Traveling through mountains

Trip Start Jun 24, 2011
Trip End Jul 04, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Monday, June 27, 2011

Today began with packing and an early breakfast.  At 8am we loaded the buses and started on our drive to Montecatini.  For awhile we were wondering where was Tuscany?  The highway looked like your basic industrial area of a city.  But soon we left that behind and were traveling through farmlands.  Grapes, corn, and sunflowers were the most common crops we saw. 
Later the farmlands gave way to hills and occasional homes set out in valleys.  The freeway went straight through the hills - I mean straight through.  Many tunnels, that must have been carved right through hills instead of roads winding around them like at home.
We took one stop for bathrooms and snacks at the Italian form of a truck stop.  The kids went straight for the little containers of cookie sticks with Nutella for dipping. 
Finally we arrived at the hotel, The Tuscany Inn.  We dropped our bags and instruments in the locked storage and went into town to explore and find lunch.  Lots of food places were open but all the shopping was closed for the midday break from 12:30 to 4:00pm.  Then back to the hotel to check in.
Students reported for rehearsal from 3 to 5, had a short break to dress in concert wear and off to the performance site.
The group performed in the little town square at a venue that seems to offer music on a regular basis.  Locals stopped by to listen and have their wine or before dinner snacks.  The concert went very well.  A wonderful older couple from Rome was fascinated and asked me many questions about our group and trip.
Afterwards we enjoyed a buffet dinner followed by a dessert that wasn't the Italian form of Flan (the dessert we've had every night so far.) Ice Cream! It was really good!
Back to the hotel the kids had about an hour before curfew and seemed to spend it chatting in the room corridors since they are not allowed in each others rooms.  They are great rule followers even if they are not quiet :)  All of a sudden at 10:30 it became very quiet.  Curfew and room check was happening. 
Next day is our free day with possiblities of walking and taking the funicolare to Montecatini Alto and an optional excursion to Pisa!
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