Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tuscany

"Wine is like a woman, you have to get to know her little by little and then love her forever."-Angie (our tour guide)
We departed from Sorrento and started to make our way towards Florence.

En route, we stopped at our first (of many) Autogrill (if you travel through Italy you will become very familiar with these) on the highway.

The drive along the Tuscan countryside was magnificent.
It was precisely as I had pictured it in my mind.
golden hills covered with tall Italian cypress trees
stone castles
yellow buildings with red ceramic tile roofs and green shutters.
Simply beautiful.

We finally arrived in the Chianti region for wine tasting at a castle converted in to a winery, Fattoria Castello il Palagio.

This was my first wine tasting experience.
I doubt any other wine tasting trip will ever measure up to it.

There, we enjoyed a guided tour.
Wine tasted 3 wines: a Sauvignon Blanc, red table wine and sweet dessert wine in which we dipped biscuits
And tasted salami, pecorino cheese with red pepper mostarda, bruschetta and biscuits.
We also learned the "5 S's of wine tasting"
1) See: Hold white paper behind it. Color will reveal age
2) Swirl: Hold the legs so as to not warm the wine. If it goes down quickly=low alcohol content, slowly=high alcohol content
3) Smell: Pull air in and out of mouth, but don't spray
4) Sip
5) Swallow


That evening, we finally arrived in Florence and got settled in to our hotel.
The girls and I sat together at dinner at a little Italian restaurant with frescoes on the walls.
We were waited on by an adorable old man and sipped on Italian espressos following dinner and dessert.
Then, we headed to an old American style bar, "Red Garter" for Karaoke Night.
Barry, Mandi and I ordered a "Tower of Beer" (3.5 liters) that came out with sparklers.



Our entire group had the best time singing, dancing and at one point even chanting "Con-ti-ki".
When karaoke was over, a cover band headed on stage and we left to go to "Twice Bar".
The girls and I danced all night on tables.
Heaps.of.fun.
We didn't walk back to our hotel until 3 AM
singing "In Italia" in the streets arm in arm.
On our way, we got a bit lost and met three hippy Italians with dread locks-Lorenzo, Simone and Noemi who guided us towards our hotel, sang along to "In Italia" with us and helped explain the song a bit.
Dani almost got fought by a crazy jealous Italian girlfriend for saying "Ciao bello" to her boyfriend.

I headed to bed while Marika ran the halls in her cow pajamas. HA HA

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