What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Just Like Goldilocks

on July 28, 2013

Usually our family takes holidays in the same places every year – the French Alps or the Algarve in Portugal. The routine, the destination, the roads, the things we like to do are all familiar and welcome.
A few days ago Mr Gillybirds and our smallest Gillyboy landed in Rome to embark on our musical interlude in Italy.
The drive of 360km to our destination, a small spa town in Tuscany was a real eye opener. Italian drivers must lie in wait for tourists in their unfamiliar hire cars and hunt them down. They certainly seem to enjoy tail-gating as a local sport. Still we survived the auto strasse and didn’t actually get lost until 5 miles from our final destination, in the pitch dark, on what appeared to be nothing more than a winding donkey track leading higher and higher, with tighter and tighter bends. The GPS gave up and the atmosphere in the car was getting a little tense. “We are going to have the most amazing views” says Mr G (the driver). “If we ever find the place” says I (navigator) close to ripping up the printed google map directions. But we did find it eventually and it is so worth it. To be somewhere completely new,- language, views, culture, food – all unfamiliar is scary and exciting at the same time.
Today we took the funicular railway down to the spa town Montecatini Terme to visit the Spa. It is the most beautiful place, very elegant tall columns, decorative fresco ceilings, piano music wafting gently over those partaking of the waters. All very Jane Austen-ish. There are four types of water on offer, and each can be drunk either hot or cold. They were identified by name too. Gillyboy reclassified them – too salty, quite salty, too sulphurous, just right. There is a sign forbidding you from taking any of the water outside the Spa. Seriously though I don’t think Evian need lose any sleep.
Treatments using spa mud are offered too. The water was certainly not the best tasting and I felt sorry for people in the past who went there for medicinal purposes hoping for cures. Mr G remarked how it was strange that everyone there but us were quite elderly and hoped the water wouldn’t have that effect on us. And he stopped me from drinking too much of the water offering fertility!!

Our main reason for being here is to attend a concert at this Spa tomorrow night given by the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra in which Gillyboy number 2 plays trombone. We can’t wait! But in the meantime Gillyboy number 4 would like another ice cream pizza please! Not too hot, not too cold. Just right.
The joys of summer!

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