Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Trip in a Nutshell- Part III

I should say at this point, that most of the kids (us and the group that kind of formed) on the tour bus were sitting in the back. We started off sitting anywhere we wanted but then we were told to keep switching seats. Apparently some people complained that they weren't seeing enough of the front and blah, blah, blah. So all the young couples migrated to the back of the bus, like the bad kids.

Also, remember how I wasn't feeling so hot right before we left? Well, it would seem that it was a cold. By Florence Aaron felt like death. I was still coughing a bit but feeling better by the day.

San Gimignano:

The second Etruscan city we hit and I totally geeked out because we were 25 Kilometers from Voltera! I so took a photo. I have to pull it off the camera though. (Note: The only photos I can really get till I get the wire from my brother are the ones I took from my video camera.) This place was really beautiful. It's easy to see why so many people are inspired by the region. The city was once known as the city of 100 towers. It now has 14.

The Gellato from this place was as Stewie Griffin would say, "Oh my G-Oh my... God. That's better than sex." The only problem is that it left a hell of a tickle in my throat. But all was well, I ate it all anyway. The vistas from the mountain were outstanding but the views from the Palazzo Comunale were even better. We actually climbed the thing. Some the steps were kind of warped and kind of tilted , but the best part was the very top. We had to climb a metal ladder. I kid you not. The view was worth it though. The group we were with took a big photo at the top. I believe Wayne has it on his camera.

The bottom section of the Palazzo is a museum. It has mostly Gothic artwork and a few more saint remnants that kind of creep the hell out of me. (Note: Here's the thing, I have no issues with the old dead or the creepier side of life. Goodness knows I kind of thrive on that. I just have an issue seeing the old dead and the creepier side of life. Yes, I used to work with the old dead all the time as an archaeologist during college. But that was different. There was a reason why I was getting that close and touching them. I was actually searching for their pieces, in the case of 100-year-old and older unmarked then disturbed graves, and then had to figure out how to put them back together.) But yes, Aaron and I came to the agreement that we're all for Renaissance art. Aaron, God bless him, made everyone almost get thrown out when we entered a room with a gigantic cross with a really, really sad looking Gothic-style Jesus on it. He said, "Jesus Christ!" the moment he saw it. We started laughing our asses off. The guard didn't seem to be so pleased with us.

I tell ya, you can't take us anywhere. During one of the bus rides I almost made a few people choke while discussing the minuscule bathrooms. I said that one of the hotels had bathrooms so small, you kind of feel like T-Rex (arms all tucked into your body) in the shower box. But I digress.

Once outside we all took photos by the city's well and threw coins in. I think I must have gone through at least 5 Euro in fountain coins, starting with Trevi.


We stopped at a vineyard here, in the heart of Chianti for a tour of a winery and a wine tasting. The wine was great, but we didn't get a bottle. We already had two and we weren't sure when we'd get a chance to drink again. The hotel didn't have a back deck or allow people to hang out and drink. Boo...

The tour guide Jennifer, who had a unique way of pronouncing words (every time she said "ancients" she sounded like she was saying "Asians." Aaron and I had a running joke that my people were responsible for Rome) began suggesting photo ops for Pony. I got one of him passed out at the bottom of a wine barrel spout. Teehee.


Well, Florence-ish. Our hotel was just outside of Florence. Two train stops away actually and the train station was right across the street from us. So we got a small group together and hit the city in the evening. Aaron, Arti and a guy named Steve went out for Dinner. We were in the mood for Florentine steak. We got a recommendation for a great steak place just off the Piazza della Signoria, where the David used to be until they moved it to the Academia. We must have circled the whole area for a good hour until we found the place. We asked a waiter in one of the restaurants. He said it was down the street right before we get to the statues in the covered gallery. We went by it, I saw a gap and mentioned that I thought that's what he meant. Upon closer inspection, we all decided that couldn't have been it. It looked like an alley between two buildings. The thing was about six feet wide and dark. We walked around the gallery, past the Ufizzi and found a tiny-ass street. On a whim we walked in. We found the damn place. Turns out the gap we saw, opens up to a slightly wider street, we just entered from the opposite end. The great thing about wandering around is that we got a great idea of the layout of the city and got to see some of the artworks without the crowds. We even walked the Ponte Veccio and there were only about six other people on it, other than us.

Dinner was great but Aaron couldn't taste it. After that we didn't quite feel like going back to the hotel so we hit a little wine bar that Arti's friend recommended. This girl has the ins to just about every good restaurant and bar there are in Italy, I swear it. We wandered around some more before finding Le Volpi e L'uva (the Foxes and the grape). WE got there just after closing, but Arti worked her magic and we each got a glass of a wine. I don't remember what I got but I want to bathe in it, it was so good.

We missed our train back. We were in the train station, we just didn't know which train we needed. By the time we figured it out, it was pulling away. So we walked back to the piazza by the Basilica Santa Maria Novella and had some pastries and coffees. A pan flute band was playing and Aaron and I stated laughing. I suppose they're trying to keep the Guinea Pigs away from all the art (South Park reference). Although nothing was really open at that time, we just sat back and watched the people and took in the atmosphere. It's odd, just sitting there at the edge of the piazza, right next to the Basilica, we felt welcome. For that hour doing nothing, we felt like we were home. It was almost magical. I loved it.

Tomorrow: day two of Florence.


Chele76 said...

so what flavored gelattos did you try? What was your favorite? What did you regret not trying?

BeeOhVee said...

The first time I got a coconut. The second time I got the lemon and a raspberry. Aaron got a tiramisu, then the second time he got a coffe and something else really delicious. I think it was a mocha.

I definitley love the more refreshing, fruity flavors. On a hot day, there really isn't anything better. We noticed that everyone and their mother seems to love the stuff out there.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Germany for 10 years and never got to visit Italy. That's actually pretty sad being that it's not that far of a drive.
I wish I could have gone. I mean the food alone would have been worth the trip. lol

Dizzy Vizzy said...

The back of the bus sucks, the back of the bus sucks!! ;-)

I also laughed my ass off when I read about Aaron's JC crack - how could the guard not find that funny!

Pan flute players!!! Love it!