I have a newfound appreciation towards Elizabeth Gilbert and Frances Mayes as it is indeed tough to sit down and start describing my two days in Siena and Firenze without going all misty-eyed and beginning to sound an awful lot like “Eat, Pray, Love” or “Under the Tuscan Sun”. So I cut it short before starting to believe myself that I am here on some kind of a journey of spiritual and culinary awakening.
Speaking of which – I don’t know about high season, but at least in February the impact of those two books (and no doubt a few more that I am simply not aware of) is clearly observable in Siena. There is a distinctive contingent of American (and to a lesser degree British) women in their second if not third youth with a conspicuous lack of unadorned golden rings on their fingers, traveling in groups of two to four. They while away their evenings at cafes and restaurants with some food and wine, checking pictures from each other’s cameras and discussing the finer points of life such as the proper spelling of “tiramisu”. Every now and then the whole group erupts into giggles while everyone is trying to decently cover their teeth that have a distinct bluish hue, another if rather more unfortunate effect of the plentiful Chianti.
The Carnevale of Venice is on and, being as close to it as I am, it certainly is tempting to make the trip. Finding the accommodation will surely be painful and expensive at such a short notice. There is still a few days for me to make up my mind. I will probably try to get a second opinion from someone local and decide then. And tonight I will tackle the famous bistecca alla florentina – a task made daunting by fact that it is served by a minimum of one kilogram and I have no-one to share it with.