Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A day in Tuscany

At around 7AM I woke up from the sound of the Church Bells ringing. I was sleeping so deeply, that I had to take a moment to process as to where I was. I looked around and found myself in a cute hotel room in the center of beautiful Florence. Varuzh was standing in the balcony listening to the sounds of bells of the Church across the street. He turned to me and said: "Isn't it amazing? This is one of the most beautiful cities in the world!" I was still too sleepy to say anything, but who would disagree with this statement?!

When I finally got up, we went to our favorite shop to get coffee and pastry for breakfast.  Interestingly, I noticed that Florentians don't spend much time on breakfast. They place an order and stay by the counter to chat and finish their choice of sweet pastry and espresso. Then, they wait until the shop owner finally tells them how much they owe. It took me some time to get used to this - I am used to pay for coffee and blueberry scone at Starbucks right upfront!

While I was trying to finalize my choice of pastry, the shop owner Rafael suddenly asked: "So how do you like Florence?"

"Oh, it is amazing... so beautiful," I said.

"So how about if we trade?" he suddenly asked. "I will go to live in California and you stay here." Getting no response from me, he continued: "You can have my home, you can have my shop, you can have everything."

Well, as beautiful as Florence is, I was not willing to trade... and after we walked out of the store, I felt a little sad - Rafael was not the only person who expressed such frustration... Traveling to Florence is not the same as living in Florence. But then, honestly, my life is not a picnic either - I am not a stranger to frustrating days.

We kept walking. Rafael's delicious espresso started kicking in, and the energy of anticipating a day of seeing and learning something new was getting me very excited.

The itinerary of the day: morning walk around the city, visiting the Academy Gallery, wine tasting in Chianti.
 Okay, when I said "visit Academy", I really meant... to see the one and only Michelangelo's David...

... And what can I say - I get very excited about many things, but there are three things in the world of art that wowed me: Da Vinci's Mona Lisa that I've seen in Paris, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and, now, Michelangelo's David.

Yes, seeing David got to be on everyone's bucket list!

Academy is a small place with two halls, one of which belongs entirely to David. And honestly, once you've seen David, you've seen the perfection itself.

We staid at the Academy for quite some time, I just couldn't say good-by; I was in love...

...we had to get to hotel by 2PM to meet our new friend Martina, who would take us to the charming region of Chianti...

...When we finally got back from Chianti, it was already late. The streets were dark, the lights were off with the exception of one restaurant that had soft yellow light glowing through its windows. It looked like a hidden jewel, and we had to walk in.

The restaurant was packed, but the owner managed to get us a table for two. He served us the most delicious food and wine. The day could never end any better way.
I passed out the second my head touched the pillow. I could not imagined that I haven't even seen it all - the next day we were off to Venice...

With love always,
xo, Zuma A.

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