Through the narrowest of streets we whizzed; up steep gravel paths we stormed; around sharp one lane curves we zoomed; round round-abouts we rounded and across one lane bridges we forded. The Hancock’s, Ken and Paula, professed that they had never been on such an adventure before.
“You’ve never driven a manual transmission car,” Ken asserted. I told him that, indeed, I had. For over ten years in Tomball and recently in Spain, in fact. “The clutch won’t last the day the way you ride it and the way you change gears,” was his reply. I really could not hear everything he said as I grinded gears between 2nd and 4th, never really finding 3rd. “This is a family car you know–did you take lessons from Doug Dommer–this isn’t a sports car–these are gravel roads and steep drop offs.” “Arn’t those vineyards down in the valley beautiful,” said I, as we rounded the curve. “And, by the way, I taught Doug how to drive.” Ken found none of this reassuring.
Paula had other colorful ways of describing the trip.
I loved the trip through the Chianti wine region of Italy and to the hill towns with majestic towers and walls. We passed through the middle of vineyards, budding out with bright lime green leaves. Wisteria was in full bloom and graced rock walls and hung from arbors. Wild flowers were in bloom in fields and the rows upon rows of grape vines up steep hill sides provided manicured and organized symmetry to the high hills and rock outcrops in the landscape. We were on one lane gravel paths at times and we drove miles on roads bordered by rock walls and we felt all alone on country lanes shaded by high trees and Italian cypress and we passed though tiny villages with rock homes and churches and we experienced Italy the way it was at one time nationwide and still is in this magical region south of Florence and north of Sienna.
At the end of the day, wine in hand, back safely at our hotel, we all professed what a wonderful day it turned out to be. Just wait till we get to the Italian Alps, known as the Dolomites. The Hancock’s have no idea what a ride that will be. I do. WEG