Monday, February 28, 2011

First Glorious Day in Tuscany


My program organized a overnight trip to San Gimignano and Siena.  We all had to get up awfully early to take a charter bus to be on our way.  The long drive went by quickly though as we played MASH and ate sour strawberry straws.  Upon arriving in San Gimignano, we probably tripled the population.  It was a tiny Tuscan town with all of the old architecture, winding alleyways, and cute little shops.  The view was unbelievable!!  Just by walking and exploring, we ended up at the top of the town, overlooking the rolling hills and trees.  It was so refreshing just being able to walk in the middle of the road, take a breathe of fresh air, and get away from the crazy city of Rome.  We only had a few hours there and we spent it relaxing in the sun, walking into the little shops, and snacking on delicious pizza.  It was only another short distance by bus to Siena.  I am in love with Siena!!  It has the small town feel without being too small.  It is a very touristy town too so getting around is very easy as they have signs everywhere directing you to all of the attractions.  We had some free time when we first arrived so we explored a little.  Matt had called me and told me to eat these fried pasta balls that were from a wooden shack in the middle of Compo, a square in the center of town.  He had just gone to Siena and said I had to get them.  His description of their location did not inspire much confidence so I asked if anyone had gotten sick off of them.  He laughed and said to trust him.  We arrived in Compo and spotted the wooden shack... and I will dream about that little shack for the rest of my life.  Those fried pasta balls or funnel cake balls of crack as I like to call them were so unbelievably amazing and only available from February 1st to March 20th; I plan on going back for them someday not for the city but for the balls.  

Balls of Crack!

I only had a few because I didn't want to spoil my dinner. We all got to go to a traditional medieval dinner and I was really looking forward to something other than pasta or pizza.  It was five courses of things I had never eaten in my entire life and I enjoyed about half of them.  It was so exciting trying new things and I was proud that I was brave enough to do it…especially the duck liver.  I was so full by the third course, but I found a way to make some room for the Italian cheesecake too.  We made it an early night because we were going to have an early morning and long tour the next day so we just had a night cap at Key Largo, a cute little bar in Compo and sang the only line that I know of that Beach Boys song over and over.  
Medieval Dinner

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