Team Dave have spent the day recharging their batteries, literally, making the most of the free electricity supply at the free sosta in Torrita di Siena (N43.16438 E11.77171).
With the halogen heater on low all night we kept the winter chill out of Dave, sleeping on top of our duvet while Charlie basked in the faux 24 hour sun. Our power pack and other gadgets charged up overnight ready to hit the road, this morning.
Waking around 8am, the view out of the window was beautiful, an early mist painting the surrounding hills many shades of grey as the sun rose slowly burning it off. Another ‘day off’ was called for. Breakfast was followed by a hot shower for Charlie who was starting to smell a bit too doggie. The soggy pooch shook himself, soaking the rest of Dave, before finally settling down in front of his new halogen sun to dry off. Fluffy, sweet smelling pooch still attracted the barks of the countless guard dogs as we wandered up into the historic old town. Our mission, to find somewhere for a bite to eat tonight, we want to repay the town for our free kipping spot and power supply.
Walking through one of the four gates in the the seventh century walls we climbed steps up to the centre of the town. We were stopped in our tracks as an Audi, seemingly wider than the street, performed a multi-point turn to get out of it’s garage, before heading off. The lack of scratches on it’s bumpers told us it was either very new, or belonged to a driver who had lived here for many years. The main square is deserted, so while Jay nips for a quick look around the church Charlie and I step into the small office that doubles as tourist information. Obviously preferring to be touring the church, Charlie instantly starts to whine, much to the amusement of the woman behind the desk and a customer sitting chatting with her. The lady behind the desk walks over and thankfully speaks English. She translates for the seated lady, who is now giving Charlie the attention he craved, and tells me she has three dogs and Charlie is lovely. We leave to a cheery chorus of Arrivederci, clutching the last copy of a booklet about the area in both Italian and English.
The information about the town talks of the ancient church and it’s contents, the surrounding views and the buzz of life in the town ‘we may often smell dishes made by housewives’. It’s a small sleepy place, but full of history. On almost every wall you can see old arches, bricked in marking the passing of time and changes of architectural fashion.
In about half an hour we’ve walked up and down every sloping street, admired every view across the the countryside and scouted out the location of all the eateries. We head back to Dave where I spend the day working on our next book, leaving Jay to surf the internet – he now knows his flying buttress from his ribbed vault, his Gothic from his Roman arch and it looks like we might be buying an espresso machine shortly!
Our booklet’s culinary section lists the local produce – wine, olives, honey and bull meat. An afternoon walk fortunately finds an apiary and not a herd of bulls. Jay, determined to risk his life, lifts one of the hive lids, only to reveal a second insulating layer, bravado diminished that one stays put. In the garden next to the sosta I greet a lady holding up a net to catch the falling olives, her husband heading up to the next tree with plastic boxes to put the fruit in. As well as her Buongiorno response, another emanates from the tree she is stood by – the harvest is an activity for the whole family. Across the countryside flecks of white and blue are seen between the rows of trees, rakes and long whirling sticks in hand to de-fruit the trees as efficiently as possible.
Back in Dave, the heater goes back on. It’s not frosty out there, but you can feel the chill. Now the waiting game begins. How long can we hold out before our rumbling stomachs drag us into the town – whatever the time, chances are we’ll be at least a couple of hours before the locals!
For Italian car lovers – the number is on the bottom, but you might have to go quite a way to go to collect it!