maggiore from the ferry.
The ferry dock at Isola Maggiore and the church at the top of the hill.
More buildings on Isola Maggiore.
View of the shoreline of Isola Maggiore.
See, we were really at Isola Maggiore!
Ducks along the shoreline.
Lace museum

Florine, Petros and Irene in front of the church on the island.  This tiny island had 2 churches, one on lower ground and the other up on the hill.
Inside the church.
Petros and I decided to climb up to the church on the hill.  Irene and Florine decided it was too hot for them and decided to stay in the village to wait for us.  It wasn't that bad a walk up the hill.  About half way up, we got a sign indicating that we were indeed headed in the right direction.
And there it was, the church of San Michele Arcangelo (or at least the bells).  We paid 1euro each to go into the church.  We figured what the heck, we are here anyway.  It is a very small church, with a nicely painted ceiling in the altar area.  The rest of the church was pretty plain.  The ticket we got also included admission to the lace museum down in the village.  I didn't think lace was Petros' thing and when we went back down, we found that Irene and Florine had already visited the museum.  Irene took a bunch of photos of some pretty crochet pieces.
Widlife!  Another of Petros' favourite things.  A pheasant crossed the path at about 100m in front of us, at a very leisurely pace.
View from outside the church.
I took this photo of Petros trying to shoot the pheasant as it went into the bushes.  He followed it further down the hill.  I stayed up - what goes down must come up and in the heat, it was too much work.
The gate to the cemetery beside the church.
Refreshments and shade at a bar/cafe beside the dock after Petros and I came back down to the village.  Most of the ferry passengers were waiting around the area.
The captain of the ferry making his way back to the boat.
One last look at the lake before making our way back to the villa.
Back at the villa, we came across this iridescent bug on the ground.  You can't really tell from the photo, but it was pretty colourful.
We discovered that ferns grew in the well in the courtyard of the villa.  It must be a pretty deep well - I could not see the bottom of the well.  There is a well-secured grate over the well.
Inner courtyard, with the internet tree, so called because it seemed in the old days, the best wireless reception was under the tree.  Sperello has since installed a router in the 2nd floor apartment so the reception is pretty good in the living room (and non existent in the bedrooms and kitchen areas).
Another courtyard - it is outside "Adolfo", which has 2 apartments available for rent. (that's the over-exposed building to your right).  It used to be the gardener's house before it was renovated and used as vacation rentals.
A better photo of Adolfo.
Inner courtyard wall, with 2 big planters (lemon trees) on the ground and a statue and urns on the top.

Irene with Sisi, Carla's new pet duckling.  It imprinted with humans and now follows Carla and Adriana around.  It is not scared of people at all, and anyone can pick it up.  Carla takes it swimming in the pool with her.  It should grow into a white duck with a red beak if it is a female.  If it is a male, there will be some kind of red markings around the beak.  Time will tell.  She told us she had another one not long ago, but that a fox might have killed it as they only found her feathers.
Here we are, with Carla, Eco and the duckling.
Florine petting Eco, who can't seem to get enough pats.  Sisi is keeping an eye on them.
Evening sun over the pasture outside the back gate.
Irene by the pool with Petros behind her.  It was a beautiful evening for a swim.  The pool was cool and it was quite refreshing.  We met a British couple who live in Switzerland at the pool.  They are staying in one of the Adolfo apartments and have been since the previous Saturday.  We had not known they were around.  The Adolfo has its own private entrance, and they park by the vineyards beside it.
Sperello had said this was an artichoke gone wild.  It certainly is big.
One of the flowers of the artichoke plant.  Looks a lot like a thistle on steroid to me.
A lone sunflower near the artichoke plant.
The chicken and ducks at the villa.
The swimming pool.  It was a cistern in the old days.
Irene with Pepe.  He loves his scratches too.
Sunset.  The end of another fun day.  We came back up to the villa and had leftover lamb and pasta salad for dinner.  I think we still have pasta salad left. We definitely have lemon tart left. The helpings that Adriana serve up are enormous.