First of all, I would like to say sorry for the delayed posts to those who have been keeping up with me. On the third I was feeling a little under the weather so I didn’t do anything too exciting. I did however make bruschette and frittatas in my class.
I spent my Fourth of July knocking a few things off of my Firenze bucket list. I had breakfast at caffe Gilli which was molto bene. Then I set out to find the Santa Novella Pharmacy. I ended up at the Piazza de Santa Novella and decided to go in the basilica while I was there. It is amazing to me how much detail sculptors, painters, and artisans put into these buildings. Everywhere I turned there was something new to look at. I can only imagine what the Duomo looks like.
(Santa Novella Basillica)
After that I finally found the Ufficio Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Novella which for those of you who don’t know it is like the first pharmacy that was built in Firenze. When you walk in it is like a beautiful museum full of old apothecary things as well as new products. They make their own body and hair care as well as perfumes and vitamins. You pick out the products that you would like from their menu and they put it on a card for you, and at checkout you hand the card to the cashier and she gives you your products. Probably one of the coolest things I have done thus far.
The beautiful ceiling in the Ufficio Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Novella
Once I left there I had lunch at Il Pizzauolo which was delicious. I seriously feel like my life revolves around food here. After I finished my pizza I had to head back for a quick siesta. Then Jen and I decided to go to the Scoula di Cuolo aka School of Leather. We got to see all of the students working on all types of leather. They even had all of their products for sale. The animals that they used were calf, lamb, crocodile and ostrich. The bags were not too expensive but I have a feeling they would last forever. After Jen and I closed that place down we went shopping and decided to pose for a photo op in front of the Ponte Vecchio(thanks for the tip Jane Anne). P.S. You didn’t tell me about having to climb over the bridge. Anyways after it was all said and done we had a great dinner and shared many laughs at the end of the day! Off to Parma and Modena tomorrow!
So today I woke up and found an international breakfast caffe on my way to class. I hate to say I was craving an omelette and a coffee so I found just that! Class was very interesting today. We learned about the different types of truffles and where they are harvested. The white truffle is the best, most potent truffle. The black is found in central Italy and is less expensive. We took a field trip to a place that sells all things truffles. We tried a panini with truffle cream spread in the middle. It was so delicious. I might have left the shop with some truffle honey. Which sounds completely gross but it is actually life changing. My lunch was a chocolate crescent with an espresso. Diet starts the first day I get back, I promise. HA.
The truffle bar
Once I finished my crescent it was off to my wine tasting class. I learned so much about wine in such a short period of time. My instructor had her doctorate from the University of Florence in Wine Studies. Next week we are learning about different foods to pair the wines with. After my wine course, I called Jen and we decided to get a nice pedicure from some fish. Dropping my feet into a tank full of eager beaver fish was freaky to say the least. They were literally swimming around the top of the tank like piranhas. After about five minutes they cooled down and I was able to take a breather.
After Jen and I finished with the fish we met the roomies for dinner. We found a restaurant that had a 15 euro deal which included wine, water, four appetizers, three pastas and a little limoncello. It was really cool having everyone at dinner at the same time. Usually we all kind of do our own thing. After dinner we almost made it back home until I mentioned dessert then off we went. They may end up rolling me back onto the plane once this thing is over, but at least I can say I had a good time.
From left to right: Meg, Maddie, Camille, Jen, and Jamie!
So today was my first day of class and I love my professor Cicci! I left my apartment around 8 for my class at 9. I figured that I could grab an espresso before I headed that way. Well, an hour and 20 minutes later I was lost in some neighborhood and didn’t have the slightest idea where the school was. The language barrier hasn’t been too tough, but trying to ask for directions with minimal italian skills was difficult. So whats a girl supposed to do when shes stuck in an area that’s not on her map of Florence? Google maps–sorry johnny. Anyways, I somehow stumble into the school and show up 20 minutes late for my class. We took an espresso break midway through class, just because. Is anyone else thinking that italy is the place for me or is it just me?
So after class I found the bookstore by the duomo. Yes, I might have bought a few cookbooks. I mean when in Florence, right? I had my first real italian pizza. Can you say delicious? Holy smokes I may eat one every day. While having my lunch I met an older woman that was from London. She told me that she was still on her “year long trip” that started in 1968. She was quite funny but she had a rather dark beard.
After I had my lunch it was time for my first italian culinary course. This time when I made the trek down there I didn’t get lost. In my class I was accompanied by Mirrin and Asli (pronounced marian and ashley). Mirrin came over from New Zealand and has been traveling for 3 months with 3 more months to go. Asli is just getting the cultural experience. The chef that taught us currently works at the Four Seasons here and he is married to a woman from San Antonio. Small world. Anyways we made pappa al pomodorro which is a tomato soup with bread whisked in it. We made a zuchinni ripieni aka stuffed squash with veal and bread crumbs and fresh parmigiano cheese. I was in charge of making cicci or cookies which were THE bomb. The squash as pictured below were what they called apple squash. They had such a great flavor about them. I may have to throw them in my garden next summer. Also, I had veal for the first time–definitely wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I can’t say that I would order that over a bolognese sauce though.
After my class, I walked home and finally rested at about 6 p.m. I’m practically crippled at this point. Jen updated her step count and it wasn’t 11,000 steps it was actually 19,000 yesterday. I’m pretty sure these cobblestones are turning my legs into mush. Anyways, its a brand new day tomorrow and I can’t wait to try some more new things!
So, after traveling for what seemed like forever and a decade I finally arrived in Florence. While going through the dramatics of an international adventure I made a friend named Donald, Donald J. Pliner. Yeah, I almost freaked out when I actually figured out who I was actually talking to. I’m pretty sure that is the first celebrity I was ever physically able to talk to. The funny thing is is that he was completely normal, and actually took me under his wing through all of the dramatics. Which for those of you who were not involved in my slight panic attack of a flight I shall give you the 4-1-1. I almost touched down in Florence, as in I saw the ground, and the pilot pulled the aircraft up and we ended up landing in Bologna. I took a bus from there to Florence and took a taxi to my apartment, which by the grace of god my roommate answered so I was able to get in. My apartment is very nice here which I was pretty surprised by. The only kicker is is that I do not have any air conditioning. Fortunately it’s only 80 here so it isn’t unbearable, just stagnant and slightly sweaty. My roommates are all very nice. Two of them go to school in Auburn, one goes to Parsons and the other goes to Richmond Institute of Technology. We are a good hodge podge mix.
Today(June 29th) I woke up and went and walked around with my roommate Jen. She and I had lunch in front of a basillica. I had the most delicious bruschette of my life. The tomatoes were so fresh and the balsamic vinegar was SO good. Then we walked back to the apartment and got ready for our orientation. Which we ended up being late to because being the girls that we are, we felt a few raindrops and ran back to the apartment to grab our raincoats. Turns out, it didn’t rain at all and we didn’t need them. Our orientation was really interesting. I expected the group of students to be rather large but there was only around 30 kids. I’ve noticed that there are so many americans here which is a blessing and a curse. I would love to be surrounded by italians, but it is also so nice and comforting to here someone that speaks your own language. Anyways, after we went to orientation we grabbed my first Italiano gelato.
This is the flavor “cookies” which was SO SO good. I now understand why everyone raves about gelato. After we had our ice cream we walked over to the Ponto Vecchio which was beautiful. Then we met up with the group to have an appertivo. Jen, Laura(who is a girl from brazil) and I walked down and around the Duomo. I really can’t get over how beautiful Florence is! Anyways, off to class early in the morning!
Well, today is the day that I leave the country for Italia. As I sit in the airport and wait for my flight (that may or may not be an hour late) I can’t help but feel a multitude of emotions. I’m everything from sad to excited to anxious. I think this experience could be life changing for me. First and foremost it is a sense of independence. Because, lets face it, I’m a lone wolf over in Italy. I mean I’m not completely alone, I do have six roommates, but no close connections–yet. I’m also excited to immerse myself in a different culture. Everything sounds so appealing to me the food, the clothing, the language and the architecture. My friend halston told me to eat some carbs for her and I plan to do just that. Anyways, its time to board my plane!
Hello blog world! So I’m two weeks out from starting my italia journey. The nerves are starting to kick in a little, but I think I am more excited than anything. I spent this past weekend in my hometown and celebrated the life of my best friend, Trey Varner. His family put together a scavenger hunt and some of my girl friends and I participated. We didn’t win but we had such a great time. Now it’s time to get back to the real world and dive in to statistics!