The View from Tuscany

The rest of the details of our July trip to Europe are long overdue.  To begin, a couple more photos of Italy.  My real reason for being in Florence was to do a bit of work with an astronomer there.  The view from the observatory where we worked was lovely; on one side Florence was spread out below, including the omnipresent Duomo (the feature that guarantees you don’t get lost while walking around the city). And on the other side, the Tuscan countryside rolls all the way to the horizon, complete with ancient monastery in the distance and a recreation of a middle ages castle being built by rich Americans on the next hill over.  I could have stayed there forever.

The view from the observatory with telescope domes in the morning sun.

For some reason, on the road up to the observatory, there was a tent surrounded by 5 or 6 cats. Every morning they were there, sunning themselves in the bright light, and every afternoon when I walked down the hill again they were gone. I like to think it was an orphanage for abandoned kitties, but I'm really not sure what was going on there.

View from the observatory in another direction, including olive trees, old Tuscan buildings, and far-away hills in the blinding morning light.

There is only one thing I regret from our entire trip in Europe: not having enough time to return to the fanciest restaurant we dined at in Florence to have another dish of fresh buffalo mozzarella.  This mozzarella was beyond words.  We were served two round soft-looking white pieces, each about the size of a child’s fist.  The outside of each mozzarella ball had a thin skin that kept the whole magical creation together, but the inside melted into a creamy heaven.  Somehow the creaminess was light enough to eat plain, and for once the perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes didn’t steal the show (always a risk with me).

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