Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We'll always have Poggibonsi...

On Saturday we took a drive through the rolling hills of the Chianti region. It made me a little homesick. If you remove a few of the Tuscan villas and add in Spanish adobes, you'd think you were in Sonoma county (or Napa). Except those wineries would be open on Saturday. Here, not so much. We had our wine with lunch, and it was good. Then we kept on driving. Had to stop and have a moment looking out over a valley with Cecilia Bartoli singing her heart out on the car stereo. Single tear moment.
When we got back into Firenze, we dropped Tim off near his apartment, found our way back to ours, then tidied the joint up, as Tim was coming over and he and Matt got busy in the kitchen. I stayed out of their way. I am no fool, I keep out of the kitchen when two chefs are makin' magic!(Later, it only took me 45 minutes to do the dishes, this I can do...) Some how with a little of this from Tim and a little of this that we had on hand developed: Veal scallopini, pear and pecorino raviloi with cream sauce and salad with strawberry/red wine vinegarette. Three different wines to go with. Magic...
Here's some snaps from the drive.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dude! Dove e l'automobile?

Matt and I sure do know how to have a rockin' good time on a Friday night.
Last week when we got to Florence we parked the car up at the end of our block. Appearently the neighbors didn't like it and on Friday called to have it towed. I noticed it was gone and instead of freakin', I convinced myself that Matt had moved it that morning, but when he came home from orientation at school and asked "did you move the car?" ("no, I thought you moved the car") My heart sank, a lot, not just a little, but a lot. We pondered the situation and decided to call the landlady Federica, and she jumped right on it. Called us back to let us know that the police had towed it and we could pick it up any time (the impound lot is open 24/7) told us the bail amount (97.50 euro - wayyy less than city tow in SF). So we called a taxi and and went to rescue the car from its jail. The taxi driver knew exactly where we needed to go (like he had done this before), Took us on a lovely drive through a part of town we never would have seen if the car hadn't been towed. The guys at the lot were really nice and helped us keep a smile on our faces. The clerk was really sorry to give me the ticket from the police that I will have to hand to Hertz when I drop the car, but it's only 74 euros, not too bad considering what is would cost at home. Throughout the journey we have been blessed with grace and ease. Good times, good times...
After we got back from the impound lot, we hooked up with our new buddy Tim, a super nice guy from Richmond, VA and went to have dinner. Ended up being treated very well by the guy Matt worked for last year. The kitchen was closed "but for you I make it special!! Sit, sit, I bring you vino!!" Then a feast was laid before us and we drank and laughed the stress away. Sat around Piazza del Santo Spiritu until 2 am talking. Rockin' good Friday night!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

When I woke up, I was in Florence...

Aloha ~
Boy, that week went by fast. When I started this journey, I had evey intention of blogging every couple of days. Really, I did. What's that saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"? Not that we're on the road to hell, mind you...
Amsterdam was heavenly. We were well received, and grateful that the hotel manager was willing to carry our luggage up the three flights of (tiny) stairs, while we went across the street to have a complimentary welcome bier. We met some nice Brits and had fun chatting about various things, including politics. They were glad to hear we weren't Republicans. Our time in the Dam was sooo short, really quite a tease, but we both thought it was our easiest and best time there. Well, any time spent in Amsterdam is the best!
Driving in Europe is, hmm, how to put this...similar, yet different. A little faster, a little more aggresive, and a little more yelling involved. I'll be biting my tongue the next time I catch myself starting to complain about how expensive our gas prices are. We are driving a brand new (19 km on it when we picked it up) VW Jetta. Gas tank is probably 16 gallons-ish. The first time we got gas we filled up at 1/2 a tank. Cost 50 euros. For 1/2 a tank. Exchange is roughly 1eu: 1.35US. Ouch.
So much has transpired in the past week that it's hard to know what to write. Matt is at orientation for school today, but when he comes home I hope to load some of the photos here, and write more about the loveliness we have experienced thus far on the journey. Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Are we there yet???

We're not there yet!
We leave on Wednesday afternoon, but don't arrive until Thursday afternoon.
I hope to start posting on Friday from Amsterdam if we can...
Thanks for looking, and bookmark this address so you can check back.
Aloha and Cheers!!