Friday, March 29, 2013

Leaving and finding home

Our house in California sold in 15 days for 45% over the price we were asking.  Such is the real estate market these days in the Bay Area of California. Crazy. We got all of the offers while we were here in Italy.  Some of them were clever...(you could live in your house 2 weeks at Christmas if you sell to us) and some of them all business.  We are pleased that the buyer appreciates the house and the neighborhood.  Another chapter closed.

I have been sick with laryngitis, which is one of the reasons I haven't posted. I was sure it was an Italian form of the plague.  Il medico (aka Antoinette's doctor came) to see me (yes they do house calls in Umbertide) and said I would live.  A relief.  He gave me some penicillin and said I would be better in 5-6 days.  I said I need to be better in 2 days. He shrugged. Basically I have been asleep, and feel like a bear that just woke up from a winter's nap.

The Stoic One and house guests, Michael and Donna are off to Perugia while I am still hacking and sneezing.  We leave for Le Marche tomorrow and I don't want to miss it.

Before I got sick, we had many adventures.  We met up with Donna and Michael at JFK and flew to Milano, incidents...and then "lo sciopero" the most dreaded word for any traveler, STRIKE!  Sigh, welcome to Italy.  We had to take a train from Malpensa to Milano Centrale to take a train to Florence.  We got half way to Milano and we were all told to exit the train. The good news was our train to Florence was not on strike.  Ok, we only had to take a cab to the train station...we needed two cabs, one for Donna and Michael and the other for us. We got Donna and Michael off and then we waited, and waited, but eventually got there.  Remember we had flown all the way from California so we were more than tired.

We had rooms at the Antica Torre, our favorite hotel, and walked around Florence.  The next day we met up with my childhood friend, Alessandra, who is now a tour guide in Florence.  Her family has lived there for 3 generations and she went to school in London.  The perfect guide.

Michael, Donna and the Stoic One on the back terrace of our hotel in Florence.

We told Alessandra we wanted to see local Florentine Artisans.  She took us to a small shop where the man does stone inlay.  Think of wood inlaid cabinets that you have seen except this is made with all natural stone.  Astonishing.

What you have to realize is that this is all natural stone cut to fit the design.  The stone that is cut must be beveled in order to make a precise fit with the next stone, so that it appears seamless. The stones hold the other stones together. He said the hardest part was finding the stone.

It is hard to tell, but there is a stone vise that is holding a piece of stone.  Note all of the other pieces of stone in the background of the photo.  He is cutting the stone with a hand saw. He learned the trade from his father.

This is not a painting, this is another inlaid stone piece.  Incredible!

Tomorrow we make our way to Umbertide to check out our new apartment.  Any bets on whether or not it will be finished?

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