wine country

i hopped on a train from rome to montevarchi (about 2 hours northeast, near arezzo). one of my friends is a winemaker in tuscany, so i never pass up the oportunity to see him if i’m in europe. wonderful human being i met on a sailing trip 4 years ago when i lived in florence.

stefano, his girlfriend valentina, and several of their friends were awaiting my arrival on the platform. we waited for another couple of friends to arrive by train and then hit the party scene. by party scene i mean we drove 20 km east to the next valley. you probably know it – heard of Chianti? Yes…where (and the ONLY place where) real Chianti classico wine comes from. apparently this is the season for festivals, and nearly every night a different vineyard puts on a different party. this particular night was literally in an old fortress…but you’ll have to imagine the open-layout kind of fortress rather than a castle. the kind that’s more like a city within walls. so what would normally be different rooms in a house during a party was instead different little alleyways that opened into small piazzas (squares) between oddly-shaped buildings. what i’m saying is…it was beautiful. the full moon overhead, hilarious music, great wine and food. oh italy.

the next day we went on walks, had friends over for incredible lunches (complete with hand-made (stefano’s an incredible cook) beer, wine, sun-dried tomatoes, bread…basically everything on the table was made from scratch and absolutely to die for. i think any weight i might have lost on my camino was made up for at that lunch.

we swam and had appertivo on a friend’s terrace at a nearby winery (one of the guys took loads of pictures i’ll add as soon as he emails them to me) before having dinner at yet another town festival that evening.

there is just something about the mediterrenean that instills a way of living into people. its absolutely incredible and so freaking difficult to pull myself away from. when stefano and valentina talk of me staying longer next time (a month…two months! come on calais!), of course my wheels start turning…and turning. oh gosh.


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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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