Paella before Florence

Practicing the Recorder tonight before seafood paella- a Friday night special at the local restaurant. Suddenly the door to the balcony of the room next door opened and two middle aged men dressed in bike leather appeared! Should be some fun tonight if I play my cards right? Actually one is German, the other Swiss, so I promptly play the Kaiserhymne by Haydn. They are suitably impressed! I seductively tongue an A in the upper register, throw in a grace note and finish on lower F.

My last day in Avigliana was spent cycling mainly around the lakes (there are two) on small back roads then to Giaveno and on to Coazze and back to Aviagliana. The road up was of a gradual ascent over about 12 km. The last village lies at the foothills of the Alps and the entrance to one of many national parks. I wandered through both villages each of which had a local produce market. Coazze has signs proclaiming it to be the mushroom capital of Italy! Food for thought. What about a huge sign at Sydney international airport arrival lounge: “Welcome to Australia – the mushroom country of the world”.

The return cycle trip was a delicious descent over about 10km. I earned a gelato- lavender flavoured.

It’s now Saturday and I have arrived by high speed train in Florence to be greeted by sweltering heat and swarms of tourists. As I walked to the apartment via the Duomo, I was confronted by a snake like queue at least a kilometre long! I have a tremendous sense of foreboding.

The DeBoo family arrived around 4 pm – hot and sweaty so we put the kettle on. It’s almost too hot and humid to venture out. A siesta is appealing.

An approaching electrical storm from the restaurant balcony.

A medieval gate (portico) on the old part of Avigliana

The seafood paella


One of the multitude of Japanese tourist groups, frustrated by the queue at the Duomo, are led on an excursion of the industrial waste bins of Florence

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