This post is titled in honour of my school friend who had spent the greater part of her primary years in Italy, and in high school had dedicated herself to teaching us about the country and, more importantly, how to greet her (apparently fairly handsome) friend Lucio if he should ever happen to come to Australia.
For me it is the Italian equivalent of "Allo? C'est Phillipe Ledoux?"
Her... "Ciao Lucio!"
Me... "Ciao Lucio!"
Her... "No, no, no. More like Ciao Lucio!"
Me... (sure it sounded exactly like hers) "Ciao Lucio!"
Her... "Nope, you still aren't getting it - Ciao Lucio!".......
and so it would go on.
One of the best things about driving through Italy, is Autogrill. It's the truck stop of truck stops, the petty station to beat all petty stations. It's a service station sandwich that I actually look forward to.
No, I don't drink beer. But I think it's funny that alcohol is sold in petrol stations.
It's also funny that I didn't drink any coffee in France, not even in a dedicated coffee shop because baristas are not a French forte, but as soon as I got over the border I had a coffee at Autogrill and it was delicious!
Followed by a fresh orange juice, which is also a standard in Autogrills.
We drove throughout the day and as it neared dinner I saw we were near Pisa (this is what I love about driving around with no itinerary), so we turned off and had dinner there!
I love the buildings along this river.
But it wasn't the river that had made us turn off the motorway.
It was this joint...
And as I got closer to it, I couldn't help but laugh. Not so much about the building, but about the hilarious posing of everyone scattered nearby.
Pisa interpretive dance
Never one to miss a golden opportunity at dagginess, I enlisted the girls as very willing participants in my dodgy placement skills.
We had the first of many delicious Italian meals that night at a cheap little restaurant along the road.
And Evan showed off his pimped (but really grubby) plaster.
We made it for a very late arrival at the Vecchia Maremma Hotel in Ortobello.
As a simple stopover for a night this hotel fit the bill. The rooms were large and clean, though very basic with accents of orange tile. There was ample breakfast and the wifi was free.
There was a lot of old photographs framed and displayed in the lobby which were interesting. Sadly we weren't there long enough to use the pool but it looked inviting.