Raise a glass…or five

This past weekend we had a really nice time with some local pals at our place. We invited a mix of natives and transplants, but most of the natives already had other plans (note to selves: a mid-December gathering requires 4+ weeks lead time).

We told everyone we need help drinking all that wine we brought back from the Chianti and Veneto regions of Italy, but that was just a clever ruse to bring some friends together. Thankfully, no one brought wine, and our stock was reduced by about half.

Nikolaus brought me a new lens for my E-PL2 and the f/1.7 aperture was fast enough to mostly not need a flash. I’m kind of fascinated by the moody depth-of-field side effect, and from the looks of it, lots of attendees were.

Italian Road Trip: Part Four, the Chianti Road in Tuscany

Here’s Part Four of our road trip through northern and central Italy in mid-November, 2011. See Parts One, Two and Three to catch up from the beginning.

We’d heard so much about the wine regions of Italy, and this seemed like the perfect chance to drive the Chianti Road in Tuscany as we were leaving Florence and Lucca for parts further east and north.

When we picked up our rental car at the start of the trip, the cigarette lighter wasn’t working, and our GPS (“sat-nav”, “navi”, etc.) would have been useless in that car. I’m really glad we made the rental agency give us another car with a working power port — this part of the trip would have been v e r y   s l o w, pausing at every intersection to try to decide how to proceed. Indeed, the pace of this part of the trip was quite a bit slower anyways, owing to the terrain and pulling over frequently to take in the sights at the crest of a hill or in the middle of an olive tree grove.

    Some things to note for next time:

  • In the off-season, not a lot was going on in the towns. Most cafés, restaurants, and stores were closed in the middle of the day, or maybe for the whole day. But the roads were wide-open — it mostly just us and the racing bikers, which made it easy to park. It’ll be drastically different in the high tourist season.
  • You’ll burn through a lot of gas up and down those roads twisting between the hills; probably best to start with a full tank of gas.