Day 5 Monday May 30
Today we caught an early train out of Vernazza for the town of La Spezia where we've rented a car for the next few days. Our next stay is outside of Florence in the Tuscan town Scandicci where the train does not run. We're always up for an adventure and driving in foreign countries can be just that.
Once off the train in La Spezia we grabbed a taxi to take us to the car rental office. We were given a fairly new Fiat, bigger than the one we had ordered. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing considering these hillside one lane roads. We were on the road by 10:30, put the directions into google maps and were off. Since we weren't able to check into our next B&B until after 5pm we decided to find the tram stop. You can't drive into the city of Florence so we parked the car and took the tram into the city to get acclimated.
Once in Florence we grabbed lunch and noticed there was little to no line que to go into the Duomo. We took advantage of it and walked through admiring this massive church and its fresco on the ceiling. When we came out we noticed a very long que going around the building to go up into the domes coupla. Instead we opted to climb the 415 steps up the bell tower which had a much shorter line. The view of Florence from that vantage point is spectacular.
Florence is a busy city with lots of tourists, people on mopeds and bikes. You really need to watch where you are walking. We walked around some more looking for the spot to meet the tour company for tomorrow's tour. Arounud 7pm we headed out in search of the B&B we are staying at. The Tuscan countryside is just how it looks in pictures, rolling fields lined with rows upon rows of grape vines and vegetables. The directions on Google maps was spot on. What did people do before Google maps? The roads in Tuscany can be very narrow but Carl navigated them just fine even with his co-pilot's eyes shut some of the time.
When we arrived, Agostino the owner (who speaks about as much English as we do Italian) welcomed us. He offered us homemade bruschetta and poured us some wine while we waited for his wife Theresa to arrive home from work. Theresa speaks enough English to communicate. Prior to arriving you can request to have dinner at their home for an additional cost. We did for our first night so Theresa got right to work making it after working all day. I felt bad she was working so hard after working all day.
This was the best meal of our trip thus far. It started with a charcuterie board of various cheese and meats. Then came the homemade pasta, wild boar, 4 different types of deep fried vegetables, and a garden salad all picked from their garden just before the meal. Another bottle of wine and we thought we were through. Well, that was until she brought out an amazing array of desserts and liquors. This place is amazing and right out of a magazine. The people running it are so genuine and friendly. Even though it's a little inconvenient to have to drive into the city each day, I'll always be glad we chose to stay here.
Looking forward to tomorrow. We are learning to cook like an Italian.