Wednesday, October 13, 2010

 Looking back at my blog I realize that I have not spent a lot of time talking about my experiences during the week in Florence.  In Italy I am taking five classes: Italian, War and Media, Sociology of Consumption, Beginner Drawing and Wine Tasting.  The classes are starting to pick up now as we approach midterms next week, especially Italian.  I am finally starting to understand what people are saying to me and how I should respond (in very simple words of course).  I use a lot of the word "good" and "yes."

Last week Wednesday I was fortuate enough to meet up with my Uncle Scott and Aunt Amy in Florence.  They are on a European cruise and stopped for the day in Italy.  We met at the Duomo and had a wonderful lunch at a resturant very close to my apartment called Gilli.  They told me some good stories from their trip and I met the other couple that were on the trip with them.  After lunch I went my separate way in order to meet up with my wine tasting class which was meeting at 3pm to go on a tour of a winery.

The winery we went to was in Chianti and was privately owned by our guide Marco and his family who has lived there since the 1700s.  Marco was very sweet and was very excited to show us around his property and all the areas where he makes his wine.  We got to see where the grapes were de-stemed and the skins were removed, where the fermentation process took place, and where there wine was stored to age it.  I learned there are three ways to store wine; in concrete tanks (for the lower quality wines), in steel tanks (for the white wines and some red), and wooden barrels (for the good red wines).  After the tour, he and his wife had set aside some wines and homemade jams for us to taste.  We tried a white wine, a rose wine, a Chianti Classico wine, and his famous Capro Rosso wine (which was my favorite).  He had us drink the Capro Rosso wine with dark chocolate and it was amazing! Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera so I have no pictures to document this trip:(

On Friday of last week, 2 of my roommates (Mara and Veronika) and i decided to go horseback riding in Tuscany.  We left early Friday morning and did a tour where we were first taken to see a castle in Tuscany that was built in the 13th century.  It was really cool it had an entire town within it with shops and even a church.  I found out that 50 people still live in the castle today.  I think that is where I will live someday so that when someone asks where I live I can say "Oh, you know in a castle in Tuscany."
Inside the Castle

 We headed next to where we would meet the horses and go riding.  The ride was beautiful, but I forgot how scary horses were.  They are so big and mine kept kicking the ones behind it when they got too close! We got to see some beautiful country side along the way and when we returned we got to feed the horses and see the baby horse.  I also got to try riding a Vespa at the farm, not as hard as you think they are actually a lot like riding a motorized scooter!
Mara and Veronika on the horses

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