To continue from my first post about Italy:
Ah Tuscany! How I yearn for your rolling hills!
Our last day, we took a trip to Tuscany. We had a private tour with a wonderful guide, Maria, and our driver Marco. It was amazing. Everything is just the greenest green! SO MUCH GREEN. All different shades and different trees, bushes, and grasses.
Anyways the drive was so beautiful.
Our first stop was a little medieval town, Monte Pulciano, where several movies have been filmed and where there was a beautiful catholic church. It was so serene inside, silent, with a few candles lit here and there, and the slightest noise would echo.
It was freezing there. Very chilly, as it was on a mountain, and I hadn’t brought a sweater (our guide thought I was insane), so we scoured the gift shop for one and ended up buying one for each of the four of us (mom didn’t want one). They are pretty great blue and maroon hoodies that have words in Italian about wine and such.
When I was taking some pictures with my lovely camera, Maria asked me if I did photography professionally, and I said I was working on it. She later asked if I was studying at a university and I looked at her. I told her that I still have several years of high school left. She asked how old I was and I told her. She was surprised, haha, I love (for now) being thought of as older than I am.
Then we went up in this really interesting tower that was very very high off the ground, and you had to go up a whole bunch of steps made of bricks, with holes and weird wooden railings, very crowded, just to get to the top, but it was totally worth it. I thought it was cold below, but let me just say I was glad I got a sweater.
We did the first wine tasting in that town (Even after all that wine, I still don’t like it, perhaps when I’m old enough to drink it in America I will, but not now.), and there was ‘snacks’ and chocolate. I’m pretty sure this chocolate was from heaven. It was incredible. We brought home eight bars and wish we had bought more.
We went to another town and wandered around, got some amazing gelato and some souvenirs and the best lemon soda ever. It was such high quality! Anyways then we piled back into the car, did another wine tasting (this time with no snacks so I suffered through it).
Next, we went to a goat cheese farm owned by a man named Guiseppe, or Pepe as our driver called him. One of the employees showed us around and told us the process and opened the room where they store cheese, and let me tell you that it was one of the worst and most overwhelming smells I have ever had to smell. I shudder just to think of it! Then we went to the tasting room and got to eat lots of cheese (which I don’t really like) and some amazing ricotta cheese. Guiseppe said to put lots of sugar with the ricotta, so I did, but then I poured way more than I meant to. So I scooped it off of the cheese onto my plate and Guiseppe looked at me as if I were a lunatic and said “You cana never havea too much sugar!”
After a very full day, we went back to our hotel, bid our lovely guide and driver goodbye, and my sister and I headed to the hotel restaurant to get tiramisu. Which was not that terrific, but oh well.
The next day we headed home. As much as I loved, loved, loved Israel and seeing our friends, there was something about Italy that just completely drew me in. It was wonderful! Truly and completely!
My favorite things about Italy:
- Flying in over the greenest place I’ve ever seen
- Our grand hotel
- Going through spinny doors
- Seeing the painting of Adam reaching for God’s hand
- Touching the pillars of the Pantheon
- Being called ‘bella (beautiful)’ by an actual Italian man
- Seeing Rome in the rain with all the umbrellas
- Experiencing earthquakes (yes, they make my favorites list)
- Hearing a delightful language all the time
- THE FOOD! (gelato, Nutella, buffets, pizza, pasta!)
- Seeing so much greenness and real Italian vineyards
- The beautiful church
- Being though I was a good three years or so older than I am
- Feeling like I could see the whole world from the top of the tower
- Being done smelling that horrific cheese smell
- Having a million wonderful memories.
I was so blessed to be able to go on this trip, blessed by my family, the friends we stayed with in Israel, and of course by the Father for making it all workout! It was truly the adventure of a lifetime.