Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scherzetto o Dolcetto

Happy Halloween to all of those back in the States! It's been an amazing day and it's only 6:30 pm(and it's also already dark outside...) Halloween in Italia isn't quite like the Halloween we Americans are used to. Of course, it is breaking into this culture-on our way home we saw a few pint sized skeletons running around their Mamas and Papas on what I assumed to be a bit of a sugar high. The best costume I have seen so far was a young 'lad' wearing devil horns, holding a pitchfork, and wearing a kilt? Yes, in Italy. It was definitely a site to be seen :)

This morning we rose with the sun(okay...not with the sun, It's Saturday here so 8:30 am is kind of early!!) Mama Lo was extremely generous and offered to take us to the hot springs that are about an hour and a half outside of Florence. She sent us off to the Paneficio for some panini then to the market to grab some meats, cheeses, and some of the most delicious tomatoes so we could have a little picnic after our swim. My three other roommates- Jordan, Alexa, and Jenny- and myself all worked together in a sort of assembly line making these sandwhiches before rushing out of the door to enjoy a beautiful day. The weather here is comparable to that of Virginia's- completely unpredictable! A week ago it was just about freezing and today we had our lunch sitting in the sun in our bathing suits! Yes, it is October 31st here as well. Strange and awesome!

We rode squeezed into Mama Lo's car listening to country music, her favorite, filled with so much excitement...we'd heard a lot about the springs earlier in the semester and we never thought we'd actually have the chance to go! Driving through the hills of Tuscany in Autumn is definitely something everyone should experience once in their lives. All of the colors-fire engine reds, neon oranges, and sunflower yellows- fell from the trees in the afternoon breeze and coated what was left on the grape vines. Absolutely beautiful.

When we finally arrived at the springs we were definiely ready to hop right in. The only thing making anyone the least bit weary was the warm smell of deviled eggs that surrrounded the springs and sticks to your body for hours after. The spring is rich with sulfur and it smells pretty intense but is great for your skin and hair!! After a quick wardrobe change-and a pinch of the old schnozz- we waded into the pools closest to the source of the naturally hot water and it was near boiling! Moving a few pools from the source, about twenty feet, the water was much more bearable and was like a hot tub. It felt amazing.

Right beside the hot spring runs a river, whose water is the temperature it should be at the end of October. Mama Lo and I walked out of the hot springs over a short, rock-piled wall into the fresh river water. It. was. freezing! We dipped completely under the freezing water and then returned to the section that hosts the hot springs. Glorious! She explained it's good to shock your body like that sometimes-good for the heart! After wading around with all of the girls for a while it was finally spa time. We reached into the corners of the river, the hot spring heated section, and grabbed the dark grayish-brown mud and rubbed it over our entire bodies!! Yes, it also smelled like hard-boiled eggs. We weren't the only people crazy enough to do this. Apparently people come from all over, most from Germany, to wade in the springs and enjoy an afternoon mud bath. You stand in the sunlight and let the mud dry until you can just about flake it off in chunks of shell that have conformed to your body! Then you're ready to go. We chose to rinse by standing under the man made pipe that sends the water shooting through the air from the spring into the pools, almost like a scorching hot shower. After the mud bath your skin is so smooth and extremely clean looking. This was something I would definitely suggest to anyone who has the chance to try and would definitely do it again myself!

After bathing in the sun and scarfing down our panini it was a little past three and time to roll. On our drive back we stopped by the tiny, tiny, walled in town of Monteriggioni. You could walk from wall to wall in about three minutes flat. We had a cup of afternoon tea and poked our head into a few leather and soap shops that were really interesting and even more so cute! After a quick stroll at sunset we had to leave the town. Continuing our drive there was the smallest amount of light left so we stopped by the wonderful ranch where Mama Lo works(I will blog more about that another time) then drove through the Porta Romana back into Florence and were finally home. It was like a breath of fresh air, literally, when getting out of the car filled with five women reaking of boiled eggs...but the day was definitely worth it! Tomorrow we will be attending a soccer(futbol) match, so look forward to seeing pictures from and reading about that later :)

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