Dinner with our Friends Jeff and Eileen

Now I take you all the way back to June this year, the week before we left what had been our home away from home for the last two years in Italy. A lovely dinner with our friends Jeff and Eileen from California, America who also have their home away from home in Viareggio, Tuscany Italy. I wonderful summers evening with great company, great wine and fantastic food!


A good day to have a BBQ in the Mountains


After a great weekend in Elba and dinner at the old train station Monday rolled around pretty quickly. Millie and I went up to my favorite little vege shop on the corner and got a few goodies to make some breakfast and to have for lunch. We took a one use only BBQ along with some vegetable to Grill and some Lamb cutlets and pork fillet. A bottle of red wine was also added into the bag with some yummy strawberry’s too. Dave, Millie and I jumped in the car and headed for the hills. It was another beautiful, hot, sunny day!

We were sure to take all rubbish back down the mountain with us, being the ‘tidy kiwi’s’ that we are!


A Weekend in Elba

Our time in Italy was finally coming to an end, we had finished working on the boat which left us with just a couple of weeks of spare time to enjoy the Italian country side to its fullest. These last few weeks were spent with good friends and involved a lot of eating and drinking!

Our friend Millie arrived to visit us, we had not seen her since the beginning of 2011 so it was a well needed catch up indeed!

After picking Millie up in the afternoon at the train station the journey of fine Italian cuisine and wine began (beer too was included), which included Souté mussels and clams and an amazingly huge and tasty Bistecca Fiorentina that was shared between all 5 of us (sorry didn’t get a photo of it which is a shame) at a little restaurant called Adriano with our good friends Michele and Daniele followed by many a beverage at Sottos (our little local bar and restaurant for the past two years) until before we knew it, 4am was encroaching upon us (a sneaky kebab snuck its way into the equation on the way home also).

Considering the late night, we were all up at a reasonable hour around 9am and getting ready to head to Elba for the weekend with our friends Rebecca and Phil. First stop was Bar Santa Monica for breakfast and a beer to keep us going! Michele’s mum makes the best scrambled eggs in Italy, so two lots of those were on order along with an omelet.

Then we were off! It was just under two hours to drive to Piombino from here we drove onto the Ferry, parked the car and headed to the upper deck to catch the view for the boat ride. We couldn’t possibly go more than a few hours without food, so we also managed to sneak in a few cheeky slices of Pizza on the way. And even tho it was on a Ferry the Pizza I must say was extremely good! Soon we were in Elba and we were back in the car and on our way to find our accommodation for the weekend which had been organised by the lovely Rebecca! We didn’t manage to get all that far before pulling over for a refreshing beverage!

The bar was even kind enough to give us some ice so that we could start to getting the Rose nice and cold for some sun downers on the deck.

We even found a little vineyard to stop and have a little taster.

Finally we arrived at our destination, a little town called Capoliveri, a nice spot overlooking both side of the Island. Where we were situated was slightly further down the hill and we overlooked the water to the south. This meant it was wine time!

A little drive before dinner to scope out the beach for the following day which even had a Restaurant and Bar which served a refreshingly cold ale!

Now that we had the beach sorted for the following day it was back up the hill again to find some dinner.

The Waitress was great entertainment and after a bit of conversation we discovered that her dream was to go to Auckland New Zealand and that she would like to study there.

When asked what was their best bottle of red wine on the she came running back to the table with a bottle which they sold for 12 Euro… That was their top shelf and none the less palatable. When we asked for another bottle they were all out of that one so it was the next best! Once again drinkable!

The only photo we did manage to get of the meal was the empty plate of amazingly good pasta! It was a dish that Dave had chosen as his main while the rest of us chose fish dishes. After all having a taste of Dave’s meal we decided that there was room to share two more plates of the pasta between us all! Yum!

The next morning Phil and Rebecca were up and about and had dashed into town to get coffees and pastry’s for us which was a lovely start to the morning before hitting the beach with the paddle board!

After spending a few hours on the beach in the shade and having turns on the paddle board we had a spot of lunch at the beach-side bar and restaurant which involved plenty more pasta followed by some great Cozze and Frito Misto and of course accompanied by several carafes of vino.

After lunch we jumped in the car to explore the next couple of bays.

Summer had certainly arrived so we searched for some shade and a cool beer.

Heading back up the hill we spotted a touch of roadside fun!

Before we knew it, the time had come for sun-downers… Some fantastic Rose that Rebecca had got from France (I love Italy for its stunning red wines but they just haven’t mastered the Rose like the French).

Dinner the second night was a fun affair, this time we took our own wine with us which I had got in Viareggio from my friends at Enoteca Sergio who will always give the best recommendations for what ever mood or price range you are feeling! After strolling around we stumbled upon a place to eat which had a good view and a nice table for the 5 of us on its upper balcony.

Not only did we get to take our own wine to the restaurant, we got to open it ourselves too!

Dinner consisted of a great mixed starter, each getting our own plate with seven different tasters followed by you guessed it…. Pizza!

Our waitress was a little shy to start but we soon had her laughing each time she came to our table and we even managed to get her in a photo or two.

The Next day was our last day on Elba, it included a walk, a bit of driving, a swim for Dave and a few beers before jumping on the Ferry to head back to Viareggio.

Once back in Viareggio the fun wasn’t quite over yet, we enjoyed two lovely bottles of Vino on Becs and Phil’s patio with cheese and crackers and then headed to the old train station for dinner Trattoria Burlamacco which do arguably one of the best pizzas in town and their Bistecca is pretty dam good too! It was here that Michele and Daniele met us for dinner also. Dinner was great with loads of yummy food being shared around, and the Vino, Grappa, and Limoncelllo in endless supply!

Heading for the hills

Things have started to get a little busy here now and the weekends away have become few and far between. I have  attempted  to start many a post over the last few weeks but have not got around to finishing any of them! So my poor old blog has been a little neglected. I will however make more of an effort to be more regular in my posting from now on.

The last few weekends here have been super hot, I even managed to get sunburnt whilst wearing sun cream! I have since peeled, but have a good base tan for the rest of the summer. And while half of Tuscany seem to head to Viareggio on these hot sunny Sundays to stroll the passeggiata and lay on the beaches we tend to head for the peace and tranquility of the hills. I have written about going up to the hills before in How much Marble does the world need? but a couple of weekends ago a few of us headed that way for a long and very enjoyable sunday lunch. Before arriving to our destination of mountains of home-made pasta we came across an old marble mine that we had driven past before but had never walked up to… this time we did. It made for some neat photos and I think would be a great place for shooting an advertisement of some description.

Well it’s been a quick one, but better a short one than nothing and something to keep things ticking over until I can write more!

I need a dollar…

Just one simple photo today, which I took while on my way to work earlier last week. Not much to write here, I just like the photo!

Trying to make a dollar or two… multiple  hats on his head, a collection of colourful soccer balls to kick around with on the beach and a bracelet or two. Waiting for the punters to walk by on their way to the beach.

I particularly like the bloke and his dog sitting on the bench in the background.