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Kristen & Joe in Tuscany, Italy

The morning of the 9th we were able to rent a car in Siena.  Yay!  The car we rented was TINY!  It barely was able to fit Joe and I and our backpacks.  It looked like a clown car.  We had no idea where we were headed to, so we just decided to drive through Tuscany.  We spent three days driving through the countryside and stopping in little towns along the way.  It was so much fun.  Tuscany is covered with vineyards, especially in the Chianti region.  Many owners open their doors to tourists and we enjoyed trying the different wines of the region.  In addition to vineyards, many people grow olive trees, lavender, and sunflowers.  There are also many castles throughout the region.

One of the highlites of the weekend was getting to stay at a farm in the Chianti region.  There are many signs featuring agrotourism.  These are places where farmers that let tourists sample their products and many even rent rooms.  We were fortunate to stay in a ram overlooking beautiful vineyards and San Gimignano.  Joe played the guitar while we watched the sun set.  The next morning, we had a delicious breakfast made with the products picked from the farm.  The peaches were especially delightful as well as a cake made from some kind of mint herb.

Another memorable occasion was when we went to Monteriggioni to a Renaissance Festival.  I have been to these before, but this one was a little different.  Monteriggioni was built in the 12th to 14th century and it has changed little since the Renaissance days.  The streets are so narrow no cars can get into it and the buildings and wall surrounding the city are little changed.  It really felt like we walked onto a movie set.  It is definitely one of the most authentic Renaissance Festivals in the world.  Joe was happy because he met two professional street clowns.  He was able to get some ideas from them and get their email addresses.  He was like a little boy meeting his superhero.

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