Saturday, 30 June 2018

Fare una passeggiata

I have started walking recently. I mean obviously I have been walking since I was two years old. (Apparently I was a late bloomer. Too busy chatting!) No. What I am talking about is purposeful striding into the countryside for the sheer pleasure and exhaustion of it.
I always wear my hat which means I get many odd glances from the villagers ( What be that thing atop her head. A spaceship per chance) and a lot of thumbs up from the contadini ( farmers) for my efforts.

The best thing, by far though, is that every time I go out, a new adventure awaits me.

Sometimes I discover a new view of San Miniato.

Which is always reassuring because it means I can never get truly lost. 

Or I pass flowers and butterflies doing their pretty things.

I have met a goat farmer called Maria who makes delicious goat cheese and will let you come meet her menagerie of animals if you pass by her gates. I have also walked passed verdant vineyards and whispered thank you to the grapes.

Likewise with the olive groves.

And a field full of wild chamomile which I harvested for my night tea. 

One time I was even  tailed by a swarm of giggling, wild piglets; trotting behind me in full oink and squeal. I eventually encouraged them down a hillside out of the eye of any hunters who might fancy cinghiale for lunch.

Sometimes I happen upon  memorials to war. Always tragic, and at odds with the peaceful countryside I find myself passing through now .  One of some children massacred by the Nazis. 

Another commemorating the great battle which happened on the hills outside of San Miniato in the last months of German occupation.

When I pass ruined farmhouses, I imagine the partisans who may have hidden there. How many lives were saved and lost in the bones of these old buildings.

Often I come across one of the many first-aid boxes littered across the landscape. I always check their contents to see if they have the requisite items: bandages, syringes, tourniquets, antiseptic, medicine for sever allergies. Sometimes I leave a note if I find the box wanting.

Some days i walk so far I feel I will need to carry my legs home in my arms.

But when I get home, I always feel enriched by my stroll and I often find pirate expressing how tired I feel.

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