Ok, so the morning was fine. Quick breakfast at Cosona apartment, saying good-by to our hostess was interesting... they live in the huge 400 year old villa... we were staying in the old olive pressing building. The villa has a huge courtyard, statues, wellhead, and even a tower. She led us past room after room in this vast place with 16 foot tall ceilings... but overall the look was chic but lots of delayed maintenance. Her "office" amazingly was a teeny phonebooth-size closet. Laptop, phone and credit card machine. Huh? What a waste of what we would call a castle.
Then onto Mormoraia (the Whispers) a working agritourismo with their own vineyards, winery, tasting room and pool. We selected this apartment because the rooms have million dollar views of San Gimignano's raised towers and the vineyards.
So, I punched in the pre-programmed favorite on Tommy and off we went. More hills, valleys, gorges, bridges, hilltowns and then vineyards galore as got further north Florence province. We got there... but no. The place was deserted. It sort of looked right... pool, view. But, no. This isn't it... no matter how Tommy insisted in his robot voice.
We pulled over and checked the emails... the confirmations. We tried texting. I phoned but got an Italian robo-voice telling me that it was not working. We asked a carabiniere for directions... she was wrong. Lisa suggested using the gps to find the last road in the written directions. We found it--a narrow gravel hill that sloped down into a valley. When I saw the ruts in the road ahead I decided to back out... nowhere to turn around... more than a quarter mile. By this point Lucas and Lisa were both melting down and the stress level in the Fiat was thicker than the bolognese I had last night! Babbo (Italian for Daddy) screws up again. Sorry guys.
We actually went back to San Gimignano to go through the step by step directions one by one... and finally found it! As it turns out, their lat/long coordinates were off by 1-1/2 kilometers. And when I mentioned this to them later on, they didn't seem to care and were barely apologetic.
In typical Italian fashion, the reception office was closed for lunch until 3pm! Great. It was only 2 pm. A stressed Mom and a melted, hot, tired, hungry kid on my hands. I got out the remains of our last fridge's contents from our cooler and slapped together a fool's lunch: two kinds of cheese, sliced tomatoes (happy that I brought my French Laguiole picnic knife in the carry-on), some cookies and bottled orange sparkling water. We sat under this beautiful shady arbor on the grounds and refueled.
In short order they were back to normal. We checked in and saw the amazing view out our windows. The wifi stinks, the tv is not working, but is has clean beds, kitchen, a laundry across the courtyard (more on the laundry later). The place is pretty fancy to be honest... tailored--not really our taste but catering more to pseudo wine snobs. In reality, the bottle Lisa bought from Mormoraia (what? No free samples?) was terrible and acidic. Interesting that although they make their own wine and olive oil, we were given no samples... and the kitchen didn't even have any olive oil to cook with. The last place was more rustic... more authentic. This place feels more like a hotel looking to make money at every turn.
Anyway, I hope the wifi sticks around long enough to post this... then off to San Gimignano to see the towers close-up and to have dinner.