Allora….Day 1.5 & 2
So far everything has been ship-shape and right on schedule!
We landed safely in Florence and hailed Uber! Our nice driver, Alessio, who spoke English, got us safely to our hotel. Or at least pretty close. A lot of one-way streets in Florence and they drive fast and crazy! The entrance to our bed and breakfast was a bit hidden, so he drove past it a bit, so we just walked, as it was a one-way street and he really couldn’t turn around.
We had some difficulty actually finding the rooms, as nothing is marked. There were 4 floors and we had no idea which one it was. Nothing said Martindago. I went to 4 and Lorna went to 2 and we could not find it. Each floor just had these HUGE wooden double doors on either side of the floor. I finally gave up and called them. They were on 3!
Ok, we got to our room, filled out the paperwork, and then relaxed a bit. We arrived just about noon, as expected! We were a bit tired, so we took a nap. We needed to meet our group for the tour at 6:10p. I looked on my trusty Google Maps and saw it was just a 10 minute or so walk from the hotel. Ok, we can do this, so we set off. We went a little ways and decided it was the wrong direction, so we turned around. Not sure if this is like this all over Italy, but street signs are on buildings! So, you had to keep looking up without tripping over the cobblestone walks. As Lorna said, it was a miracle we found it, after a few wrong turns and the sun in our eyes, we ended up in the right spot!
We soon found out Alessio was our driver and chef again. No, different person. Lol! Alessio took us into the rolling hills of Tuscany in the Chianti region. We arrived and were instructed to wash our hands. Then it was a quick history of chianti wine and that the wine we were going to drink tonight was organic. Like champagne, you cannot call just any dry red wine, Chianti!
We were then led to the kitchen for our first lesson. We actually made our own dough, added toppings, and then he threw it in the ovens. Next came the demo of making chocolate gelato. We also learned what to look for in buying a good gelato. Kind of like a diamond, but only 4 criteria…1. are crowds local or tourists, 2. price – no more than $2.50 for 2 scoops, 3. be sure it is offered in small amounts, not mounded high in the case, 4. like a diamond, color – be sure your favorite flavor is a natural color, not overly orange, pink, or yellow. After the gelato lesson, it was time for pictures. We went outside and were able to take pictures of the beautiful landscape, while our pizzas were cooking.
It was then time to come in and eat our creations. My toppings were sauce, cheese, black olives, red onions, proscuitto, and what he called salami. And it had a kick! Sprinkled with oregano. I like my cheese on top, so that is where I put it. Pizza was ok, but looked good. I think I will continue to buy my dough! However, the wine and gelato were awesome, and we bought a bottle of wine to bring back to the room. We even got diplomas. By nearly 10pm, it was time to go back, so we got a very quick and bumpy ride back to the drop off point.
Once again, my trusty Google Maps got us back to the hotel.
The next day – July 1! The day of the first concert! I know a lot of it is already circulating on the net…
I woke up at 4am and could not go back to sleep, so I gave up and got up at 6am. Got in our tiny bathroom shower and was careful not to brak my neck. Next, I rolled Lorna out of bed. We made it for breakfast about 8:30am or so. It took us a few tries, but figured out breakfast was about a half block away on the corner. We had 2 cappuccinos and a croissant and shared it with the birds.
We were waiting for a call from Veronica, who was bringing our Verona tickets. We ended up meeting her and her 1 friend at the steps of the Santa Croce at 11:30a. We decided to find a restaurant and had lunch. After almost a few hours, we made it back to our hotel and agreed to meet again at 4:45pm, as Lorna and the girls were gettingb their hair done. Prior to that we almost passed the hotel where the guys were staying. Fans were camped out waiting for them to appear. No sign of them, so back to our rooms we went. The girls got their hair done, while I got our tickets to the concert. I was hungry and it was a bit after 6p, so we ate dinner at this restaurant by our hotel. It was very good and had a very nice waiter who spoke English. They ask you what kind og water you want – sparling or regular, gas or no gas! Ok, what were you really thinking? Lol! It was nearly 7:30p by the time we got out of there, so we quickly went back to our rooms to get ready.
Just getting to the Santa Croce was an adventure. We were just a 10 minute walk away, but it took us almost half an hour, as they routed us clear around the entire plaza to the other side. We got to our seats about 9:10p and the concert was supposed to start at 9:15p. Alas, I suggested Lorna change purses and she forgot her phone! Ok, up to me to take pictures and video.
Oh, on our slight detour around the plaza, we accidentally ran into the guys leaving the hotel and getting in their van. Amongst the crowd, we were able to see Igna’s and Piero’s heads. I screamed to Lorna, “it’s the guys, it’s the guys!” They quickly vanished into the van and the doors were shut. We turned the other way and made it back to the venue to find our seats.
Mi dispiace, but it is 2:30am, i am exhausted and need to get up in 4 hours for our all day tour tomorrow. So, i must sign off for now. Part 2 tomorrow! Sorry, some pictures tomorrow…