We have just left the Tuscan farm where we were staying for a week, participating in a food and wine extravaganza. Sure, at first it seemed like harmless good fun, but after a few days that included four wine tastings (each consisting of 5-9 wines) and approximately 18 seven-course meals, it now seems clear that something else was going on. I believe that it is the Italian’s plan to take over the world by having visitors eat until they die. Other nations, weakened by their loss of citizens will just give in and Italy will take over the world using biscotti, not guns. Even I must admit that I developed a case of the Stockholm syndrome, a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. My empathy reached the point where the evil chef Alessandro had me making my own raviolis (filled with pecorino and then covered in a truffle and butter sauce). I pretended to enjoy it, hoping that when his guard was down I could sneak out, but he caught me and sent me to the dungeon with a plate of panna cotta with caramel sauce. The bastardo.
On a separate but related note I was disappointed to learn that the significant weight loss I had experienced (in spite of all this eating) was because the scale was giving numbers in kilograms (whatever those are), not pounds. Another side effect of our eat-o-rama was that Karen got drunk after “tasting” some kind of wine and went out and bought a coat that is remarkably similar to the one worn by yogi bear. Every morning since, she has woken up, looked at it and said, “Where the hell am I going to wear this thing? The Flintstones no longer live in our neighborhood.”
Anyway, we did manage to get out for a while and stopped by Abbazia di Sant’Antimo near Montalcino between wine tastings to hear them sing Gregorian chants in this 13th century church.
Their prayers were unearthly and the acoustics in this stone building amplified their voices and their message. You can imagine my disappointment when I found out they wouldn’t take requests after they were done. I think they could have done an amazing job on a capella versions of “Up On The Roof” or “Hotel California.”
Finally, I was pleased to find another great local site in the hillltop town of Montepulciano. A new Museum of Torture. Some of you may recall from my newsletters of our trip to Spain that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the Torture Museum of Toledo. I give you here proof of my current visit and the March 2011 visits to these great museums:
In any case we have left that part of the world behind and we hopped an outbound train over to Siena, the only city in the world named after a Crayola Crayon color. />
I hope soon to leave my hotel room and spend the next two days looking for the part of the city that was scorched in the Big Fire of 1683.
That’s about it for today.