Ciao from our third stop in Italy!
After a train delay, cancellation, and break-down we finally made it out to wine country! Beautiful Tuscan countryside within the city of Certaldo.
The hostel we’re staying at is amazing!! It’s a bit of a trek from the train station but definitely worth it. One of the owners told us that the large house used to be a farm house and that they are renting it out in order to keep touching it up. It is well-equipped with many rooms, a large dining room (where we’ve hung out with many people already), a full kitchen, a pool (even though it was closed when we got there), multiple hammocks, bikes you can borrow, and many other hospitable things!
Our first night we borrowed some bikes to go to the grocery store to stock up for our stay. When I was checking out I asked for plastic bags (because they don’t give them out like in our grocery stores) and the woman charged me €0.10 for each bag! I thought that was a great idea that the U.S. should adopt since not many people recycle their plastic bags.
We biked back and then decided to go to Certaldo Alto which is a castle right up the hill from the train station. The owner gave us a ‘scenic route’ map which we followed and wandered through private properties (oops), vineyards, and small little farms. The views on our walk were amazing though and totally worth the hour and a half it took to get to the castle. It was beautiful when we finally made it up to the castle as well. There were beautiful panoramic views of the countryside that were absolutely breathtaking!
Then, after a bit of wandering we were trying to find the exit when we happened upon the start of a sunset! Words can’t even describe the beauty of that moment watching the sunset over the countryside with all it’s magnificent colors. I was entirely speechless.
We then took a bucket ride down the mountain and walked back to our hostel. We made some spaghetti for dinner and ate with our fellow travelers. We had some really great conversations, followed by learning a new competitive card game from the French-Canadians.
The next day we took one of our new friends’ suggestions and ventured out to another little town that was once an old castle. It’s called San Gimignano. It was huge and full of thousands of shops! We wandered aimlessly discovering many quaint pieces of art, delicious smells, and touristy souvenirs. We then of course had to stop at another recommended place; a gelato place that claims to be the best in the world.
Being the sweet taster/expert that I am, I didn’t trust this ‘best in the world’ claim very much. But I’m not exaggerating when I say, I died and went to heaven this gelato was so good. I got three flavors: white chocolate, strawberry, and nutty hazelnut, but they ALL tasted identical to their non-frozen liquid form. When I combined the hazelnut with strawberry I was eating a chocolate covered strawberry. Eating the white chocolate, I felt like I was actually eating a cold bar of white chocolate. Mike said he was basically eating a mango, the taste was so similar. I don’t know how they get the flavor so exact but it was pure heavenly perfection. I definitely recommend it for anyone traveling to Tuscany any time soon.. in fact, feel free to take me back with you just so I can eat some more! 🙂
Tomorrow we leave for Venice!