Saturday, September 25, 2010

Under the Tuscan Sun

When we left Rome we rented a car to drive through Tuscany to our apartment in Loro Ciuffenna.  It was a charming town with the typical small, winding, Italian streets.  We stayed there for a week and took day trips to Florence, Siena, Arezzo, Cortona, Castelina and the Chianti area.  Between the steep hills, our standard car and the occasionally inaccurate maps I think we did pretty good navigating our way around Tuscany.


I was very excited to visit Florence again, and it was the first time I had been back since studying there in college.  Firenze has always been one of my favorite cities because it is not too large and very easy to walk around. Kindof like Boston! :)  I took my parents to the sandwich shop that used to know my roommates and I by name because we ate there so often and the panini were just as delicious as I remembered.

Here I am on the Ponte Vecchio, down the street from where I used to live.


We have eaten at some incredible restaurants while we’ve been here.  I had been expecting the food to be more expensive (it costs about $1.30 dollar to buy 1 Euro) but most of out dinners have averaged between 50EU and 80EU for the three of us.  At home, I dislike eating out mainly because I am quite picky when it comes to where I will eat.  I prefer restaurants that cook with local products; which is nearly impossible to find at home and I don’t like spending $30 for an entrée, which eliminates most of the choices.  There has not been one dish I have eaten here that was subpar and I have also mostly been eating vegetarian dishes!  *With some exceptions, more on this later.  The food has been fantastic, and most of the menus actually indicated the few items that are not locally sourced versus an American meal, which is usually entirely comprised of food flown in all over the world.  I have to say you can really taste the difference; the food here tastes fresh as if it had just been picked from someone’s garden (it probably was). 
I waited an extra 15 minutes for this chocolate souffle because it was home made and it was well worth it :D
Hopefully the local food movement will take off in the Boston area sometime soon.  Until then I will have to stick with The Independent (my current favorite restaurant – located in Union Square).  Some of you may wonder, why eat vegetarian in Italy of all places?!  I’m not completely abstaining from meat, but I am trying to reduce my consumption as much as possible in an effort to start eating a healthier diet.  I recently finished reading In Defense of Food by Michal Pollen, which I highly recommend; and it has really impacted my outlook on food.

Tomorrow is our last day in Italy.  It has been a great vacation, but I am already thinking of all the things I have to do in the next 5 days to prepare for Taiwan.  When I arrive in Kaohsiung next weekend I will be very busy searching for an apartment, working out the details with my job, and buying a bike to get around.

I am really grateful that I had the opportunity to return to Italy (it’s my third time here).  I can still confidently say this is my favorite country, and every time I visit I find more reasons why.  My top two right now are the food and the people.  But I think those are probably the reasons why I like every country I visit J who would want to visit someplace with bad food and unfriendly people?  Oh, wait that’s America! Haha jk ... well sortof ;)


Did you know you can click on any images in the blog to see a larger version?

Where are you in the world?