Well i’m married, and what a surreal, magical weekend it was. I am going to wait until we have all of the professional footage through before I do a write up as i want to do it justice but I just want to say thank you for all of the kind messages Lois and I have received over the last few days, it has been truly humbling.
In the meantime i thought i would give a little insight into one of my favourite past times, exploring Tuscan hilltop towns. Ok i know that sounds like a pretty niche, middle class past time but hear me out.
The first time we came to this part of Italy was six years ago for a wedding and we decided to make a trip out of it by travelling around for 10 days first. Its safe to say it was love at first sight. We were immediately captivated by the stunning scenery, the fortified towns, the food, the wine, the people. It captured our imagination so much that this is already our fourth visit and of course we decided to get married here.
This time around, seeing as its our honeymoon, we have indulged a little more on the accommodation and wow there are some crazy hotels in the area. However when we next come back (which we inevitably will) we will be resorting to our usual tactics of finding some cheap flights, renting a little Fiat and heading off into the hills with no itinerary or pre-booked accommodation. That decision isn’t just based on the fact that post wedding its looking like i will have to be filing for bankruptcy but more to do with the fact that spending a fortune really isn’t necessary. These days apps such as trip advisor and airb&b make nomadic holidaying a piece of cake. One is now able to get lost (without actually getting lost) and discover all of the back street gems previously kept secret by the locals.
Unless i’m asleep there’s only so long i can sit on a sun lounger before i go insane, roughly 46 seconds to be exact. Fortunately, although not quite as resolute, Lois shares my distain for idleness so its quite easy to persuade her to go exploring. Today we headed west from the hotel in search of some more Tuscan delights, and as usual we weren’t disappointed.
I’m not going to go into details of the individual communes but basically they are all perched on high hills, usually surrounded by cliffs (defensive positions due to the city states of the region being at war for hundreds of years). The steep facades and limited space results in narrow streets, high walls and lots of steps. Also known as ‘a challenge’ for the less mobile. Needless to say, the last time i roamed these cobbles it was done with a little more grace and a lot less sweat, however apart from the occasional stumble i have managed ok so far. Even though we’re in a different country I still get the confused ‘is he drunk’ look from the majority of bystanders until they see my foot splint which i continue to find entertaining and i’m sure won’t ever get old.
The only real issue has come with the bladder. Bladder infections are by no means common for me anymore however i get more than the national average due to the fact that i find it harder to completely empty the purse. The consequences of said infection is an even more regular and sudden urge to go to the toilet, something that i struggle with at the best of times. Well a lingering bladder infection combined with a lack of public toilets and a maze of steep, narrow, cobbled streets was really starting to improve my Italian. ‘Posso andare in bagno’ i think means ‘can i use your toilet’ or at least it seemed to… Italian speakers please feel free to correct me… Normally this is something that i would hate to do unless i was a paying customer, i’m not sure why, maybe its just British over politeness. However since the accident i have been in so many situations that i simply didn’t have a choice that i have come to learn that people are way more receptive than you imagine. In your head it will probably play out something like; ‘excuse me, can i use your bathroom please’ and their response would be; ‘um, does this look like a homeless shelter to you, now stand there and wet yourself for our entertainment,’ when in reality their answer is pretty much always ‘yes’. Well i have to say that having now sampled over half of the restaurant toilets in South East Tuscany, not only are the staff very accommodating but the lavatories, on the whole, are kept impeccably.
Apologies, clearly gone off on a tangent again, too many blooming espressos. I think what i’m trying to say is, don’t suffer in silence. Cobbled steep streets aren’t easy (especially without my poles), but they are nothing compared to the torment of a dodgy bladder, and if you don’t believe me just ask any SCI patient, but it doesn’t have to be a reason to lock yourself in the toilet. Annoying yes, but like most of these problems, as long as you approach them with an open mind and no shame you’d be surprised how much more manageable they become.
Oh yes and go to Tuscany, its world class… If you want any more detailed info on our favourite towns / restaurants etc, don’t hesitate to ask…..
P.s. I know i’m on my honeymoon but there’s a mountain thats been staring at me all week out here, so tomorrow Lois and i are going to try and climb it. The first real training climb in the build up to Mt Buet in September and it’s the same height as Snowdon, 35 degrees tomorrow and i’ve eaten my body weight in Pasta every day for the last week so it could get interesting!!
P.p.s. If you want to learn more about the Alpine challenge in September and can spare a few pennies towards the cause then please follow the link below…. Thanks 😘