A Confession and A 3 Day Tour of the Unknown Side of Tuscany!

9 Sep

Ok so prepare yourself because this is going to be a long post filled with confessions (how juicy), updates, and of course really awesome stories!

Ok so this weekend I had a school organized excursion planned for 3 days in the southwestern part of Tuscany, including a visit to Maremma, a beautiful coastal town, a boat cruise which toured around the Archipelago, making two stops at the  islands of Giglio and Giannutri, and finally we ended with a visit to the picturesque town of  Pitigliano. Not too bad of a way to spend a weekend, huh?
Ok so before I get into my stories I feel it’s now time for some confessions. I find it’s best to get these things out in the open early on! So here it goes! I ate GRAINS, actually I ate a lot of grains!

Are you surprised, I am sure you are especially because after a few weeks ago I had completely sworn them off! But hear me out before you start judging! My first defense is that there is temptation everywhere and I have absolutely no self control (ok so maybe you are thinking that this isn’t exactly a sound reason, but honestly I don’t care because you are not here smelling the amazing aroma of fresh baked bread, your not surrounded by homemade pasta at every meal, or crisp thin crusted pizza, therefore you can not judge).

So what does this mean, am I no longer a Paleo, when I go back to the U.S.A. will I resume my Paleo lifestyle, What if I start feeling sick again, then what? Wow so many questions but honestly I don’t have any of these answers. All I know is that while I am here I plan on enjoying simple, fresh, and delicious food, my one promise is that everything will be consumed in moderation!

Ok so now that my confession is out of the way lets all get over it and move on to story time!

I’ll first start with a side note, although this excursion sounded absolutely amazing, I wasn’t exactly overly excited for it, In fact there were times I even thought about canceling (I know your probably wondering what is wrong with me right)? Ok so I am really enjoying my time here In Italy, I am enjoying the culture, the lifestyle, and hanging with the locals, it’s all great and for the first time ever I feel like I am in a place I really belong, the place where I want to spend the rest of my life (ok maybe this is getting a bit too cheesy now, but it’s true)! However surprisingly the one thing I am struggling with is forming friendships and connecting with my American peers. My goal here in Italy is to blend in with the locals, integrate into the Italian lifestyle, and improve my Italian! However, that doesn’t seem to be the goals of my many American peers, instead they seem more interested in acting in a way which supports the negative image of any “ugly American” that most foreigners have (are you catching my drift)! Going into this trip I knew that there were two possible outcomes, either I would have an incredible time and meet the people like me who embarked on a study abroad program in hopes of having the experience of a lifetime or it could have gone terribly wrong and I could have been surrounded by the ‘small minded’ people determined to create a mini American here in Italy.

Lucky for me things went splendidly, instead of anxiously worrying before hand I simply went into this trip with the motto “whatever happens, happens”!

I went on this trip only knowing my two roommates, then on a rest break during our journey by bus we happened to meet two friendly girls, as luck would have it we ended up rooming right next door to the other girls we had previously met. For the rest of the trip we were a passionate group of five girls ready and anxious to explore!

Our first stop was the gorgeous town of Orbetello! We walked around the coastal town enjoying the beautiful view and watching the sun set.

We sneaked into an old church, while mass was going on, yet still decided to be those obnoxious tourists who took pictures (with the flash on)! This is a once and a lifetime experience we very well couldn’t pass up on a photo opp!

We then had dinner a delicious restaurant, La Taverna. We had delicious, soft homemade Gnocchi tossed in a rich and hearty tomato sauce (this was a meal I simply wasn’t strong enough to turn down, one bite and I think you’d understand why)

Looks amazing, right? This isn’t actually my picture, I was a bit preoccupied eating, this is a picture I stole from my Friend Emery, a foodie, fellow Italian study abroad student, and an amazing new friend (check out her blog here)

We then had a delicious dish of roasted meat, fresh salad, and pineapple for dessert, not too shabby, huh?

Next on the schedule was our day cruise! We boarded the boat at 9:00 a.m. and set sail. Our relaxing boat ride was filled with beautiful picturesque views.

Our first stop was at a small Island inhibited only by 20 people. There we hiked beautiful trails and took a refreshing swim in in the Mediterranean sea!

Then we had lunch, actually I am not sure the word lunch is a word that does justice to the meal we enjoyed!

We started out with Seafood Risotto, it had a delicious lemon flavoring,  shrimp(which were cooked in their natural form requiring that we really use our teeth and fingers to really get the good stuff) and fresh fish topped the soft buttery rice.

We then tried pasta prepared simply with tomato sauce, however, this was probably the most amazing and flavorful tomato sauce I have ever had!

We then had the most amazing tray of seafood, which included again the delicious buttery shrimp and lightly fried calamari!

Sorry about the picture but everyone was in a mad rush to fill up their plates, so a proper picture couldn’t exactly be organized!

Of course no meal would be complete without delicious desserts, so our table was also given two large tarts an apricot one and a berry one…lets just say there was an abundance of food!

We then stopped at the Island of Giglio, an adorable beach town.

This is the town where the big cruise ship, the Costa Concordia hit the sand bank and crashed (remember the Captain fled the seen), well the boat is still there!

After our seven hour excursion we headed back to Maremma, another cute coastal town, there our group met up with another pair of girls and stopped for dinner at an authentic pizza restaurant. It was clear from the simple decor, the older woman who was outfitted in a floured house coat who waited on all the tables, and the way everyone stared at us when we entered the restaurant that this was clearly a local hangout unaccustomed to tourists! We tried our best to remain on our best behavior, not giggle too loud (although that went out the window when we tried for twenty minutes to divide the check up amongst seven people), and use our ever improving Italian to order! It was by far a great and exhausting day!

Our next and final day we stopped at the small town of Pitigliano, a town carved out of local stone!

There we had a historical walking tour of a Royal Palace.

We walked down charming streets and stopped along the way to poke into cute stores filled with specialty hand made items (I can’t say much about what I bought, but I will tell you that I found the perfect Christmas gifts for Mom and Dad)!

We also stopped at an amazing specialty food shop where I loaded up on goodies, including chocolate almond biscotti (without dairy), a delicious authentic Jewish bread with a flaky exterior layer filled with crushed walnuts, honey, and orange peel. I also engaged in a long conversation with the proprietor of the shop after pointing and asking a question about a mysterious looking jar and then not understanding her answer in Italian. Luckily she had her Italian/ English dictionary handy, she flipped back and forth between several pages before suddenly spotting it “eccola” she said as she pointed to the the jar and said in her thick Italian accent “chestnut”, So after all the trouble she went through to find out this particular word I felt obligated to by the jar of chesnut jam (not that I am complaining, that stuff is amazing!We talked for a while about my plans to study here in Italy and then hopefully return for culinary school, She told me that she was trying to learn English but wasn’t have much luck with it.

The town of Pitigliano was definitely a place that wasn’t use to having many American tourists so lucky for me I got to practice Italian!

All in all I would say this was an amazing weekend. I got the opportunity to explore unique cities I would otherwise never frequent, I met some amazing people, and I had delicious food, not to bad of a trip at all!

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5 Responses to “A Confession and A 3 Day Tour of the Unknown Side of Tuscany!”

  1. Franco September 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Sounds like you are having a great time. I think this is your best blog yet

  2. sue September 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Sounds like an another amazing adventure for you. So glad to see that you have met up with people who share your love for the culture and the food…keep these blogs coming..I enjoy hearing all about your wonderful experiences…hugs from the USA

    • La Cucina Di Kait September 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      Thanks Sue, I will keep you all up to date!

  3. Franco September 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    I loved this blog, it was fun hearing and seeing all the great places you visited. The food sounded amazing. I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures.
    Joan

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