Dear mom and dad,
After an arduous full day of train travel fighting a hangover from a night of beer on the docks of the grand canal underneath the Rialto bridge in Venice, we have arrived in Gaiole Chianti, a small town between Florence and Siena in the heart of Tuscan wine country. The bus ride from Siena through the vineyards at sunset was unforgettable, even amidst the girls’ moaning of car sickness brought on by the bus driver’s manaical driving habbits. Tough life.Graceland is playing from our handy 5 dollar speakers, and wine is chilling in the fridge.
The Gaiole area is known for its high concentration of medieval castles, many of which have been transformed into villas that now pump out amazing red wine. The noteworthy Castel di Briolo right up the road is said to be the first vineyard to use the region’ namesake on it’s labels.
Venice ended up being an unexpected gem on the trip. The heat was offset by Enrico’s amazing hospitality and brilliant friends. They all obsess over their architecture studies, but had just finished the semester…so while they were ready to party, the were also the best people in town to give us some incredible insight on the inner workings of Venice. They are schooled not only in the intricacies of the buildings, but the history, culture, and the bizarre urban planning and restoration tied to the city’s existence. Needless to say they also knew where to find cheap beer and food. It was really a treat.
Enrico’s apartment looks out on one of the many side canals, and backs up to the famous Marco Polo house, which attracts frequent boisterous gondola drivers. Last night Enrico made a delicious risotto with bacon and canteloupe and we bought wine from his native Trento Vineyard to match. Dessert was a refreshing homemade fruit salad with kiwi, strawberries and unripened peaches. The company, aside from the three of us, were four of his close friends from school. It was the most enjoyable meal of the trip so far, narrowly edging out Tara’s stuffed chicken and rissoto in Prague.
Gotta run, there’s a classical music concert in the main square tonight.