It has been one week and one day since I stumbled into San Giovanni Valdarno. Armed with my phrase book, matching set of orange luggage and jet lag from two days of not sleeping, I was (kind of) ready to take on Italy.

Fast forward one week: I have completed European drive school (think Fiat Ducato, stick shift, box turned van, narrow Tuscan streets and hills unlike nowhere I have ever seen), been out in the country side for 6 days with 7 virtual strangers (no longer) (and Morgan doesn't count as a stranger) seeing towns, riding hills and hiking roads that our guests will take. I have joined a gym. I have paid for Italian school. I have figured out you can't buy organic peanut butter or tea here. I have tasted 40 Euro bottles of wine and learned about Chianti, la dolce vita (the sweet life) and why you shouldn't order a cappucino in the middle of the day (tourista!)

So, I am doing laundry, push ups, making lentils and posting some pictures on my blog. Mostly for my mom and dad. Yes, beloved parents, I am alive and well. My tuscan towns may be blurred together. My thighs might be on fire (still) from the riding. But for now it is late... and a nine hour drive to Pernes and house cleaning tomorrow morning (SIGH) awaits.

Entrance to the Leader House in San Giovanni Valdarno.

"Lovers Walk" in Pienza (a southern Tuscany town famous for cheese!) at sunset.
The walled city of Monteriggioni. We did a 9km hike to the town and had a euro caffe. (coffee).
The Backroads Chariot, Euro Style
View from our hotel room in San Gimangio, Northern Tuscany.