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Saturday, June 12
Friday was really neat. We had classes in the morning, and then after lunch half of the group went up to Porciano--about a two hour drive through the mountains--to visit a restored medieval castle. It's a bit hard to explain, because it doesn't look like a castle. It was built about 1000 AD and really looks more like a big tower. The inside was basically one large square room, and the castle was five stories tall--with each story being 12-16 feet high. The walls of the tower were 6 feet thick, which I thought was just amazing. There were few windows, and you could see just a small remainder of the walls that used to protect the castle. The history behind it is interesting, and I may type that up when I get a chance (from a handout given to us). The lady who lives there gave us the tour, and she also talked about traditional Tuscan food. Then she actually served us a meal of traditional Tuscan food! Most people liked it all, and I ate a lot of bread. The dessert was great though: lemon cake with strawberries and peaches on top. Oh, the view from the top of the tower was incredible. I just can't wait til I get my pictures in.
Today we again had classes in the morning, and then the other half of the group went to Porciano after lunch. Greg and I used the afternoon to go into Florence. It was a really pleasant day, and although the sun was shining there was still a good breeze. We first went up to Piazzo Michaelangelo, where we bought a "wooden" plate of Florence which we had been comparing prices on. Then after the usual bus adventures, we went to the Pitti Palace again to visit the Boboli Gardens. They were really, really enjoyable. It was really like a big park--the grounds were enormous--except for how well-trimmed the bushes were. Oh, and the statues every ten feet. But we had taken sack dinners from the villa before we left, and so we had a picnic in the Gardens. It was just so pleasant. Nothing spectacular really, but we might go do it again some night. Then we swung by the Internet Train for a record time of 20 minutes before going back to the villa. We got back here not long after 8:00, and found the group watching "The Princess Bride" on the projector. This happens to be my favorite movie, so this has really been a good day. ;-) We also played volleyball tonight, but there weren't enough people to take it seriously. But we had fun, and that's what matters.
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