Day 5 ~ Toscana Springs and a Steak

After the mess of Day 4, I woke up in the morning hurting from too much wine and too much microwaved meat. I quickly got moving after an espresso. I was headed for Montalcino. One of the myriad mountain villages of Toscana. It was a lovely morning drive through the sun drenched expanse.

 

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I finally came across the organized bricks posing as the town of Montalcino.

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I found an empty restaurant Di Macchia (Via Soccorso Saloni). with a charming old man and was still a little sour stomached, so I needed something soothing and I got it. This is pici pasta with wild boar (cinghiale) ragu. It was great. I told the guy it was like a cow and a pig had melted together to make one delicious animal. I had a glass of the local specialty Brunello red wine, deep and full.

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Walked back to the car slowly as I enjoyed the town and the views…

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The next stop was the thermal pools. The Medici family used to frequent these places, and it seemed like a perfect way to feel even better. Plus, there was a smiling pup.

 

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The bottom pool was rather cool, but when you climbed up the sticky, sulfur coated rocks, the waterfall had a pleasantly heated temperature. Free swimming in healing waters.

I stayed as long as I could allow, for there was more to see, such as the famous grapes of Toscana.

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I didn’t dare pluck any off the vine as they were coated in a white dust, presumably not an organic compound of Tuscan dust and bee poop. It’s such a picturesque landscape…

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I wanted to stay near my hostel tonight as it would be an early morning to go visit the Siena Cathedral, so I found a cute white tablecloth place full of locals Fontebecci (Via Fiorentina 133). I wanted to go big, and needed a steak. But first, the guy recommended a walnut cream sauce ravioli.

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I was finally feeling better. My last day of the food tour ended well, and I was up at sunrise to go see the two toned Siena Cathedral.

Day 4 ~ You Can’t Win ‘Em All

Started the day off with a decent breakfast before heading to the beach. It was a quiet beach, with free chairs and umbrellas. The ocean was more of a pool, as a manmade rock barrier had been formed about 100m out to sea. The deepest water is only waist high.

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It was dreadfully boring, all drastically tan old people or piteously unhappy parents with their bouncing off the wall kids. I stayed about 2 hours for some Vitamin D and left. My friend had told me to try the flatbread sandwich here. I found a cute place run by LeLe and Elena on the main street. It’s tastes as basic as it looks, which isn’t really a bad thing.

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Nothing special about this, but a decent beach snack. Not quite up to par with some other lunches I’ve had. I took a slow walkabout to explore before leaving. It’s a classic beach town with lazy cats behind fences, pastel homes and a pleasant perfumed air.

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I was excited to get in the car and drive across the peaks of Umbria and Toscana.

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It did not disappoint. Beautiful driving weather and the miraculous landscapes combined with poppy tunes from the radio made me jump, jive and wail all along the meandering path through the mountains. The lack of tunnels, but plenty of cutbacks along the ridges make for exciting travel.

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Arriving in Siena late in the day and weary from my transport, I asked for a dinner recommendation from the staff of the outstanding Sienna Hostel Guidoricci. This place was brand new, and had done its homework regarding what a hostel should provide. It was top notch, top notch! The old man singing classical music in the lobby told me to visit his friends at Il Vinaio di Bobbe e Davide (Via Camollia 167). I was forced to sit at the bar, which for a solo traveler is frustrating but understandably acceptable. I ordered the pici pasta with pepper because it was recommended as typically Senese.

 

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Boring! The best part was the pepper…

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Then, after 40 minutes of waiting, drinking and nibbling bread, I got this microwaved gem.

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A sad plate of meat for sure, and not even good! To be fair, the employees were rushing around prepping for the party of 20 that had just sat down, but seriously, no vegetables? I asked the guy to try everything, and I don’t mind paying. I guess everything includes leftover ribs and dry meatballs. Whatever, my stomach feeling queasy already, they saved a bit of class for last.

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This is a Ribollita, a true Tuscan dish of day old bread, tomatoes and other veg. It was okay, but I’d had enough bread. I was done with today and headed home for a shower at my awesome hostel.