Apologies for the long break but between visits there just hasn’t much to write about. So let me catch you up on the little things that have been happening. We continue to buy “stuff” online and have it shipped to Paul, our local caretaker. The big win this past week was a coffeemaker by Technivorm that we finally found on Amazon and it has the correct plug for Italy. I am calling this a big win because we are coffee lovers and went as far as packing a fancy American coffeemaker in our luggage the last time we visited and within 48 hours it burned out. Seems the voltage difference even with a voltage converter in the mix wasn’t enough as it stopped working the second day. The Technivorm is excellent at brewing and holding drip coffee at high temperatures. Reviewed.com rated it as the best drip coffeemaker available. Other “stuff” includes: a large plain wooden wardrobe (Europe doesn’t build houses with closets), a second bed frame and mattress for the upstairs guest room, lots of small kitchen goods that you realize you need to buy when you start cooking, stools for the kitchen island, storage box for shoes by the front door, on and on. It really feels like it is all coming together.
We have planned our return trip for this summer, 3 weeks (June 15 – July 8th) and we cannot wait. This will be the first time friends visit us in Italy. We’ll take the red-eye into Milan via NYC on Virgin America and Emirates. The flight usually wipes us out and we spend the first 24-48 hours in Milan eating as much Veal Milanese as possible and some shopping. Our friend, Kenny from San Francisco will be flying into Pisa on June 18th and we’ll scoop him up at the airport and head to Florence for 3 nights. I rented this AirBnB apartment in Florence for $400. Our time in Florence will be museums, walking, pizza, wine and Steak Florentine at L’Osteria di Giovanni. We’ll drive back to our house and then Angie from Toronto arrives in Pisa. We’ll spend a day in Cinque Terre and one day hanging around the house before we depart for Berlin for 5 nights. During the daytime we’ll take in the sites like Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Building while our nights will include some of the best techno clubs in the world: Berghain, Watergate, Tresor and Sisyphos.
We will bid farewell to our visitors in Berlin as Kenny and Angie will be off to Estonia while we fly back to Tuscany. We don’t really have anything planned for when we return to Cortila. I suspect we’ll likely be in relaxation mode by now with day-trips to explore nearby towns.
The final update is regarding the rear of the house. We currently have a fairly ugly, thin green fencing bordering our patio area and I want to replace it with a stone wall that matches the house. Italian masons are artists and I cannot get enough of their work. Something similar to the photo on the left. Again trying to plan, gain approval and employ someone to do this work from 6,000 miles away. Apparently Paul asked a mason to visit the house to examine the space and raise questions. Given it is Italy, we still don’t have a quote to do the work. You’d think a country that has such high unemployment rates that people would be clamoring for such jobs but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Also looking to add a pergola overhead on part of the patio area, something similar to this photo.
Paul promises he can build this pergola and we also wait for his quote on the work. It gets pretty hot in the summer so a bit of overhead coverage is necessary to enjoy your outdoor space. Paul is asking all the right questions so I suspect he’ll do a great job. Now the coup de grace for the back of the house would be acquire a fairly decent sized lot that sits next to our house out back and would be the perfect spot for an inground pool. I am dreaming of something like the scenario pictured here. We have two real estate agents trying to figure out who owns the land. When we look at the cadastral map the land appears unowned which might explain why it looks like it hasn’t been touched in 100 years. So the next step is to have one of the real estate agents to head into Cortila and ask the neighbors who they believe owns the land. God only knows how that will go and if it will please or anger those around us. When we purchased here our agent said the people in our hamlet are excited when someone from aboard purchases a vacation home in their town as it indicates it remains a viable community. I hope they think a pool on unknown, unowned land is also welcomed. That’s about it for now. 91 days and counting…