Was this day Flo Real?




The morning began with a nice breakfast in the hotel: pastries, fruit, yogurt, bread, juice, and a cappuccino. It was a scene out of a movie. Looking around the grounds, the sun shined through the trees and cast a gorgeous light on everything. The dew on the grass glistened, and the roses on the arch opened.

We then set off to the paper factory in Fabriano. Having lower expectations in the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting and fun the tour was. We were able to watch how the paper was made in the middle ages, a way that the factory still makes much of its paper still today. After stopping by the gift shop, a group of us set off in search of a place to eat lunch. Finding a restaurant that was open at one o’clock turned out to be a challenge, but with some searching, we stumbled upon a nice little restaurant a little jaunt from the meeting place. Most of us ended up ordering pasta. Vivian and I both ordered spaghetti with mushrooms, prosciutto, and a pepper oil sauce. With a sprinkling of cheese on the top, it was perfect—salty, peppery, and very, very delicious. Another delicious aspect of the meal was the bread. The seven of us went through four baskets. It was probably the best bread I’ve had on the trip, if not ever. If you ever find yourself there, check it out. It’s definitely worth it: fairly cheap, and worth its weight in gold.


Half the group decided to stop for gelato, but the rest of us walked back through a park to get to the bus. We still had 20 minutes before we needed to be a hop, skip, and a jump away, so Vivian and I stopped to swing on the swing set. Whether it was because they were old, or the fact that we weren’t children, the swings squeaked loudly as we swung. The sound was familiar, but we couldn’t place it for a while. Then it hit us: it was the sound that the mandrakes in Harry Potter (the Chamber of Secrets) made as they were taken out of the soil, their screeching.


From there, we set off for Matelica where we had a private tour of a museum and a sensory analysis “class.” During the sensory analysis, we were able to understand how to taste and smell different things in food and drinks (olive oil, wine, cheese, honey, water, etc.). The things that everyone seems to remember the most were that the taste of “umami” was not good (opposed to sweet, salty, bitter, or sour), and that, during the competition, the world “floral” was spelled “floreal” which we pronounced like flo-real. “Are you floreal right now?”


To end the night, we went to karaoke. For those who stayed, what began as an awkward event, became a fun night of singing in Italian, Spanish, French, and English. We Franklin kids went up and sang “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. The great part was, everyone sang along, swaying back and forth and cheering us on.



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