Centro Evangelico Poggio Ubertini

The European Conference was held about 25 kilometres outside Florence at a conference centre with glorious views and a delightful history.

The centre is on the brow of a little hill surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. It is the heart of a farm complex that in the 18th century belonged to a noblewoman of English birth. On her death she bequeathed her estates to the churches to be used to strengthen their witness.

We stayed in dormitories, but with one couple per dormitory, so Pat and I had a choice of eight beds and our own little shower room.

We'd never seen Tuscany before and we quickly understood why people fall in love with it.

We'd never experienced ordinary Italian cooking, either, and we doubtless gained at least half a stone in the three days we were there! So delicious!

These conferences are quite hard work, though. Our sessions begin at 8am, before breakfast, and continue till 9pm with a couple of hours break in the afternoon.

One afternoon we tried to go on the bus to Florence but there was some mix up over weekday and Saturday timetables so instead we walked down to the nearest town for gelato.

Gelato deserves its own entry really, but in Cerbaia I had Pine-nut, Cassata and Chocolate, very reasonably priced and utterly delectable. The walk down having taken its toll I had a comedy conversation with some bus drivers to find the correct bus back to the centre.

"Google maps, google maps!" said one, then turned my phone every which way to try and work out where we were going because I had a street address and the name of the centre but no bus stop names.

Anyway, we got on the correct bus and the driver dropped us at the end of the drive to the centre, then waved to us as he drove off.


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