06 May 2011

Cookin' in Firenze

It's been a very busy few days here in Florence!

On Thursday we did a cooking class, which ended up being super fun. To quote my mon,"it almost made me want to cook." For those who know her, you know those are big words! We made a few things, but the big ones were tiramisu and our own pasta & meat sauce. I've learned that fresh pasta makes a huge difference in the taste of a meal! They also gave us wine throughout the cooking class, which we probably didn't need but happily enjoyed. At the end of the class, the chef recommended a place for dinner located in a more "local" part of town, so eventually, when we regained our appetite, we went there.

W also walked around quite a bit after class...and boy, where the streets crowded! Lots of big groups of teens on field trips. Florence isn't a huge city like Rome, so these groups were taking up quite a bit of space! Thankfully, they left and seemed to have taken with them a lot of day trippers, too.

Thursday we decided to get out of dodge and head to Greve in Chianti. I'd never been, and love chianti wine, so was really excited to go visit where it's made! The bus ride there was uneventful, and after about 50 minutes, we arrived to this darling hill town. Walked around for a bit, ate, and eventually found the wine tasting center. This was a cool place - we got to taste quite a few wines, but the was no one telling us anything about them or really enhancing the experience. I hope someday to do real wine tasting here at some smaller production places and not just these touristy things. But, it worked for us ... W had been told we needed to be back to Florence by 5pm as there was going to be a bus strike. So, no problem, we'll get on the 4pm bus.

We apparently weren't the only ones with this plan, and it turned out to be a very eventful bus trip! There were several large groups on the bus, including some bicyclists, a Swedish tourism class, and a mother with three kids, one who was screaming the whole time. I was rather crowded so not everyone could sit. Immediately, one of the Swedish students started crying. Then, apparently the bus driver was going too fast, and this Italian woman was screaming at him while holding this screaming baby. Then, one of the Swedish girls stands up, comes over to her friends, and collapses. Bus is stopped, she is taken off for air, and the Italian woman yells some more. More swedes crying because they thought their friend was dead (turns out, from the moment they got on they were scared they were going to die because they had to stand and the driver was going fast...I love that the dramatic thoughts of a teenager are universal). Eventually, we move again, then the bicyclists decide they need to get off the bus ...at the wrong stop. Finally, the woman with the screaming baby gets off, only to get a stern talking to by the bus driver. Well after 5pm we arrive back at the bus station...I'm wondering if the driver was in a hurry to go on strike!

The food here in florence has been great, and last night sealed the deal. We ended up at a place right by our hotel, always questionable when in such a touristy spot, but wow, was the food amazing. Plus, we talked to our server, Nico, for quite some time, and he loved us, so gave us free limoncello. And not just a shot each...but he left the entire bottle for us to finish. It was half full when he left it! We happily obliged and drank it all.

Today starts the last leg of this journey, to Venice. Apparently the pope will be there, too; hopefully the huge crowds won't follow.

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