September 14, 2012

This one time I was locked in a wine cellar...

It was just their luck. This one week they were visiting me in Tuscany it had been raining every. Single. Day. We had just been hiding out in an absolute elegant cafè and took the one rain-free-hour to stroll around this little mountain village, somewhere tucked away in the Tuscan hills. Them being my brother, his fiancée and a friend. And as it sometimes happens in those tiny places everyone is exploring a bit on their own. At one point close to the market square, my brother was walking into one of these ancient courts along the main street to have a great panorama view into the valley. I was following up, because I thought better look out for him, I don´t want anybody to get lost here in a country they don´t understand a single syllable in. We were taking in the dramatic view with storm clouds and hills and wind as a young gentleman came into the court and closed the main entrance.

No biggy, I will talk to him, maybe he did not see us. So I approached him in my most charming way to reopen those doors, but he just said, no, you can go through the cellar. Alright, how long could it possibly take to walk out onto main street through his cellar, right? So we started to climb down the thick, rough stone stairs, as the young man also locked the cellar´s door.

He followed up on us and started a conversation, stopping on one stair or the other to point out family emblems, ancient road maps and the such. I did not get the point of all this explanations and started to panic a teeny tiny bit. We kept walking, he kept explaining and making pleasant conversation, I translated but my head started racing. What are we doing here? Following these stairs winding further down into that mountain??? Why on earth is he explaining all that and why are two doors locked just behind us? I thought about the girls upstairs, probably searching for us and saw that, of course my phone had no reception anymore! I felt my pulse picking up and thinking about my pepper spray. But then, if this were some kind of stupid plan and a very complicated way to kidnap tourists, my tiny pepper spray would do pretty much nothing. Out of sight from any of the upstairs world. I was giving my brother occasional panic looks and we proceeded further down.  At one moment our guide stopped and pointed out the exact stairs where Robert Pattinson had been standing to film a scene for one of the Twilight series. WHAT? Really?! Good Lord, why? Now I know enough girls who would have fainted on the spot but - oh sorry by the way - not me. I´m so not into this vampire thing. I took a picture anyway, you know just as proof ;)

 (Please forgive the quality of the two snapshots, but today I thought story goes above crystal clear images ;))

We entered one huge hall after another, saw old wooden botte da vino ~ wine barrals, listened to stories and history and were by that point well beyond forty meters under the city market. You have to understand that this general situation is not very relaxing for me since I am slightly claustrophobic.  We were trapped in an cantina  ~ wine cellar well over sixhundred years old and still no sight of an exit. I was gazing in panic-awe  at the super ancient ceilings and followed my exploring brother further down, into narrowing halls with humid floors and strange smells clinging to the stone walls next to my shoulders. I thought of the Mine of Moria and kept my brother from reading tracks. We were almost crawling on all four since the ceiling had changed from super high to super low. Suddenly we found ourselves in front of Etruscan tombs. Yes you read that right. Tombs! By Etruscans - sidenote:  a folk around the same time as Egyptians, on former Italian grounds and if you ask me so much better looking. Let me say it again Tombs! Can you believe it? Cross out slightly in the line before! I am VERY claustrophobic. I had a hard time breathing!! My brother was all happy, having this we-just-found-the-entrance-to-the-pyramid-look on his face, climbing around the tombs while I stuck to the staircase leading up.  The air had a very heavy, muddy taste to it, I saw myself already lying in one of those ahem tombs and getting buried alive.

It was the adrenaline thinking...
Let me tell you. My imagination is way too vivid. It was a freakin´wine cellar and they indeed sell wine. After being stuck for way over fifteen minutes in the underground world of old history and modern movies we saw daylight again! Even if I panicked during the tour (we did not know we were given one) today it´s one of my favorite memories from this week together. Don´t you just loooove it how Italians surprise you  anew?

Have a great weekend y´all!

~   Saluti.   ~

PSIf you would like to see, smell and taste this awesome place for yourself: Cantina storica de´Ricci in Montepulciano. They are really friendly people and even speak English. It´s by the way one of the oldest cantina in the whole wide world!!

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