It’s been a while since I updated my Italian travel diaries, not for want of enthusiasm but from getting into a routine as soon as I touched base after so long and squeezing in a trip to Hotel Oberoi Udaivillas in Udaipur too. ( covered that in vlogs and insta photos).
Do check out my insta handle @rynachopra.
Let’s just head back to Florence and make our way to the rolling hills of Tuscany.
Having made pretty good use of our 1.5 days in Florence already, we signed up for a trip to Tuscany including a visit to the quaint towns of Siena , San Gimignano and of course the must do gimmicks in Pisa.
The drive itself by coach was well organized by a local tour company and a couple of hours later we we were riding along undulating rolling plains that stretched for miles, dotted with the quintessential tall pointed cyprus trees that are so typical of instagrammable photos of Tuscany.
By now we were drenched in beauty and nature and the insides of our gaping mouths were very obviously seething with jealousy, demanding to be drenched as well albeit in the rose and white wines that were native to thos region..the famous Chiantis!!!
Of course, we had to take that into consideration as we couldn’t be mean and selfish, depriving our mouths of pleasure while our eyes and nostrils had a hay day! Thus, much against our will (🙄) , we forced ourselves to be led up the cobbled pathway of a Chianti winery to sample their wines and local cuisine!! We could feel our palates and tongue dance and sing in unison inside their den, fighting to hang out like a dog’s and search for the promised ,unforbidden splendors themselves!!
Whites, reds, rose`s, pastas in pesto and basil , bruschettas, meats and desserts later , our eyes and mouths were back on good terms again and we carried them forth to our next stop…Sienna.
Quaintness poured out of every alleyway, every stone and brick and my trigger happy phone had a field day. A quiet town that was milling with tourists and home to many of those who enjoyed a quieter and laid back holiday. Italy at it’s best!
San Gimignano carried on the tradition and as we queued up in front of famous ,age old gelaterias and soaked in the sun and sounds of local musicians we sighed and smiled! It couldn’t get any better. Forts and several stone structures that incongruously housed branded stores dressed to kill, cafes and the smell of fresh coffee interspersed with aromas of basil and vanilla. Chocolate and ham…a heady concoction indeed! That’s what filled the summer air as we slurped and stared onto the Tuscan plains that stretched before us!
We were by now, armed and ready for the cliched activities in Pisa…you all know what I mean!! Yet when we actually pushed our way passed the large no. of Bangladeshi immigrants who were hell bent on shoving souvenirs of the tilting structure into our faces, something I didn’t approve of for sure, we took in the first sight of the heritage structure we had only seen in picture books.
Many would call these touristy spots overrated and done to death and I may eventually agree, but for now I was revelling in the fact that this trip was all about chasing my childhood and what I was taught about the world. This trip was about seeing rather than only reading about the world so before going off onto the beaten track , the typical touristy stuff had to be scratched off my list first.
We stared in awe , while keeping our hands firmly clutched to our bags and phones , heading the many notices that warned of pickpockets throughout the spot…sad I felt…!! We humans have tainted evrything and every place of beauty by our misdemeanors !!
Foolishly but enthusiastically we quickly joined the hordes of idiots who were trying to hold up the tower with the tips of their fingers, or push it with all their might or kick it to its tilt ..there were so many ideas out there that all theories of a structural defect centuries ago seem to be challenged that day as every tourist there tried to claim responsibility for the degree of tilt we witnessed before us..history was being questioned by all sort of distorted bodies whose angles were more questionable that the Leaning Tower of Pisa was! It was a hilarious sight and we quickly got into the groove too, attempting to time our silly poses with the perfect click a la idiots-of-the-world!! Please dont think it was easy..rather it was quite the most challenging part of our holiday so far.
Having mastered a couple of photos, we limped back to our coach clutching our backs and shoulders that had been twisted and contorted for the past hour all for the sake of cliche`, and settled down for the picturesque drive back to Florence.
Our smiles said it all!!!