Monday, July 30, 2012

Europe Trip- Day 8: July 5, 2012

By Kristin

We went to our hotel for breakfast today and realized that the Grand Hotel Mediterraneo is on a whole other level from the other two hotels we stayed at...SO busy!

Our group did a walking tour of Florence at 8:00am seeing many sights we saw yesterday on our own, but adding a few new stops:  Museum of Science, the Duomo, and Dante's church and home.  Then we did some shopping, gelato eating (Vivoli Vivoli: supposed to be the best in Florence) and saw Santissima Annunziata.  At Santissima Annuziata, we lit candles for Eric, and our two miscarriages: Baby Champ and Baby Poggie.  Then, we met up with our group again to do a Wine Tasting.  It was great! 

Shot along the Arno River with the Ponte Vecchio

Candles for my brother Eric, Baby Champ, and Baby Poggie.
All three are in our thoughts every single day...
At the wine tasting we got to sample olive oils and balsamic vinegars and olive spreads.  My favorite was a 20 year aged balsamic and Josh's favorite was the regular balsamic. 

Different Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars
Wine Tasting
We got more free time and we went and ate at O'Vesuvio where the Jersey Shore cast worked and had a great pizza!  Then we saw six other sights:  San Lorenzo Market, Santa Maria Novela, Santa Trinata, Santa Maria Carmine, Sato Spirito, and Pitti Palace.  Our walk back to the hotel was horrible for me and I totally over heated!  :)

We took a little nap then got ready for the "Be Our Guest" dinner with our group.  We went to a private family owned castle which makes their own wine, EVOO, rents apartments, has a restaurant, sees groups like ours, and does weddings.  Our guide told us of an amazing history.  It is 900 years old and used to be owned by the Pazzi family, the second most powerful family in Italy.  It was bought by a husband and wife as a summer house, but became so much more.  It is now owned by a daughter, her husband, and their three kids.  We got to learn a lot about wine and EVOO too.  Then we ate! The food was great! 

The castle is up in the hills so the views were awesome too.  We even bought some wine from them.  Amazing night!!!
Ciao Florence!
Castle: "Be My Guest" dinner

Wine Cellar
AMAZING food.  That sauce in the bottom right is a "soup" of sorts.  They mix a tomato sauce with  pieces of bread and drizzle EVOO on top.  The best part was that it tasted like my family's spaghetti sauce :)

Us with views in the Tuscan Hills

Josh's Favorite Part of the Day:
Everything about the "Be Our Guest" dinner at the castle.

Kristin's Favorite Part of the Day:
Every single thing about the "Be Our Guest" dinner at the castle.

Josh's Biggest Surprise of the Day:
That the pizza I had a O'Vesuvio was the best so far on the trip.

Kristin's Biggest Surprise of the Day:
That we went to every single place on our spreadsheet.

Gelato Count:
Josh: 1 (chocolate with nut and mixed berry)
Kristin: 1 (chocolate mouse and raspberry)

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