Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Day Six

June 14, 2009 12:20P.M.

Oh, so much to catch up on! It's been a whirlwind day full of wonderful treats and surprises.

Finally arrived in Firenze and used the gps to locate the Avis rental place. Incredibly nice gentleman helped us get our car and luggage packed away. He also let us leave it there while we toured the city for a few hours.

Meandering our way to the Duomo we happen upon a slice of Fiorentina Life. Church ceremony with folks dressed in period costumes and women in black mantilla. Wonderful.

Turn a different corner and BAM this gorgeous piazza full of incredible architecture. We found the Duomo and Baptistry. OOH and AAH time. Then hop in line for free tour of the Duomo. Thinking about climbing to La Cuppola. We decide however that once we saw the line wrapped around the building Plan B was called for. Thankfully, the second and cheaper option had no line.

After 414 steps (I know, right!) up tight passageways and complaining children we reach the top of the Campignale. Almost same height as the dome. Yay!

We head back for the car and drive the twisty curvy 30 minute road to Castello di Montegufoni.
All I can say is the website did not do this place justice. Absolutely incredible with beautiful sweeping vistas of the Tuscan hills. Yes, I was hopping up and down with glee. Man, did we hit the jackpot!

Gordon and I ran around snapping pictures of everything. The place originally was two palaces and five homes that were later encapsulated into one of the highlights of Florentine culture.
Figure out how to do our laundry, even with the strange coin and ancient key to open the door. So we sat down at the pool for an hour while we wait.

Vicky, Alan, Jim, and Julie arrived around 7P.M. full of stories from their travels. How sucky Paris is in the rain, how horrible flights can go really wrong. We got them settled into their rooms and then made reservations for dinner downstairs at the bar.

At 8P.M. we head down to the Terrazza. Thus begins our 3 hour tour of Italian cuisine. Starting with antipasti of melon, olives, prosciutto, artichokes, and spinach torte. Moving on to prima pasta of penne with tomatoes (delicioso) and a surprise favorite: ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach drenched in a ‘nut sauce’. We had quite the laugh over that as we tried to figure out what the waiter was trying to explain to us. Covered in peanut sauce? Ew. But it was incredible. A white sauce with ground walnuts.

Then came spinach and peas, carne (meat) mixed grill was approaching the busting point. But dolce is always a must. Lemon torte or ricotta cake. Hmm? We finish off with limoncello. By this time? It’s 11P.M.

Alan was walking around and found Allison wandering the parking lot. We had almost given up. Got her and Bryson settled and all crashed by midnight.

The next morning I was up at 6A.M. and couldn’t sleep, so I grab the Nikon and head out for some morning light practice. I even caught the sfumata encasing the Tuscan hills. After an hour I head back to the room and sleep for another two hours.

No breakfast was a real treat, especially no access to cappuccino. Gah! We had quite an adventure buying groceries. No anglais. I ended up with everything I needed though. Who knew facial tissues and jelly would be so hard to describe?

Right now it’s 1P.M. and we are sitting out chatting on the terrazza again. Jim and Julie have been asleep for 13 hours. They’d been up for almost 30 hours. Aaah, blissful castle day.
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