A Travellerspoint blog

Well what can I say!!!

Tuscany

After a quick visit back to the Florence markets this morning for Simon to make one last purchase we trudged along the cobbled narrow lanes with our suitcases to collect our rental car........ Omg guess who was there ..... Val and Colin our pals we met on the train ride from Venice...... We settled into the rental car with Simon at the wheel and Leanne and I praying silently in the back........ As we headed to the A1 to Siena lucky for us there was a bus in front of us which we followed most of the way and kept us on the right side of the road....... We headed to Staggia the closest town to where our villa is - had a bite to eat and then headed up the hill to our accommodation. We were greeted by our lovely italian hosts Claudia and Rudy - she is not a big fat italian mamma like we all imagined but a lovely Italian gal...... And her hilarious husband. We were shown to our beautiful Tuscan villa - (photos soon). We had a wonder around the grounds (400 acres of agritourism farm that makes wine and olive oil). We can go to a wine cellar and collect whatever wine we wish during our stay. Claudia (pronounced Cloudeea) then invited us to join the other guests staying at the villa (Australians, Americans and Dutch) for an Italian meal this evening which we happily accepted without checking how much we would be paying..... We all might be on dishes duty........ We sat in the garden and enjoyed our first bottle of Tuscan wine - we could have stayed there all afternoon but the grocery store beckoned. The supermarkets close during the afternoon and open again at 4.00 pm. We found the village no trouble but couldnt locate the supermarket so wound the window down, phrase book in hand, and asked a local where we could find the supermarcato - well that was an hilarious experience with Leanne doing chomping noises that were supposed to resemble food...... After a few attempts I looked up grocery (drogheria) but our local friend could still not understand us and after a one way Italian conversation we gave up and ventured on, found the store and made our purchases for the week. Must be nana nap time before our Italian dinner this evening......

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Florence

Florence

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DSC02617

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A View to die for in Florence

Bus trip.

Day 2 in Florence. Decided on a trip to the local Italian food market this morning. Very interesting , with many stalls packed with Italian goodies. The meats and cheeses were to die for, and makes our kiwi cheese taste like rubber. We enjoyed tasting, the strangest one being fruit flavoured balsamic vinegar served on cheese and ice cream. Sounds weird, but was very tasty, except I nearly choked to death when it went down the wrong way! We wandered back through the markets and then decided on a trip to Piazzale Michelangelo, the finest view over the city of Florence. (See pics). We even caught the bus, along with the locals! We are growing more confident with our Italian each day. We try and learn a word a day, so will be fluent when we get back..........lol. The hotel has been comfortable, although very small rooms and showers. We are right next door to a very upmarket hotel which Simon had to visit yesterday. Unfortunately the shirt he was drying out the window blew away and he had to retrieve it from the garden!! Just as well it wasn't his undies. We pick up the car tomorrow and drive to our next spot. God help us all, crazy Italian drivers and of course, left hand drive.!!! Lx

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Florence

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DSC02582

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Florence

Out and about in Florence

We have arrived in Florence. It was certainly an experience catching the train this morning. Firstly Martyn and Simon had to carry our ever growing suitcases over several stepped bridges. It seems steps and bridges are unavoidable in Venice. There is very little assistance in an Italian train station. It seems that if you can’t speak and understand Italian, then it’s too bad for you!! We eventually made it onto the train only to find there was nowhere to put our bags, so they ended up in the carriage up ahead. It was a relief to finally fall into our seats! Robyn and Simon had to endure 2 hours of the life story of Val and Colin from Byron Bay, while Martyn and I enjoyed our coffee in a medicine cup served by Mrs Trunchbull!! The high speed train travelling 180kph was very comfortable and quick. On arrival in Florence we caught a cab to the hotel which is down a sidestreet and not that easy to locate. It reminded me of arriving at a convent in the middle of the night. Press the buzzer and the huge wooden doors open. Martyn and Simon lugged the cases up 4 flights of stairs once again (we have since used the lift, although it is the size of a cupboard). We ventured out and explored the markets and then visited the beautiful cathedral of Santa Maria in the town square. Sorry Amanda, we did not have the energy to climb the 470 steps of the tower.! On the way back we passed many of the well known label stores such as Prada, Gucci and Valentino. All with a price range too much for us!! Could not resist stopping for a gelato…….yum yum. Tomorrow we will explore the rest of the city……..without suitcases in tow…….Lx

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