After our hectic, fun, beautiful and overwhelming experience at the Vatican we had to rush back to our hostel to check out and catch our 11AM train ride to Florence. We thankfully made our train, just in the knick of time, and caught up on our much needed sleep along the way.
When we arrived in Florence we were a little disheartened because the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was beginning to rain! We trekked over to our hostel, called "The Florence Plus", which was conveniently located right near the train station, and got settled in to our 6 bed room. We were shocked and amused to find that our room was filled with Frat Boys, and I mean Kappa Kappa - Deka Deka, whatever, Frat Boys, and they wanted to party and have the oh-so-typical "Euro Trip" experience. They greeted us by saying "So, you guys down to party?" and then continued to tell us to expect to get little sleep because they were going to "get some" during their stay in Florence. I'll let you in on a little secret though, much to the boys dismay we slept fine - because there were zero nightly disruptions, the boys came home the same way they went out - alone -,then they climbed into their beds and passed out without ever reaching their less than admirable goal.
Anyways, the first night we decided to go on a Pub Crawl with people from our hostel - after the chaotic fun at The Yellow we were more than prepped for late nights and lots of dancing, but unfortunately Florence didn't pan out to be quite as fun. The pubs/clubs we went to were narrow halls that wouldn't allow for any dancing, perhaps swaying back and forth while knocking into other people, but definitely no dancing! It was super lame. We decided that night to head home early to catch some shut eye, it wasn't worth it to stay out and spend money when the crawl wasn't even that fun!
Thankfully that night wasn't totally wasted, before the pub crawl we went out to a really lovely square and indulged in some more than delicious spaghetti. Like really, check it out:
The next morning we just walked around mostly, getting our barrings on the city so we could explore more later on. After a short walk around town we returned to our hostel and went down to the restaurant. There we sat, typing away on our phones, feeling saddened about our lame roomies and our lost friends from Rome - until something caught our eye.... We looked up and saw our Rome friends, standing there, in the middle of the restaurant - could it really be them? Is this just too big, and too odd a coincidence? When they spotted us they came right over and said exactly what had been on our minds "Oh my god! We never exchanged emails, we didn't know how to contact you!!". I cannot even explain to you the relief and joy we felt when we saw E & M stroll into the dining area that day, it was such a great surprise to see nice, friendly, on-the-same-page people instead of our annoyingly loud, obnoxious, stereo-typical frat-boy roomies.
We spent that night in Florence drinking on the patio with our found friends and a few more friends they had brought along, J & B & JJ. We decided that the next we would go on a wine tour, make the trip out to Tuscany and sip on wine from 11:00AM to 6:00pm - sounds like a great day, right?
We woke up that morning ready to go and more than just excited to make our way out to the first winery!
We arrived at the first winery after an hour of driving, it was a tiny little wooden cottage that was placed on a lush green hill looking out and even more lush, more green hills that never seemed to end. The winery was old, a family run winery for decades and you could tell they put a lot of love and work As we sat down inside the cottage our wine glasses were filled, not with a small splash of wine - oh no, no, no - with large glasses of wine. Then we had a second, a third, a fourth, and fifth - was there even a sixth? By that point I had lost count. The first winery ended with us all being a little tipsy and placing generous orders to send wine and truffle oil home to our families.
( I am still waiting for my shipment, but boy am I excited! )
The second Winery was newer winery, ran by a young man named "Michael Angelo" - I know right?What a funny coincidence...... Unlike the first winery which specialised in red wines, this winery made most rose and white wines. As we sat down outside on the patio we were greeted with large glasses of their speciality white wine, a light and crisp wine with hints of apple and peach - it was the perfect refreshment on this hot summer day. Then they brought out tons of delicious foods - salami, olives, bruschetta, balsamic vinegar with olive oil, so we could get an idea of pairings with the wines and also so we didn't get too tipsy as we drank. Something about the food, the beautiful green view, and the wine made me miss Jeremy, it was so romantic and so startlingly beautiful I couldn't help but wish he was here experiencing it with me - I knew right then that I would definitely come back to Florence, to Tuscany but next time I'd bring my best friend along.
Our wine tour extravaganza didn't stop there, we next went to San Gimignano - a beautiful, medieval town in Tuscany that is centred in-between all of these beautiful rolling green hills. Here we were advised to try out the worlds best gelato which of course we were all more than happy to do. I had Lemon, Strawberry and Raspberry Gelato - though some of the more daring people tried out flavours like Paprika, Garlic, and Olive.
The last day in Florence was spent seeing the Dome, looking around the Leather Market and packing our things up to make the short trip to Pisa.