Kate: Just Don’t Push Me Out the Window

July 2, 2009

dsc01204This past weekend we traveled to Tuscany to the Castello Bamfi winery and then on to Florence for a long weekend. Monday 29 June was a holiday in Rome so we were able to have quite a fun weekend in Tuscany. Castello Bamfi was started by two Italian Brothers from New Jersey and is now one of the most popular and awarded wines in the world. The winery has over 700 hecacres and includes a luxury hotel and 2 different resaurants. We took a tour of the grounds, which included a castle, and then did a wine tasting before going into the plant where everything is manufactured. Castello Bamfi easily has the largest wine cellar I have ever seen.

Then we took the train from Bamfi to Florence. The train was extremely busy but we were able to find a couchette. As we traveled the rain was pouring down and we decided this was much like if we were to travel to Hogworts on the Hogworts express. Sara, Clare, and Kati acted this out. It helped make the trip go faster. Just so everyone knows, Italian trains are vastly different from German trains.

Our hotel, Hotel California, no I did not pick it out, Micah did, was located only 2 blocks from the Duomo and is highly recommended by our group.  That is unless you want to use their wireless internet which does not work very well. I have never seen a man so protective of his wireless internet and unwilling to admit his wireless method may not be the most effective, but that is a story for a rainy day. Speaking of rainy days, we had 1 rainy day in Florence, but it worked out quite well because we dubbed the hour of rain nap time. We started Saturday by attending the leather market and then walking along the river and over the bridge. We saw the fake David, and the place where David was originally. We stopped at Salvatore Feraggamo and I bought my shoes and then went to a leather store Micah loves. Micah bought a new wallet, with his initials custom printed in gold leaf and a leather jacket. The next day Sara bought a leather jacket there and both of them look amazing in their jackets. There really is no better place to buy leather than in Florence. Saturday afternoon Clare, Micah, and I went to the baptistry which was beautiful and quite ornate for only one family using it. The funny thing about the baptistry is that the ceiling is beautiful in gold leaf and tells different stories from the Bible but the actual Baptistry fountain is not very large or decorated, and blends in with the walls. I almost didn’t notice it on the way out.  And then there are the beautiful gold doors that have parts of the Old Testament on them. Clare was determined to take a picture by the doors. So determined we stopped by at 2 a.m. so no one would be near them or running in the pictures.

Saturday night was spent at some Space Club which included 2 dance floors and karaoke. Sara and I sang “Don’t Stop Me Now” even though it is not a karaoke song. They didn’t have Under Pressure so we chose a different Freddie Mercury creation. Micah and Kati attempted to sing “The Way You Make Me Feel” but dropped out in the middle and handed the microphones to Sara and myself, who did our best MJ renditions.

dsc01305Sunday we saw David and went into the Duomo. I was in absolute awe of the beauty of David. I was slowly walking through the gallery and entered a new room reading about the Renaissance paintings hanging on the wall when I looked up to see David. I cannot even begin to describe to you how beautiful of a sculpture he is. It is amazing to me that Michelangelo sculpted David at the age of 26, and how real David looks. The veins in his arms showed absolute strength while there was hesitation in his eyes. I can honestly say my favorite part of Florence was David, hands down.

On Monday we took the train back to Rome and ended up being on the un-airconditioned car. It was awful. Clare, Sara, Micah and I had a couchette to ourselves but our windows were bolted shut. After Micah and I started to go stir crazy we discovered how to open the windows with a tweezers by unlocking the bolts. A man in another couchette with his family watched us win the battle with the window bolts and then Micah went to save the day in their couchette. We now are the proud owners of 2 pairs of mangled tweezers. One was a casualty of Paris, and the other of Trenitalia, but it made the trip much more enjoyable. After getting air flow we watched Slumdog Millionare, which I had never seen but loved.

And back in Rome we recovered from a long weekend and did a great deal of laundry. We bought cleaning supplies today and have decided that their products are not nearly strong enough and are nothing compared to the products in the US. I understand wanting to be “green” and sweeping instead of vacuuming, but really? Our floor could be swept every 5 minutes and it still would not be clean enough. I did, however, discover Mr. Clean at the store and bought his floor cleaner on the spot. Hopefully Mr. Clean can save the day and give us a spotless floor.

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