Monday, September 22, 2014

cycling.in.tuscany

your days in montespertoli are active ones... you woke up in the morning, grab one of the bicycle and ready for a "fun" ride...

it took you some moments to really get use to sliding the bicycle down the slope.  you're too acquainted to the lowland and no longer use to the hilly landscape, let alone riding on a unpaved road with 30% incline and a pond along the route.  nevertheless, after the initial cold feet, you slide it down with cold sweat each time...
 he has no issue with going down the slope, it's just some 300m away from the main reception building and the restaurant where the breakfast is served.  after the sliding down, you have to peddle extra hard to climb the similar incline up the slope.  most mornings, your heart was pounding and you're panting, sweating before you park your bike and have your breakfast.
 on the return journey, this is the slope that you cannot overcome during the entire duration, the road is just too bumpy and you could at most cycled to 3/4 to the top, the last 1/4 you have to push your bicycle up....
you're not complaining, in fact the 300m distance adds some elements of adventure and sweats to the farm stay experience...

tuscany's sky

tuscany's sun has charmed you. you can't get enough of the landscape and the scenese as the sky changes. you went for your swim (again) and though it's kinda late but you just enjoy the late evening by the pool observing the sunset of tuscany. it's just so blissful, you feel so relaxed, calmed and peaceful and hoping this can last a little longer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

::cook-out::

it's been awhile, since you last invited your friends over and had a cook-out session. the last one in this setting is probably in september last year. it must be the weather, the early autumn days are perfect to spend in the kitchen.
fish maw soup, making this soup a day before is always a good idea so that the flavor can develop after a night.

kacangma, sea coral kerabu, soy braised meat
the food you served are rustic, unpretentious home cooking.  flavor of childhood and dishes that you can whisked up without referring to any recipe but just based on your memory (and gut feelings).

salt and pepper prawns, roast pork belly, french bean with peanut sauce

a collage made by a dear friend whom manage to snap all the pictures of the food.

 it's coconut jelly with palm sugar (gula melaka) syrup. this was brand as panna cotta to tempt the guys to try on it...
a modern twist of teochew orh nee.  you just happened to grab two fresh yam from the asian store and you think of this immediately.  you cooked the yam paste with coconut milk instead of oil to make a less guilty version of orh nee.  you serve it cold too unlike the traditional orh nee is usually served warm.
apple cardamom cupcakes made from home grown apple, this is the safe list dessert for the unadventurous men whom you know will be pleased with an apple cup cake and a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream

all in all it's a fun evening, you certainly enjoyed the cook-out, starting from planning the dish, shopping to executing them.  let alone everyone enjoyed the meal and eat to their heart content.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

tuscany.heart.land

the journey from massarosa to montespertoli only takes about 1.5 hour with toll road.  you refilled your tank before you start your journey, so the fuel should keep you going for a week (hopefully). you just realised how blessed you're in the lowland where you drive a leased car without paying the petrol. now that you have to pay the petrol, you do feel the pain in your wallet.
anyway, you checked in to the fattoria, a true tuscany farm house.
assorted raw ham for him, quality prosciutto, salami and other italian dry meats...
you're too early as your unit is still being worked on, so you have your lunch at the restaurant.  your bruschetta is in its simplest form, just tomato and drizzle of olive oil, yet it's the best you have eaten so far....
the entrance of the building leading to your apartment unit on the first floor
you're given a junior suite apartment with an attic that has a balcony attached to it.

with such a hill slope, pointed pine trees and gentle sunshine, you slow down your pace. yes, that's the true spirit of tuscany and you have the blessing to enjoy it for the whole week here.


it's nice to stay in to enjoy the scenery, listening to the wishper of the wind when the trees produce the sound of music.
let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.

Friday, September 19, 2014

forgettable.pisa

pisa is just so forgettable.  you've been there once two decades ago, but he has never been to pisa, so you both decided to go after your visit to pietrasanta.
the traffic was bad on the way into the city, the approach to car park was unpleasant as they're a number of illegal selling at the car park.  you feel unsafe anyway...
you're hungry, since you couldn't agree on what to eat, so you decided to have a cannoli with cassata cream as your lunch before you approach the leaning tower.
the compound of the leaning tower is flooded with tourists, so many tourists all doing the same pose.  there's no way to capture the leaning tower in a decent way


it's hot and you finally decided to just leave this place and head back to viareggio.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

::pietrasanta::

another small town (or village?) within the proximity of viareggio region.   it's small but pristine without mass tourism, you came as your guidebook suggested and you actually loving it!
 starting from the sculpture street with a frame that denote the start of the pedestrian

this city has a lot of sculptures, the city development is planned around the sculptures.  this place also famous for the marble production, hence most of the churches here are built with marble giving you the cool effect in the hot summer days.
 the courtyard of the church of saint augustine, with some remains of the 14th -15th centuries frescoes
 the mural that tells the story of the saint augustine that you first learned about when you're in malta years ago.  you remember his famous quote ' my heart will not rest until i find my rest in thee'.
 this is the lively town square where people congregate, also where the church of saint augustine is located
you just spent a late morning here, strolling through the pleasant streets while observing the window decorations, it's just a relaxing morning as you expected it to be.  and even when you leave this place you still remember the sculpture of the girl who kneels and prays... pleasant pietrasanta!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

::portovenere::

the striking, sea faring village just outside of cinque terre is unique.  the doria quay is hemmed ina number of tower-like houses which turn the harbor into a fortified citadel.

 there are churches of san pietro, san lorenzo, castles etc but you give them all a missed. with a not too little anymore kid around, it's hard to walk around or be adventurous.
 so you just chilled at the terrace by the pier. after all, the brief swim (?) and playing with the waves took away your energy.
  you bid farewell to the tino and tinetto islands, they are just off the mainland portovenere, and beyond this point you know your trip to cinque terre has ended and you're heading back to viareggio.

.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

::monterosso::

your boat trip ends at monterosso where you spent an afternoon here.  this fishing village is small but touristic
 you walked around the village briefly, it's really charming like the typical scenes one see in a movie, many restaurants and shops that sell all things cinque terre and mediterranean.
 the water is azur blue and standing here your outlook is so surreal, from here you walk a bit further to one of the terrace cafe
 sitting on the terrace this is your picturesque view of monterosso.
 and you can't wait to have a cold punch in the sea soon after the brief lunch pause
 if you're not in the hurry of time, you would sit here sipping your drinks slowly and enjoy the scenery, but you're eager for a swim...
you enjoyed the swim in monterosso with your nephew.  you enjoyed your time in the private beach that you don't know how you manage to get access and was actually in the water for the longest time, riding on the waves.
later you're asked to move on further to the public section of the beach and that's where the nightmare started. as cinque terre only has pebble beach, the pebbles really pierced through your feet (at least the feeling) and you could hardly walk or stand for that matter.  also the waves became stronger and fiercer, it's so strong that you almost swept away by the wave.
nevertheless, this was an unforgettable dip in the sea under the sharp pebbles...

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