The trip getting to Tuscany was a torturous grind. We tried to use the Honeymoon advantage, and it seems we did get preferential treatment, although the wrong way. On both our flights, we were right next to the bathroom, which isn’t as cool as it sounds. I was trying to sleep on the way over from Chicago to Madrid (the eight hour flight), and continuously got bumped into as people tried to squeeze two people through the airplane aisles (one for the person waiting in line, one for the person coming out of the can). It was less painful on the flight from Madrid to Bologna (the two hour flight), but still annoying. Once we got to Bologna, however, we were in great shape. We got a car in a matter of minutes, and in another matter of minutes, we were on the road. Our cruising speed on the Autostrade (similar to the Autobahn in Germany) was about 140 kph (just shy of 90 mph), but I got it up to 170 (about 110 mph) at a couple points. Regarding the rest of the driving experience, you can read about it here
Everywhere you look in Tuscany, it’s a postcard. You have to struggle to find a mildly unpleasant view. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a more beautiful province in my life. We got to our place, a small guest house in a farmhouse area, by going down a gravel road for about two or three miles. There were three spots on the road that, if we weren’t careful, we’d hit a rock with the bottom of our car, and it would make a gastank-rending sound. We learned to be careful very quickly. The place was exquisite in many respects. It was almost completely silent, and looking out over the countryside in the morning or at sunset was a sublime experience. Sitting out under the stars was even better. It didn’t have any ventilation, however, which made for uncomfortable sleeping.
Here are some highlights of cities we visited:Florence:
Beautiful place, with a lot of rich culture. The place seems to be entirely populated with models, too. Driving there was an adventure akin to a game of dodgeball. We got most of our loot there, at an outdoor market. I definitely want to go back again.Castillina in Chianti:
A small touristy town, one of the smaller hilltop fortresses that are found all around Tuscany. It was close to where we were staying, so it was convenient and very pleasant, if a bit geared towards tourists.Siena:
Another beautiful hilltop fortress town. Don’t have a lot to say about it, other than it was freakin’ amazing to see the windy streets piled high with buildings on either side, like a rustic canyon.Volterra:
Another hilltop fortress town (seeing a trend?). This was the highest of the cities we visited, and one of the best. The place is the home of the best alabaster carvers in the world, which didn’t impress me so much until I saw it. Some of the artwork that was done in alabaster was amazing, and it feels very cool. That, and the town has a gorgeous view, with more twisty windy canyon streets.
By Friday, my camera battery started dying, so I had to be very selective about what pictures I took. I was still able to take the pictures I wanted to, but that was because I was being selective.
We traveled around a lot that week, seeing more little places here and there. We walked a heck of a lot through the whole trip, and though we ate well, we both think we lost a little weight.