We have been in Montese a small village in the province of Modena for the last 5 days. It is about 1.5 hours south west of Bologna along narrow, windy roads into the mountain tops. We have come to spend time with my friend, Ladle, (who's father grew up here) and her family (the Ladle is here with the BF, her two beautiful girls, her parents, her sister, brother-in-law and two nephews...all Inglese!). I was last here 13 years ago so it has been interesting to see people I met back then and revisit a town I have held great affection for. Since that time we have had a couple of Montese friends come to Melbourne to stay with us, Miss G, whose place we are staying in now and Francessca, who runs Los Recicladores.
Days have been slow and mainly spent around the pool. There is an inflatable elephant slide and donut style trampoline in the centre of the pool to make things a little interesting. I managed to go down the slide on my side and land with a great splash, legs akimbo, water up the schnoz, laughing underwater while gasping for air. Parents are lethal on this thing (and quite possibly should be banned)! A number of times the lifeguard has blown his whistle and yelled 'Inglese, no!'
The LF and I made a day trip to Siena while Z stayed back with the clan for more swimming and shenanigans (thank you!). The temperature down there was 39 degrees so we were pleased to retreat to the cooler temperatures in the cave like restaurant at Antica Osteria Da Divo for a long and delicious lunch. I had been to Siena back in January 1992 however it was the LF's first experience. It was way too hot for standing in long summer-holiday queues so we skipped the 'tourist hotspots' & walked the narrow streets in the shade taking in the quieter streets around town. Back in the mountains where the weather is cooler (by a margin it seems...especially at night) we headed straight to the bar in the piazza to meet the clan for a spritz, a little evening ritual I'm becoming rather fond of.
Miss G's parents, Enrico & Marzia, have been delightful. They live in the apartment two floors above ours and we have fumbled through, on the little Italian I have and little English they have, to hold some rather animated conversions (quite possibly talking about completely different topics while nodding agreeably at one another). Enrico comes down each evening to water the plants and tend to his veggie patch out the front of our apartment and Z takes particular joy in running out and shouting 'Ciao Enrico. Come Stai?'
We are pretty relaxed here and life is sweet in this small town. Again it's been great to hear the sounds of a smaller town, especially around dusk. Last night we were lulled by choir practice in the apartment block across from ours while we ate dinner and watched the sun set. It was one of those totally missable 'incredible moments'.......