40 before 40: Sunflowers in Tuscany

I have always loved sunflowers. My mother used to grow them in our front yard when I was young. I used to stare at them everyday. That big face with a smile always made me happy. So I grew up dreaming of having my own sunflower field one day. My father owns a decent size land  where we can potentially grow sunflowers, but I don't think I have told anyone in my family about this dream yet. And since my family has better priorities at the moment, I don't think my sunflower field dream will happen in the foreseeable future. This is the reason why I decided to go to Tuscany instead, to experience how it's like to be amidst sunflower fields. 

After my Venice trip in 2013, I want to go on a solitary trip at least once a year. This year, I wanted to stay at a convent in Tuscany  to reflect on life.  However, my adopted family in Bristol was also planning a trip to Rome so I decided to go with them instead. At the same time I was determined to see the sunflower fields in Tuscany so I planned my own trip for this. It was not easy to find sunflower tours on its own. Most of them included wine tours and sightseeings so they were not appropriate for me. I only wanted to see the sunflowers.   I was getting desperate to the point that I was willing to cycle from Siena to the sunflower fields, which I was told was quite dangerous if you are not an experienced cyclist. Luckily, a week before my flight a lady called Paola got back to me. 

Unfortunately, Paola couldn't make it that day because she was due to have an operation so instead, she sent her friend Fabrizio (a taxi driver) to take me to the sunflower fields. Fabrizio met me at the train station in Siena. He spoke reasonable English. I must say, I speak Italian but just enough to get by. But I was so proud of myself during the trip because I could at least make small conversations with Fabrizio in Italian. He actually told me that my Italian is good. Of course he was just being nice.

I had no idea where Fabrizio was going to take me. I read from a blog that the route to  San Giovanni D' Asso from Siena had plenty of sunflower fields. But the trusting person that I am, I left my journey and well, my safety in Fabrizio's hands. 

It only took us 20 minutes to see the first set of sunflower fields.  I couldn't contain my excitement when I saw the sunflowers, fields after fields. And the good thing was, we had the scenery all to ourselves (no tourists).  So there I was, like a little girl who saw the happiest place on earth for the first time.

The town was called Lucignano D' Arbia. Although there were plenty of sunflower fields as we entered the town, they were not the ones I was looking for. But Fabrizio reassured me that that wasn't it. That we would go farther to see more fields. But first, I had to take photos of the beautiful sunflowers.

Fabrizio drove another 10 minutes before I  finally saw the sunflower fields in my dream. I knew from the moment I saw those smiling sunflowers that another dream has come true. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

While most girls prefer roses or tulips, I will choose sunflowers anytime. If I were to get married again, I would like sunflowers to be the main flowers at my wedding, including my bouquet. I'm not sure how comfortable it would be for a bouquet but I will find a way. Also, when I die (God forbid) I want my coffin to be surrounded by sunflowers. I love them that much.

A bonus on my trip was the beautiful Tuscan country side. I'm not sure if it was a part of the tour, but Fabrizio was kind enough to take me around the countyside. I learned from him that this part of Tuscany only grow sunflowers and corns.

The tour was for two hours and cost me £80. I was also lucky that I went in July because it is apparently the peak season for sunflowers. I booked my trip via "Take me out in Tuscany". Paola is very nice and she provided me with a trusted driver. 

I have traveled quite a lot in the past and have seen many beautiful places, but this experience was different. Perhaps because this is my childhood dream and it finally came true. In addition, my companion was the best as he patiently took photos of me over and over again and waited in the heat of the raging sun for me to finish playing like a child in the middle of the sunflower fields. 

Although the things that I want to do in my life are very ambitious, I always believe that dreams do come true. And even if they don't, at least I know that I had a dream. 

tintin x


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