Monday, October 3, 2011

Tuscany: Part 2 (with a promise of an epilogue)

And thus begins chapter two of the Tuscan saga. Where did we leave off? Oh yes, dreams of horseback riding. So you're thinking, why in the world would you be dreaming about riding horses just when you got to Tuscany? Why not all the time or not at all?

It's because that's what we did Saturday morning.

Oooo, that's right.  Your girl Kelsey here went horseback riding in freaking Tuscany. That's right. What up world? So we woke up kind of early, grabbed some breakfast at the cafe place, and drove over to the farm where we would find our pretty horses.  Snagged some helmet and got saddled up for a little horse tour of the Tuscan countryside. I had the fine pleasure of being the line leader on Piccolo (who was pretty lazy and kind of stubborn) but we rode around some trails and just gazed at the countryside. Words don't do this place very much justice.  We're talking vineyards, trees, sheep, horses, rolling hills, steep drop offs, and a quick fresh breeze. It's like the Italian version of heaven. For realz.

After about an hour of riding though the hills and fields of Tuscany, we went back to the paddock and said goodbye to our new found four legged friends. And then we gawked at the baby sheep in the pasture next to the corral. SO STINKING CUTE. (I want one, as Kate would say, "Baby sheepy-sheep").  We were eventually torn away from the adorable sleeping sheep and driven back to the resort. There we ate lunch on the little patio outside our door, and I reclined in the sun (knowing that this was the last time I would see the real sun until May.  I am going back to MN in January. Uff da.)

Then we loaded up to go tour some of the surrounding towns. (Note: our residence was called Terme di Sorano) These included Sovana, Sorano, and Pitigliano. Of the three not-very-large-towns, Sovana only had a population of 109 people. So we're talking tiny little towns. Like smaller that St. Pete tiny. But there were some stunning little churches and some great little history lessons about what family took over what when. In Pitigliano has a rich Jewish history which was a fascinating little detour from the land of the Catholics, even though now they only have a Jewish population of 3 (that's only 2 more than the speech team).  Just a wonderful little tour. We also visited some Etruscan ruins (can you say Gaga? yup. It happened.) And eventually made it back to the residence.

This is will begin the two hour segment of my Saturday that I'm not going to tell you about. Disappointed? I understand. From those who know what happened (don't say anything) it's the best story of my entire European experience thus far. How do you get to hear this story? Easy. It all depends on Cadi. The minute I skype with Cadi, I will begin the extra bonus post about this two hour experience. Hear me Cadi? I am not a 'nerd' for wanting to skype with you, I just want to tell you the best story of your life. Fact.

After that we went back to the room to chill until dinner, had the typical four course meal in the same place as the night before, and then decided to hit up the hot springs. So a little midnight swim in the naturally heated springs, laughing, and relaxing.  Basically it was the best day ever. Not even kidding. I mean, how many times do you get to ride horses in Tuscany, see some beautiful little towns, take a cat nap in the sun, [mysterious 2 hour experience that you will hear about soon], eat a four course meal, and swim in hot springs all with wonderful friends in Italy? How often does that happen for you? Hmm?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

The next morning we woke up early, snatched breakfast, and headed out to this farm. Same farm? No. Different one. This one functioned as kind of a tourist, winery, organic, meeting place, and lunch gig. That was a lot to handle. But we toured the mini winery, talked about the organic foodstuffs, and then went out to see the demonstration of the Butteri. That's the fancy Italian word for "Italian cowboys". They are super proud of the fact that the butteri showed Buffalo Bill up sometime, and so now they did a little demonstration about how they manage to separate cattle and catch the calves for branding. No branding was involved, but some people still felt the need to freak out. It was a lot of fun to just stand around and watch this family of cowboys show off and have fun. Two of the little boys were out riding too (8 and 11) and the 11 year old felt the need to really show off and try and rope one of the calves. We all cheered for him, but no luck. There was also an opportunity to sit on the tied up calf and take a picture. Though I didn't jump on that one, Molly did, you go girl. We also watched them play this game called the Rose something or other. It basically involved arm bands with a rose on them and a bunch of butteri chasing each other around on horseback trying to snatch the other guy's rose. Fun? Yes. Does the girl get the rose at the end? You bet she does. Did we all want the little boys to win? Sure did. After a good long while of that, we went back to the main part of the estate and had some lunch, relaxed for a bit, and moved it all out and back to Rome.

Anyway, that nearly concludes chapter 2 of the Weekend of Tuscany. It was sweet. It was fun. And now I'm back in Rome and attending class.

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