We woke up on Wednesday full of energy and ready to get on with our day. After a nice breakfast at the hotel that appeared to be void of any real coffee (assuming it was weak instant coffee), we decided to head back out to the streets of Florence before we checked out. We managed to find that the Arno River was just a block away from the hotel, this is the larger river that splits Florence into two. From there we walked to the Ponte Vecchio bridge, which is some fancy old bridge that has some very expensive jewelry stores on it. For me, this was a bit underwhelming, and I was more interested in the people on fancy row boats in the water. However, it was early and the shops were not open, so maybe we swing by there again at the end of our trip.

We meandered around the streets of Florence for another hour and managed to find the Pitti Palace (a place that I think we may revisit). As well as Piazza Della Signore which is full of old statues, a replica of the David statue, and a cool Neptune fountain. It was a square full of naked (an obviously cold) statues of men.

We needed to head back to the hotel and somehow using my excellent sense of direction (luck!) I was able to navigate back this time without any assistance from a map. We packed up and said our goodbyes to the excellent staff and headed back to the tram for the airport where we would pick up our car. We used points for our car rental and I found Alamo rental was reasonably priced for what we needed. This was a great choice because most of the Europeans were renting from well-known rental places so we were able to walk directly to our counter to pick up our car. We ended up getting a Spanish car, a Seat Tarraco. This beast only had 13 kilometers on it and still had the new car smell, as well as a great dashboard that works with Apple CarPlay.

After watching some YouTube videos on how to teach the car to speak English instead of Italian we were on our way to Tuscany. The drive would be around an hour and a half and would be one of the most intense drives of my life. I have mentioned previously that we try to plan the smallest amount on this trip. There is one issue with this plan, I had no real understanding of all the types of traffic signs in Italy. There are signs for speed, no passing, no waiting, no stopping, end of speed zone, construction, minimum speed, limited traffic area, smaller lanes, and the list keeps going. Not having any form of Italian or English on the signs meant that we had to guess what they meant. Imagine driving down the street and seeing a sign that looks like the speed limit is 50mph, then going a mile down the road and seeing another sign showing the speed limit is 30mph, but in blue numbers. What would you do? I know what I did, I was changing speed like some sugar-crazed ADHD kid who could not make up my mind. In reality, any of the speed limit signs in blue number were the minimum speed…so obvious!

Our first stop in Tuscany was Podere Spedelone, which is an old farmhouse that they have converted into a hotel. The trip from Florence to there was stressful, but most of it was expressway driving and not too bad. However, as we got into the heart of the country we soon found another feature that did not show up on Google Maps. The hills of Tuscany are…hilly… with lots of windy roads. Poor Lindsey has been doing all she could to keep from getting sick pretty much anytime we get into the car.

We make it to our little farm hotel and it is just lovely. Lindsey was able to unpack all of our stuff, something that she has been looking forward to doing since we will be at this location for six nights. They have a great restaurant and one that Lindsey has been dying to try since they are so great at their Instagram by always putting the menus up. We decided to eat here since it was such a busy day and it made everything so much easier on us. They start the meal off with a traditional appertivo (like a happy hour) where they have a magnificent spread of meats, olives, and other wonderful things. For dinner, we had a great Rissoto followed by veil cheeks on top of sweet potatoes, and then something similar to cookies and cream ice cream for dessert.

We ended the evening knowing that our time here was going to be amazing and looking forward to the rest of our time.

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