A day in Tuscany
Trip Start Apr 25, 2010
21Trip End May 18, 2010
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We get to the station without getting lost (always a good start to the day) and find a seat. The bus is mainly full on Americans, although we discover 2 guys from Melbourne, Carlton in fact, on our bus. Our first stop is Siena, which is a walled city that is famous for holding the Palio “horse race” within its town square, twice a year. They cram 30,000 people into this area and it must be pure chaos but they love it. Once inside the walls of Siena, we walk to the Duomo (domed church) and bypass all the queues for entry
We leave Siena and the bus starts to head towards the true Tuscany that we have heard amount so many times before. Usually always described as beautiful, well we can now say that this is so true. Everywhere you look, it is a postcard picture. We stop at an Organic farm for lunch. Here everything we eat has been produced on the farm. They have a winery, producing both white & red wine and we are lucky enough to try 4 of their wines with our lunch. Oh and we are actually in Chianti, so there is definitely a bottle of Chianti on the table. They also produce honey, olive oil and salamis & hams.
For lunch we start with Bruschetta and we are told that it is pronounced “Bruce Ketta” and we are never to pronounce it with a shhh sound again, so now we know. I was expecting the tomato and basil but it was a grilled piece of bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with their olive oil and salt. Can I say that it was delicious? We went and bought their olive oil after that
Next course was freshly homemade tagliatelle pasta with a ragu bolognaise. The pasta was sensational, so much that Andrew wore the sauce on his shirt for the rest of the day. Chianti was served with this course and as I am not a red girl, I gladly handed mine over to a grateful Andrew.
Next course was a plate of homemade salami, Parma ham (raw cured ham) and 2 types of homemade pecorino cheeses (sheep’s milk). This meal although it sounds simple, was delightful. The flavours were wonderful and when you ate it with the copious amounts of crusty baked bread that was on the table, it just made it complete. Oh and an aged red wine went with this too.
Desert was the simplest of all but one we must try when we get home. It consisted of only two things, biscotti and a desert wine. We were instructed to dunk the crunchy Biscotti biscuit into the glass of wine and it all made sense. The Biscotti softened up and was very tasty. Now all of this lunch was had outside, with the most amazing views of the Tuscany countryside
From there we hopped back on the bus and head to San Gimignano another walled city that was extremely touristy but still fun to look at and wander around the shops. Here I brought myself a little leather handbag, which I love (Shelley I redeemed myself and am a woman after all). I can’t buy anything large as we have very restricted space in our luggage (due to the train travel), so this will have to do with my purchases for the trip.
Next stop is Pisa to see, you guessed it, the leaning tower. Man is this thing on a lean. It leans over, due to being built on very sandy soil mixed with being over a water table. It leant over from the very beginning back in the 1100’s and had its lean when they got to the third floor, so they overcompensated and started building it so it would lean the other way, hoping to level it. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that they stopped tourists from entering it after a tower fell over elsewhere and killed a few people. In the 2000’s it was reopened after 30 million dollars (euro)was spent fixing it and stabilising it for at least 300 years. We decided not to climb it, as we are saving our legs for the Basilica in Rome.
The bus trip back to Florence took about one & half hours and it was 8.30pm by the time we returned, so a long but very enjoyable day. We highly recommend the Best of Tuscany tour.