Monday, April 30, 2012

Just Another Week In Italy

Well the last post left off on Monday night.. Tuesday we just had to turn in our journals in Marcos class and continued project presentations – nothing too exhilarating. Wednesday was also spent in presentations – I had mine this day. I got it over with first thing in the morning and proceeded to begin reading The Hunger Games the rest of the afternoon. By the end of the presentations I was on chapter 8. It sucks you in!

Wednesday night we celebrated being finished with some wine from the professors and a dinner at Da Carlo – a place we hadn’t eaten yet. It was really good! We told him we wanted to eat “Italian Style”. So he proceeded to bring us out plates of bread and tomatoes and meats. We ate on this and sipped some wine until our pasta came out. I got Umbrichelli pasta with  a peppery sauce… more pepper than I was expecting, but it was pretty good. We finished off dinner with Tiramisu – which was also pretty appetizing.
Waiting for the sunset one night
Thursday was basically our first official day of summer. We turned in all of our work and were finished with everything! Of course I had to go to the market… what will I do when I don’t have this?! Then Katie and I spent the rest of the afternoon souvenir shopping and laying out in the sun soaking up some Vitamin D. All in all it was a very pleasant afternoon. And this rolled over into Friday. We got up and made our way to Castiglione del Lago to spend the day on the water. A group of about 15 of us packed up and headed to the lake where we spent 4-5 hours… and yes, I did get fried. But it was such an enjoyable, relaxing day I didn’t really care that much. When we got back to Orvieto we decided to go to Sfizio’s for dinner one last time for our favorite pizza. It was delicious as usual… and kind of sad since it was our last time. We finished up and went home to enjoy a bowl of ice cream and homemade hot fudge made by Cammie (what will I do without her next year?!) and a movie. What a great day! This will probably end up being my favorite week of Italy.
Watching the sunset
Saturday morning we had to wake up bright and early to begin our Val D’Orcia trip with Marco. It is in Tuscany – in the countryside of Siena. It is absolutely beautiful. We made three stops – the first was at a monastery. The grounds for it were pretty large and very beautiful – lots of green and paths. We weren’t able to spend much time here so all we really got to see was the monastery itself, but it was pretty amazing too.
The monastery
Our second stop was in a small town where we had our group lunch. It was so good! We had a plate of breads with different kinds of spreads on them, some meats and some cheeses. Then we had a pasta with wild boar sauce and meat and a salad. And to top it off, some wine that the owners of the restaurant make themselves. It was a great lunch! After that we walked down to another church and were able to hear them do their chants inside. It was pretty incredible.
Church-stop number 2
Our final stop was Pienza. We were only able to spend about an hour here so we didn’t see much, but it was still a pretty cool little town. There were a lot of spots with good overlooks and a lot of artisan shops. I spent most of mine in leather shop admiring all the handmade products he had… and I love the smell of leather… We wrapped up the day and headed back to Orvieto. We made reservations at Mezza Luna so we could go eat the famous Carbonara (again for me) because it is delicious! And of course I got the sorbet again… can’t pass it up!
All the yellow in Pienza

Sunday was another day filled with Italian fun! We paid a little money and got to take part in Orvieto con Gusto. This is an all afternoon event filled with Orvieto style food and wine. Our first meeting point had a bunch of cheeses and honey to take samples of. Then we headed to our first stop for our appetizer. This was a plate filled with different meats and cheeses and breads and a few different types of Orvieto wine you can taste. It was a lot of food for an appetizer, and we still had three stops left! We finished up and walked towards our second stop where we were served two different types of pasta and some more Orvieto wine. After this stop I was already full… but we had to keep moving and keep eating. You can’t say no to this food! Our next stop was a meat and potato course, and yep, you guessed it, more Orvieto wine. Don’t underestimate Italians! After this I was still very full… but the final stop was dessert, so of course I made room for it! They had three different dessert samples, a muffin, a lemon/chocolate bar, and something else with chocolate so good I don’t care what it was. And yes, a dessert wine that tasted like apple juice. After finishing up with everything I was about to fall into a food coma… but I resisted the urge.
The two Pastas we were served
Instead, we decided to be good kids and take a walk around the rupe. I have been running it, and every time I do I think to myself, man I need to walk this so I can take pictures of all the beautiful plants blooming. So this is what we did. It was a great walk – just a stroll through beautiful Orvieto… I will miss this place when we’re gone.
Beautiful trails
After our walk we headed back home for a small dinner (obviously we weren’t too hungry after eating all day). And then we got a group together to make cheesecake for Marco. He has made reference to them all semester long so of course being the awesome teacher he is, we had to make him one. We made three of them so our class could enjoy them too – and they turned out a lot better than I anticipated. It was delicious. If you don’t believe me listen to this… They said Marco only took a couple bites of the one they made last year… but this year he ate the whole piece! He loved it, and so did I haha.
I don't have a picture of the cheesecake... so here's another trail :)

So today was our final lecture by Marco – it was a great semester with him. I wish we had more professors as passionate as him back at home. He just loves what he does and it is very obvious. The rest of the day will bring figuring out details of my travels for next week and possibly some packing… I should probably get on that. Haha.
Long enough post for now… I’m sure there will be many other stories coming up the rest of this week. Stay tuned!


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