Monday, 31 August 2009

AUG 30th

Aug 30. Leaving Hotel Sacre Cuore just before midday and the sat nav immediately takes me onto an unmade road. It isn't even a farm track and it falls so steeply that I don't think me and Roisie can turn around and go back. We plough on and come out at a junction beside the main dual carriageway. How did sat nav know that? I open the throttle and off we go! Me and Rosie have a wee problem. I don't think she'll mind me telling you that when she's half full it's too early to fill up. 5 litres is the minimum that self service will serve. When she's quarter full then we're already a bit low and not for the first time I find nyself on the road with the warning light on, no garage in sight, it's a Sunday and we're in trouble. After another ten scary miles we're nearly empty and I leave the main road and drive into the nearest town wishing it wasn't a Sunday in August. And we come upon a petrol station right away. It's self service, and the machine doesn't take credit cards. None of them do. A kind person changes my 50 Euro note, and the machine gives Rosie 10 Euros worth of fuel which should get us all the way to Pisa. When we rejoin the dual carriageway we pass a service station within half a mile. Ho hum.

The road from Perugia to Pisa is the same as the road from Pisa to Perugia. We did it a fortnight ago. We leave the dual carriageway and climb over the chianti hills. There are thousands of square miles of vineyards in these hills. And I must have missed the view on the way south. The road follows a high ridge and you can see for miles in every direction. Sometimes me and Rosie stop and let the landscape take our breath away. We drive for 30 miles and don't see another car. Me and Rosie practice leaning over into the curves like real professionals. Arriving into Pisa and sat nav takes me to within 50 yards of Hotel Galileo where I'm sleeping tonight. There it is at the end of this one way street where sat nav directs us. I'm reluctant to disobey the no entry sign so I explore another way. There is no other way. So I break the law. Rosie's locked up for the night. She refuses to have her photo taken in front of the leaning tower. She will have nothing to do with anything so vulgar. 'If your blog readers want to see the leaning tower then can get the tea towel,' she sulks. So I wander up to the tower and take this picture on my own.

Many years ago I came here and enjoyed a fabulous 'La Sonnambula' in the little opera house. Colin Steele never cracks a note. Chet sometimes did. The brass players of The Pisa opera always do. I love it. It's got a rustic quality that I'm very comfortable with. Of course there's nothing on tonight. It's August. But look at what they've got coming up. 'Tosca' in January and 'Candide' in March.

Decide to treat myself to 'Candide' for my birthday. The problem with 'Candide' is that the overture is just the best piece of music ever. So cheerful and so mischevous. You just want them to play it again. How on earth are these rustic brass ever going to get their lips round that? The restaurant I wanted to go to is closed on Sundays. I check it out anyway and discover that it is closed for August! So I find somewhere else and eat like a lonely prince, drank the whole bottle, and stumbled home to bed.

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