Trip Start Oct 29, 2009
15Trip End Nov 15, 2009
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Kate had spoken with one of the inn keepers before we left to get some local tips. The small twisting and rolling country roads of Tuscany are amazing. There are unending views of vineyards at every curve, and beautiful castle like buildings fill the horizon. We stopped in a quaint town called Greve in Chianti for some wine tasting, lunch, and a relaxing stroll through this provincial oasis. We both had Tagliatelle al Tartufo in butter sauce.
Eventually we found ourselves in Siena, a quintessential medieval city. We arrived around 6pm, just in time for the early evening cafe rush. The scene was filled with college aged kids bustling around, and adults of every age working their way through the narrow alleys to wherever they were headed for the night. The city has several large hills topped with churches and abbeys. We saw a van of nuns pile out at one abbey and another abbey looked just like where the von Trapps hid from the Nazis. They even had an old gate where we saw a nun usher a man (Rolf) out for the evening. The valleys between these Christian buildings are filled with tiny cobblestone streets and they provide a true labyrinth to visitors. Even GPS struggled in this area--it's incredibly confusing.
On our way home we ducked into a local pizzeria with hysterical & delicious slice-of-life flavor. This place was a hole in the wall with about six men at all times--one would leave, a new one would replace him. (They felt like the kind of guys who would mutter to their spouse: hey, I'm goin' out.) After a quick "sera" (evening), the owner would roll out dough, throw a handful of this and that on it, pour a Stella and three minutes later slide the pie on a plate. One of the six guys came in with a plastic bag. He sat at the bar and
pulled out a huge amount of fresh mozzarella (softball size) and
salami, sliced it and ate it at the bar. None of the guys really spoke to each other, they just sat down one by one and ate. Everyone was transfixed on some Italian game show. The entire staff wore white undershirts and kind of shuffled around, but whenever we had an exchange with them, they were so kind and had huge smiles. We loved it.
Cinque Terre tomorrow to beat the rain predicted for Friday! Can't wait for this!!