Off we go again

Seems as if I have a lot to catch up on.  So let’s get started.  If you were not aware, Dad is now here with us, which is most awesome.

A few days ago, the city celebrated St. John the Baptist day with a parade and an entire hour of fireworks.  We watched the Calcio Storico on TV.  It really was more of a prison yard brawl than a soccer match. Extremely entertaining though.

We visited the Uffizi museum, which was fabulous. Mom and I have now seen works by all four of the Ninja Turtles (Leonardo, Rafael, Michelangelo, Donatello). Not to mention the collection of Botticelli paintings they have too!

We found a delicious restaurant called La Bottega di Rosa right by Piazza della Republica. Great food, trendy atmosphere. The prices weren’t bad either.

And let’s not skip over the tours we have taken!  Two days ago, we took a bus tour to Sienna, San Gimignano, and Pisa with a stop at an organic farm for lunch.  I must say that I was not too keen on the idea of experiencing everything while surrounded by a group of unruly tourists.  And in some aspects, it was a bit difficult.  But it was worth it to see three towns in one day.  Sienna is a beautiful town that is home to the world’s oldest bank still in operation as well as the famous Palio horse race (which they were setting up for while we were there).  The tour brought us through the different districts and gave us the history of the town.  Definitely worth a trip back in the future.  Next stop on the trip was lunch on the aforementioned farm.  Salad, pasta, meats and cheeses, and wine.  Lots of wine…maybe a little too much wine.  I pet a cow! Anway, San Gimignano was a smaller town with a very clean and cheery atmosphere. We didn’t spend much time there, but from what I saw, it is a nice place for the burnt out tourist to escape to.  Pisa, as Dad put it, was a “check in the block”.  Everybody should do it once to see the leaning tower and the cathedral.  There’s really not much else in the town.  (Though taking a little nap on the Field of Miracles was really nice).

Tour number two was our bike ride through Chianti with some very attractive guides 😉  Our first stop was a 500 year old castle where the family is in the business of wine and olive oil production.  Awesome spot to start the day.  After sampling and purchasing, we were off on our cycling tour.  The first bit was deceivingly simple, all downhill.  About 20 minutes of riding brought us to the restaurant where we were having lunch.  A similar set up to the day before, we had salad, pasta, dessert, and wine…but just one glass this time. I had bike riding to do!  And this is where it got tough.  The sun was blazing. My tummy was full. And there was no more downhill.  While it was mostly flat, the tiny mountain bike was making my hands and shoulders hurt.  There was no more breeze or shade.  Not wanting to look like a total loser in front of our sexy tour guide, I sucked it up and made it to the meeting point.  Mom dropped out about 3/4 of the way through and had the van pick her up.  Realizing that this part was almost too much for me, there was no way I was going to make it through the next leg of the trip…the uphill section.  I regret nothing.  Though impressively, Dad made it the whole way up! Go Dad!  A brief rest and a short (much easier) ride brought us back to the castle where we collected our things and came back home.  Definitely a fun trip.

Alas, today we leave Florence. I’m going to try my hardest to keep it together and not cry like a baby when I get on the train.  I am in love with this city.  End of story.

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