AT Europe: San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Italy - My Summer House Swap

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I have escaped Paris for the month of August and set up shop here in Chianti. Because I am a freelance writer and blogger with daily deadlines, I can never seem to take anything but a bartered working vacation, made currently possible by a wifi connection at my home-away-from-home office in the Tuscan hills...

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I am clocking the same long days as I would at home, but the Italian scenery has cast its particular spell. In the Marais, I live and work in a spacious studio. My sliver of a Parisian balcony is big enough for coffee breaks. And I can see the top of the Eiffel Tower reflected in my open windows. When I’m there, I am convinced there isn’t a better home office in the world.

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But here, there is a separate office that I can leave behind when it’s time to walk to town or cook dinner or sleep, reminding me of the luxury of being able to close your workspace off with a door. And even better, there is a leafy private garden terrace that has become my favorite place to write.

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The wifi connection even works out here, and while the sun shines, I sit at my borrowed table in the shade of a linden tree, my concentration broken only by the occasional chirping of baby birds nesting above, or leaves rustling in the wind.

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Or, because no place is perfect, the neighbors driving up to deposit their trash and recycling in bright giant cans on the corner.

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When I get tired of staring at the screen, I stand up and stretch and look out the other direction toward the rolling Tuscan hills, dotted with pale green olive groves and tall dark cypress trees, and think that there must be no better home office than Alberto and Consuelo’s lovely terrace garden.

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As the English say, change is as good as a rest.

- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com

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