Thursday, February 24, 2011

Verona and Siena

So its almost the end of another week and once again I can't believe that the time is slipping away so fast.

This past week was full of trips, over the weekend Chelsea, Pasquale, Pete and I went to Verona and then on Monday and Tuesday our entire class had a field trip to Tuscany. Verona was gorgeous! It's so picturesque it looks like it came straight out of a post card, the perfect little story-book village nestled in between white-capped mountains and a winding river. The weekend was alright, to be honest I think I have a different idea of traveling than my companions do; all they wanted to do was shop, I spent most of the only day we were there bouncing in between sunglasses stores and sneaker stores. I actually came away from the entire experience pretty bummed that I had spent the weekend in a place that I had always wanted to visit and all I saw were two streets. Granted, we did see Juliette's balcony from Romeo and Juliette and that was pretty cool. People from all over the world had come and written their names or declarations of undying love all over the walls. It was the most beautifully sentimental graffiti I have ever seen.

We got back from Verona on Sunday, just in time to shower, re-pack our bags and get to sleep because we left for Sienna very early that Monday morning. The trip to Tuscany was full of farms and wineries, for two days straight we went from farm to farm to long lunches and then to wine tastings. It was acutally more daunting than it sounds, every time we all piled back onto the bus after a stop we immediately fell into comas similar to tuckered out toddlers that fall asleep in the back of the mini-van after a trip to chucky cheese, Except that we were stuffed full of carbs and wine, so ours was more of a food/alcohol induced coma.

The first day we drove for 3 hours to arrive at a Chianina cattle farm by 9:30am. I don't know if you have ever been at a farm first thing in the morning but it is truly an unpleasant experience, the smells seem more potent, you're still groggy from slumber and it seems even more surreal that you are now eye-to-eye with a 800lb bovine. After the farm we went to lunch at a restaurant that was run by a friend of the farm owner. The lunch was fantastic, we ate four courses of exquisite food and drank several bottles of Chianti Classico. Thankfully after that we were allowed to sleep on another long bus ride to a winery just outside of Sienna. We tried several varieties of local wines including Sangiovese and Chianti. I'm pretty sure we were all done for the day after that and we all slept on the bus as we made it into Sienna for the night. We got to the city around 7pm and immediately showered and changed to go out for dinner. Pete, Nick, Chris and I decided to break away from the group for a bit and go to dinner as a foursome. We took a taxi into the center of town and found a little trattoria that was hidden in a little alleyway. In my experience the little out-of-the-way restaurants almost always prove to be the best in quality.

The next day we checked out of the hotel and once again piled into the bus for another full day of tours and tastings. We started with a farm that defines the word organic. This farm had free range pigs, cows, veal, goats, sheep, chickens, and horses. All the animals had enough room to live naturally. This farm's claim to fame was actually their chicken farm and their 1euro eggs. These eggs were delicious! They were hormone and chemical free, fresh daily, and incredible delicious. The farm owners' son took us around the farm and told us all about what they did their and their philosophy on good locally grown organic meats and products and he prepared for us to try one pouched egg each. He topped the egg with olive oil, a caper, freshly ground black pepper and some dried oregano and insisted that we take the entire egg into our mouths like a shot and break the yolk in our mouths, combining all the flavors together. It was incredible, it didn't taste gross or slimy like a normal egg would, it tasted creamy and mild. After the farm we went to two other wineries and tried a variety of Sangiovese based wines. They were amazing and all, but I was pretty much done with wine at that point. We had a three hour ride home and we were all ready to get some space from each other. The trip ended late that night as we pulled into Colorno and had never felt so happy to be back at our apartments.

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