The never-ending feast continues...

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
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37
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Trip End Feb 02, 2011


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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Saturday, April 17, 2010

There are some things about travelling that are really comforting. Like that a toilet works the same and shower taps and light switches and toilet paper. Imagine coming to a new country and they speak a language where not a word makes sense to you, the people do things differently, the public transport is like a great labyrinth, the food is funny and you don't know what will come to you when you ask for something and then you just really, really, really need to pee and then the toilet is a puzzle and you don’t know if your going to pee your pants before you can manage to figure it out. So many things look similar but really they work very differently, at least you can take a shower and go to the toilet and it’s not too tricky.

We are in the city of Florence, staying with Eugenia and Gauss. Gauss is nicknamed so, after the great genius because he is one himself. Tuesday we had a day full of food – it’s really killing me. First we went to a market near Pian Di Sco’ and bought some food to make a lunch time feast to share with Pietro and Miriam, then in the afternoon we went to Florence on the train to spend some time in the city with some of Felix’s friends living there. Felix’s good friend Gio met us at the station and gave us a tour on speed of Florence and then cooked us a massive and delicious dinner at his house. After dinner he drove us back to Eugenia and Gauss’s flat where Felix, Gio and Gauss sat up until three AM.

In the morning when we woke up and looked out the window we were awestruck. From out on the small balcony we had such a beautiful picture. We looked out over a sea of tiled rooftops and antennas; each roof is a patchwork of different reds and ageing tiles. This apartment is three stories up and on the edge of a small space for gardens, so we look down into a cluster of trees and plants, divided for the lucky ones who have these little spaces, by old, old stone walls. All the trees are bright and green, and a massive Wisteria vine is growing up the building, covered with purple flowers whose scent wafts up to the balcony. Cats are always walking across the courtyard below and some kids were kicking a soccer ball, a lady opened the window below to shake out the tablecloth and lost the lid of a bottle to the balcony of the neighbour below. It really is something to stand up there and look out over all that. It’s very nice.

Felix and I spent the day wandering around Florence with no purpose but to enjoy walking through a beautiful city. We had what I think is the best meal in Europe so far. From a cheap little focaccia shop just near Gauss’s house, we bought focaccia sandwiches with pesto, olive paste, mozzarella, tomatoes, eggplant and some meat. They were so wonderful; I can’t describe how good they tasted.

The good food continued late into the night. Gauss is studying really hard at the moment for a very important exam so we decided it would be nice for us to cook a dinner we could all enjoy together. Felix and I went into the supermarket with no idea what we were going to make. We stood and looked at the vegetable stand for a moment, then seeing the good selection of lasagne vegetables, decided we should make a vegetable lasagne. I really enjoyed cooking that night, Felix helped perfectly by washing dishes and keeping the small kitchen space free of used dishes and doing some chopping. I hope Jelly and Mum will be very proud of me for making a perfect white sauce. Just when I had finished preparing the vegetables Gio arrived as planned for dinner and helped me finish the lasagne, which when taste tested was a great success.

The next day, Thursday, Felix and I slept in until two in the afternoon. We had stayed up until five in the morning talking on skype. So it was well afternoon by the time we finally left the house to wander around Florence again. We ended up going to see a movie in the Odeon, an old building once used for theatre I guess that has a beautiful stained glass dome above the seats. After we came out of the movie, we walked for maybe an hour before we called Gio. We had been planning to call him after the movie but it was so nice walking we didn’t. He asked us if we had had dinner and when we said no, he said "well come to my house, dinners almost ready."

Once again we were very well fed, this time on fish cooked in tomatoes and olives. After dinner we went to what I think was someone’s graduation, it was a friend of Julia, Gio’s girlfriend. It was some kind of party anyway, in squat in a old school building. There was a band playing, beer being served in plastic cups and a lot of happy looking old hippies dancing round. I found this place quite befuddling; it was like being at someone’s house but it wasn’t and it wasn’t a pubic place either. I mean people do live there but it’s nobodies house and it didn’t have that feel like some one owned it, yet people were taking care of the place and there was a functioning kitchen… it was my first experience of a squat and I really loved to see a community with no written rules but that seemed to function well.

After the squat we drove up to Piazzale Michelangelo, A small hill with a view over Florence and a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s 'David’. By now it was getting close to two AM so after we had had a little look around Piazzale Michelangelo Gio drove us back to Gauss’s house.

Friday, last night, we feasted again, this time with Alessandro and some friends of Gauss, Eugenia and Gio. We were there until three AM.  When we got home I went straight to bed but Felix and Gauss stayed up talking until they were so tiered that they were nodding off to sleep while the other was talking despite how hard they tried to stay awake. When they told me about it this morning, (well it was afternoon by the time we woke up) it was so funny, I could just imagine them sitting there, falling asleep with their eyes open and waking up with a surprise to the silence of the other waiting for a response.

So after waking up so late this afternoon, it was six PM by the time we had lunch. Lunch led Felix and Gauss into another very deep and long discussion about physics. It must have been about eight when they stopped for a breath and I suggested we go for an ice-cream so at least we had left the house once in the day. My suggestion turned into a walk around the city, to enjoy the mild night and our ice-cream, which turned into a beer, then two beers, and a walk that brought us home at midnight.

The last week as been quite hard to recall into which events have happened on which day, the days have literally been running into the next with such late nights. But tonight has been one of the nicest nights we have had in Florence so far, in my opinion. It was really nice to have such a long night walk through the city talking and talking and talking, sitting to rest a few moments in front of a church and then on the wall of the river Arno to watch the water pouring over the spillway before coming home, climbing up the eighty three stairs to the apartment, finishing this entry and now, bed time.
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Comments

Maria on

Oh, as always happens when I start a comment, I know I won't remember all the thoughts I've had while reading your blog or looking at the photos, but I'll do my best:

LOVE the photos, for starters. Bring back lots of my own memories of Florence. Love your description of Felix and Gaus falling asleep talking to each other - I can just imagine their expressions! Love that, true to stereotype, your experience of Italy has revolved around good food, good sights, and a general celebration of life (christenings, dinners, parties, graduations, etc). Love the sound of your walks, especially the last one which went on and on from an outing for an icecream to a midnight walk home.

Seems this has been a lovely chapter of your adventures, and I somehow feel sad that it's ended - both in your time and in my 'time' in terms of reading about it!

But the UK beckons, so on I go to read the next blogs :-)

Lots of love to you both,

Miwa

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