Last hours.

So here I am. My last couple hours in Florence before I head to Paris then into Amsterdam to catch my flight home on the 31st. I will be in Paris for just under 24 hours an have on thing on that is a must on my agenda: To see one of my amazing friend, the dear and beautiful Cara Hrdlitschka, dance at Moulin Rouge! She has been there for a few months and has the year ahead of her, representing one of two (I think!) Canadians ever to have danced there. What a woman, what an accomplishment. Talking about living out your dreams. I am so thrilled I am able to stop of on my way home and see her. I also haven’t seen any friends from home in over a month so that makes it even more exciting! I simply cannot believe my time in Florence has come to an end. My roommate, from this past month, and I shared a hotel room last night and she left at 3:30am today to begin her travels back to where she lives on Boston. There were most definitely years at 3am as she was leaving. It’s amazing the bound you can seal over a month. Both her and my other roomie have made such a lasting impression. I will never forget these girls as can only hope this is not the last time I see them. My mom has personally invited both of them to stay at the house so they have no excuses ūüėČ

Next? I have a half hour or so to kill before I hope in a taxi and head to the airport en route to Paris, and Cara! I am currently sitting in the courtyard/pool area of the hotel, passing time and working on this blog post ( I will most likely wait till later to upload it, as it’s easier as I can add pictures better from the computer). This hotel has been a sanctuary at the end of a long month. The pool was SO needed as it has been blistering, above 35 most days. Something Vancouverites are not exactly used too. Talk about melting! Paris is suppose to be a little cooler, that will be ever so welcomed.¬†

All of a sudden hearing Michael Buble then Flo Rida are in the background makes me miss home…ok not miss, just think of. I have really enjoyed my time away from North American music and TV. Both of which I have listened or watched none of. And I have been just fine with it. I don’t think we realize how pointless, mindless and energy sucking TV is until we step away from it. And I mean really step away. Not just a weekend at the cottage or something. Since last, I have no arrived at the Florence airport, Peretola. Since taking my ‘Lifestyles in Renaissance Florence’ called I could now tell you all about why it is name that. I won’t bore you. Alllllllll of you reading this – ha ha. My cab right to the airport was nothing special but much faster then the 50-60 minutes I’m used to back home. Only 10 minutes or so. I got a little emotional on the rode and had to quickly put on my sunglasses.

This past month has just flown by and I simply can’t believe it. Feels like just a week or two ago I was lugging my bag through the streets of Florence trying to find me way to the housing check-in. Upon leaving, I I really felt like I knew my way around. I was familiar (some what!) what he streets and their names and we has our favorite restaurants and cafes. Boy, I will miss them! I was about to go for a snack at the cafe across from our old apartment, our brunch go-to, but forgot it was Sunday and therefore a lot was closed. Hardly got to say goodbye to the folks that kept pizza for us and made perfect espressos for my morning pick-me-up. They will not be forgotten easily. Instead I went back to Obika Mozzarella bar where Ruby (AKA Johanna, one of my roomies) had dinner last night. For those of you who have not been plaques with my twitter and instagram photos of my lunch, I will put together a post about one of the best and most delicious lunches, and dinners, I have ever had. My love for mozzarella, more specifically buffalo mozzarella, has only grown. Thank god we can get the stuff back home. Just not nearly as old and fresh…obviously. T-minus 5 minutes until boarding. Tis very exciting. Apparently people want to start lining up. This looks like a good idea. I am channling my father, and his travel knowledge he has passed down.

A canceled flight out of Florence, a bus to Pisa, a rerouted plane, and missing Cara’s Moulin Rouge show later….. I am about to head for breakfast, then to the airport to GO HOME! The last 24 hours have been one of the crazies travel experiences ever. Frustrating, funny, and tearjerking. Thats another post. Coming soon, stay tuned!

Almost half way through??

I have been settled into Via Dei Banchi 7 for almost 2 weeks now. Our apartment is starting to feel like home away from home. We a cafe right across the street (our go-to) where we can get sandwiches and light snacks and a wine store directly beneath us. I cant handle how you can buy a bottle of good Chianti for 5 Euros, heaven! We got lucky as our apartment is very close to all our classes, no more then a 8 minute walk. We have little grocery stores, the leather market and lots of shops at our finger tips. Location location location! Perfecto! This is the view from my bedroom window. Can you spot Duomo?!

I love eating out here! And we seem to do it a lot. Why not take advantage, right? Even though almost every restaurant has the similar salads, pastas, and pizzas, it doesn’t matter because everything is just so damn good. And mozzarella di buffalo is plentiful! My absolute favorite. The pasta portions here are perfect. I was expecting the usual mountain of pasta arriving at the table and was going to be faced with the “how am I going to eat all this?!” However these Italians have figured it out and you actually get a reasonable portion, one I can eat all of. Dear United States, take note! Almost every dinner we have consumed has been accompanied by wine. When it Italy! The gelato is completely delicious. My favorite flavor is simple Limone, I think I am channeling my mother. Its the one of the best ways to cool down a little.

Speaking of cooling down. There really isn’t much of that! The temperature has not dropped below 30 during the day, and stays higher then 23 at night. We arrived during a heat wave and had to battle with 40+! Talk about weather shock coming from Raincouver. I am so glad to hear that summer has arrived back home.¬†

This past weekend my wonderful roommates and I went on a ‘Best of Tuscany’ wine tasting. From the name alone you can imagine how amazing it was. A tour bus packed with about 30 of us departed around 8am and we headed south towards Siena. Our first stop was the absolutely adorable, hill top town of Montepulciano.¬†

After walking the narrow streets, taking photos at every opportunity, looking nothing short of total tourists, we arrived at the Cantina Crociani cellar. We were taking down into wonderfully cool wine cellar where long tables were set with glasses, plates of bread (for between the wines) and the most amazing tasting cold pressed olive oil, the real stuff! We tasted three different wines: a table wine, a very nice wine, and a Nobile. Long story short, they were all so good I may have had a box load shipped home. My first big purchase! We had some free time to wonder around, then we were back on the bus. Lunch time! Why not stop at a pecorino cheese farm for a classic Tuscan pasta lunch, with endless wine of course! Before eating, they showed us how they make fresh ricotta, really neat. We had appetizers of multiple kinds of fabulous pecorino cheese followed by of course one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had. Reminded me of mac and cheese, but Italia style.

Dessert? More cheese! More pecorino followed by the freshest ricotta I have ever come across. It was still warm, and they drizzled a little honey on top. Mixed together it was….absolutely sensational. Stuffed to the brim, back onto the bus we go! After a quick look around the town of Pienza, we arrived in Montalcino at the Cantine Di Abbadia Ardenga. This was the highlight of the tour and will quite possibly be in the top experience of my trip. We tasted four wines, a Vinsanto dessert wine, AND a shot of grappa. The vineyard and cellar museum are the pride and joy of Mario, the 71 year old little Italian man who loves beautiful women. He was so excited to see the bus full of ladies he took pictures, and walked around hugging everyone, mumbling romantic things in Italian. We were warned about his playful attitude. He could not be more harmless, an absolute sweetheart. Again, we sat at long tables, this time accompanied with bread, meats and cheeses. Let the tasting begin!

These were the most amazing wines I have ever had. I will be searching for¬†Brunello¬†Di¬†Montalcino¬†when I get home. Thankfully I bought my wine at the other vineyard as Mario’s beautiful Brunello’s were about 3x the price.¬†

Needless to say the bus ride home was quiet and sleepy. Everyone was in a bit of a daze when we arrived back around 10pm, later then expected as we all had such a blast with Mario.

(From left to right: random girl in photo, Natalie, Mario, Me and Johanna. These are my roommates.)

One of the best experiences of my life. The Tuscan countryside is so beautiful and the wines are deliciously scrumptious.

Whew! What a post. Hope you didn’t fall asleep or get too jealous.

Until next time!