The final year abroad blog post! It’s here!
Just as a quick side note before I write about our Tuscan road trip; the week before we left for Tuscany, I got to see my first ever opera! They put on opera showings at the baths of Caracalla every summer, but we managed to get a pretty good view of the stage from behind the fence. Apart from the main road behind us, we could hear very well too – so I saw the opera for free! We saw ‘Turandot’ which includes a couple of famous songs – one in particular that I remember our Italian teacher singing to us when he was teaching us the future tense (‘Vinceròòòòòòòòòòòò!’). I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend going to the opera at least once in your life. Read the story beforehand though because otherwise you won’t have a clue what’s going on.
Last weekend, Martina and three of her (and now my) lovely girlfriends headed to Tuscany in 40 degree heat for two nights in the countryside. As I write this, I’m sat in a tea shop in Camden with Elton John Greatest Hits playing (I can tell you that for sure because I had that CD on constant repeat from February through to November 2003 – my favourite song was is Crocodile Rock). It rained solidly yesterday, I’ve eaten something other than pizza today and I should be preparing for a job interview instead of writing this. I am definitely back in England and I couldn’t feel further away from Italy right now, but I’ll try and remember what it was like to be in the sun so that this blog has a nice year abroad-y ending.
On Friday afternoon, the five of us piled into a car borrowed from Martina’s sister and turned up the bass as loud as it would go (which was loud) and when we got to the motorway we put on the CD we’d made, which included two or three songs chosen by each of us and kicked off with the Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ because we realised that the 5 of us basically look exactly the same as them. (We do, ok. Don’t question it). This gave me the chance to fulfill my childhood dream of being Baby Spice, so really happy. Although it did reach fifty degrees in the car at one point… about which I was definitely not happy.
This is not ok
After arriving in Tuscany a few hours later, we watched the sun go down, had dinner and watched dubbed Italian TV. We almost died of fright when a huge hairy centipede the size of my little finger ran across the floor, and then had to creep round the house with the bug spray before any of us were able to fall asleep.
As the sun went down and it got ‘cold’ (read: a mere 33 degrees), we headed to the Abbey of San Galgano, a gorgeous gothic abbey in the countryside without a roof! Unfortunately we arrived 5 minutes too late to look inside because there was an opera that evening :( so we contented ourselves with pictures of the outside, and when we got bored of that, selfies.
Then we headed to a restaurant that Martina insisted did the best meat in Tuscany, but given my new vegetarian affliction, I couldn’t appreciate the meat and instead tucked into my pasta all’arrabbiata like the tourist I am. There was an open oven in the restaurant so it was really hot inside; at some point, Manu and I went outside to get some air, and the sweetest Italian baby came toddling over to talk to us. She was the most adorable baby I have ever met and was learning vocabulary, so I felt like we were on a level because I was learning vocabulary too. She was pointing at things and asking what they were, so thanks to her I learnt the word for ‘pole’ and I felt privileged to teach her the word for ‘ant’. After a while she toddled off to find her dad to show him her new words; she pointed out the pole and the ant, and then pointed to Manu and I and labeled us as ‘amici’, friends! I almost died, she was too cute (although technically we’re amiche not amici because we’re both girls but you know. Who am I to correct a two year old’s grammar?).
After dinner we went on a walk and Martina took us to Fonte delle Fate, which was tucked away through a cubby hole and was amazingly beautiful. The photos don’t do it justice, but they’ll give you a much better idea of what it was like than I could do with words.
On Sunday we woke up late again and were all suffering a little because of the heat (it wasn’t just me being all English and complaining a lot). There was time for another quick trip to the pool before jumping back in the car and heading home.
It was such a lovely trip with lovely friends, and was the perfect end to my time in Italy and my year abroad :)
Ciao for now,