Sunday, October 3, 2010

To Wine Country.... Take Two

This morning, I had plans to attend a Catholic mass somewhere in Florence, and then go to the Uffizi Gallery and enjoy a nice dinner. So at seven this morning, I hit my alarm and mentally prepared myself for waking up. I closed my eyes and listened to the bells chiming loudly outside our window, announcing the hour. I counted the tolls and then opened my eyes. I checked the clock to see how long I had lain there, and the clock boldly told me that it was now 8:06. I had inadvertently dozed off again. Mass was at 8:30, and I was going to a church on the other side of the Arno River (about a 10 minute brisk walk), and I knew that I would not make it in time. So I rolled out of bed and popped in the oven a few of the cinnamon rolls I made from scratch yesterday. They came out beautifully, and so I drowned them in icing and shared them with my roommate. So delicious. I plan on making the rest for my house tomorrow morning, although I may decide to limit their intake so I can greedily consume more of them myself.

Then I finished my plates for printmaking, and I am so excited to process and print them tomorrow afternoon. I really hope they turn out well, because I have been fighting with the acid and etching times and I think I'm starting to understand this new studio. Even if they aren't spectacular, I'm excited to see the "finished" prints.

Some of the girls next door came back last night, and the six of us (four from next door, my roommate, and me) decided to take a bus to the Chianti Valley and see the beautiful vineyards and eat some delicious cinta senese, which is a pig that is raised solely in the Chianti region and is prepared in a delicious, savory sauce and served with pasta.

We trekked to the bus station and nearly missed our bus because we were in the wrong place and couldn't figure out where to buy tickets. But we held up the bus for ten minutes to sort everything out and were successful in getting on the correct bus heading in the right direction. As we drove out, I recognized the way, since we had biked most of it a few weekends before. I didn't realize how hard we worked to get up that mountain, but being in the bus only confirmed how steep the road up to Chianti actually was. The bus stayed in first gear the entire way up and struggled up some of the steeper sections.

About two miles past where we had turned around on our bikes, we started the descent into the valley. I am glad we didn't complete the journey, because the downhill was just as steep, and we would've had to bike back up that monstrous incline. But in the bus, it was a beautiful journey, with a gorgeous view and no stress or exertion on my part.

We got off the bus and entered a small piazza full of pretty restaurants. There were several Dutch girls with us, and as we walked around the square, they pointed out a man who apparently is a famous Dutch TV host. He looked like he was on vacation and was trying to be very low-key, so we didn't swarm him and act obnoxiously. Instead, we picked out a highly recommended restaurant and prepared to enjoy a long, delicious meal. And we did. I ordered cinta senese, and it was everything I was expecting. We also tried a Chianti wine (since the region is a wine valley and known for producing some of the best wines in Tuscany), and it was really light and fruity and delicious. I enjoyed it, even though I don't really care for red wine.

Then we went to a wine tasting museum, and looked at all the vintage wines and tried a few of the newer wines. There were over 140 different wines to try, and some of the bottles were being sold for over 200 euros. We also did some oil tasting, although none of us could really tell the difference. They also had some really wonderful honey and balsamic vinegar. It was a cool experience.

It was a long day, but a great one, and I'm glad that I finally made it all the way to Chianti, even if it wasn't by bike. It's beautiful, full of vineyards, and it has so many unique experiences that I do not regret this trip at all.

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