Under the Tuscan Sun in Cortona

Trip Start May 20, 2006
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Trip End Jun 04, 2006


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Monday, May 29, 2006

After breakfast, we grabbed the small poster map of Cortona and Fodor's Tuscany book and began exploring the town. We were blessed with good weather - mild and slightly overcast, good for walking. Did I mention the hills? Fodor's describes it perfectly. "Cortona's steep streets make you pay for your pleasure, but any amount of puffing and panting is worth it to enjoy the views and medieval vignettes. Only one lane is level, Via Nazionale, referred by locals as the Flat Street."

As we walked to Piazza della Repubblica, we heard music. A concert was being held in the piazza! Cam recognized the music as being that of Mozart's. We stayed for a bit to listen and watch the young teens and their instructor. A great start to another great day!

We walked uphill to the churches of San Francesco, San Nicolo and Santa Margherita. All this climbing certainly gives you an appetite. We stopped at Bar La Fortezza, next Santa Margherita, and planned on having a light lunch. We ordered 2 Offerta Di Giorno (daily specials) of risotto ai fungi, brushetta pomodoro-basilic, affetato misto and Coca Cola. The mushroom risotto was a Buitoni microwaveable meal, still left in its original container, but offered on a plate. After that came 2 big plates of bruschetta and 2 big plates of sliced meats and cheeses. We couldn't believe what we saw! First the microwaveable meal, then this? We laughed so hard during lunch! When we saw 3 Australians looking at the daily special, we warned them to only order one and gave them our bruschetta. I asked for the meats and cheeses to be packed up, along with the bread... our dinner for this evening.

After a lot of exploring, we grabbed some gelato and headed back to our hotel. We grabbed the laptop and went to the internet point, a few buildings down. Except for Rome, this has been the only internet point we've seen during our trip. After a lot of downloading, we went back to Hotel San Michele and grabbed the remainders of our lunch. We walked up to the main piazza and sat on the steps of Palazzo Communale to have our dinner and people watch. It was a Monday evening and since many of the shops were closed, it was a quiet night in the piazza... a big contrast to the night before.

We went back to the hotel and watched the Italian version of Deal or No Deal... much more lively than the American version. We caught a glimpse of CNN and saw that Toronto made the headlines with its transit union strike.
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