Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Oh the Splendor of Small Towns

EB: The week of June 2nd we visited two small towns in Italy called Pienza and Montepulciano. Though the bus ride was full of twists and turns, incurring the wrath of my infamous car sickness, the view could not have been lovelier. The sprawling Tuscan hills flew past our windows, green visions dotting the countryside. Once we reach Pienza we walked past adorable shops and cafes in order to reach the home *mansion/castle* of Pope Pius II. It was a beautiful house full of artwork, furniture, and artifacts. However, the most interesting to me was the library room, stocked with ancient looking tomes. We also we able to take in the beautiful scenery from the vantage point of the Pope’s hanging gardens-full of tress, vines, and boxwood plants, making paths for all of us to walk on. Afterwards, we were given free time to explore. After a necessary gelato stop, we found a ledge where we could look on all of the hills. Literally breathtaking. Taking a moment to stop and take all of it in was one of the most humbling experiences. Whether you find it cliché or overly sentimental, seeing how stunning the landscape is, was truly a reminder of how vast and wonderful God’s love is for his children. To be given the opportunity to see these things was such an amazing blessing.  


After getting (left and lost) back on the bus, we began travelling to Montepulciano. There we were treated to a fantastic lunch *bunnies taste good…who knew?* and then again were given time to explore the town. Carley and I looked at the views and then visited some of the stores. In order to atone for missing my sister’s graduation, I got her a nice present. Score one for Emily. From there we met in a piazza and then off to wine tasting! On our way there our guide was telling us about some of the local buildings. *a.k.a telling us they had been used in twilight! Woah!* Winding through the underground winery was very interesting. The barrels and equipment they use to process and store the wine was huge. I have no idea that it was such an extensive process for every wine bottle. Reaching the dining area, our group was treated to cheese, meats, and four different wines, including a dessert wine. It was fabulous. Not to mention that the chocolate they gave us to accompany the dessert wine, was the most amazing, mouth-watering chocolate I have ever had in my entire life. Oh My Goodness so good. At the end of this great day we boarded back on the bus to head back to Santa Chiara, and onto our next adventure- Venice!

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