A long weekend. Katie and I did a Thelma & Louise (minus the ending), and hit the road on Saturday morning. The only criteria in determining our destination was to follow the sun. South it is!
We arrived at Pisa just in time for lunch, a tour of the city centre and a photo-op holding the Pisa tower. By sunset we headed off to Lucca. Ah…Lucca. We entered the medieval city by foot leaving the car behind us, and as soon as we walked in we were greeted by busy market stalls, festive lights, an ice skating rink, and a market that was dedicated to chocolate and Sicilian pastry. The city is enclosed within walls and a green park buffer zone. Within the city the mode of transportation is walking and cycling. Perfect. We found a nice hotel and got tickets to see a Puccini Opera concert at a nearby church. By midday the following day we walked around and eventually managed to part with Lucca. The boundary between reality and fantasy is blurred on the road from Lucca to San Gimignano. It feels as if one has stepped into a painting as so much beauty is hard to take in. It is the equivalent of hyper ventilating. Conveniently, we arrived at San Gimignano just in time for lunch. We walked into a restaurant, and I ordered Zuppa di Farro. Wheat soup. This was the best soup I had ever had, and all I wanted a soup to be. I will forever search the recipe in an attempt to recreate this experience. Looking up the restaurant following my return, it is owned by a family that also has a farm and a vineyard in the hills of San Gimignano , and produces local wine which I had with the soup. As we were nearing sunset we headed of to Siena. Can I take anymore of this? There is always a fear of becoming numb to the overwhelming overload of beauty.
We arrived in Siena, a buzzing medieval city, that finding a hotel for the night proved quite the task. After approximately an hour of crossing the hilly and ''sharp slope'' city, we took what we could find. In this case the top floor of a boutique hotel facing the Doumo. You only live once, right? And who knows when will I see in Siena again…and before heading back to the North, we thought we needed to try a local restaurant serving local, seasonal cuisine. A slow food restaurant, Osteria del Coro, where I had the local Pici pasta with typical garlic sauce and a vanilla semifreddo with almond crocante and saffron di San Gimignano. During this weekend, as well as the few days prior to that, I had eaten food that is grown, produced, prepared and cooked with love. Love to produce, to the animals, to the land, to the seasons, to nature. It tastes different. It tastes of love.
I can get used to this.