Sunday, July 18, 2010

three days in florence

 Narrowing down a bajillion pictures of a huge beautiful place is a lot of work.  
Florence is full of beautiful famous places.  Just beautiful.  

I started of our Florence stay hoping to get all lovely and plugging in my flat iron.  It sparked and then the room went dark.  Whoopsies.  The room recovered.  Karl found a switch and flipped it.  My flat iron did not.  Ok, ok, I secretly have wanted a new one.  But I never would have had to the guts to blow out a room and make a big old spark just to get one. 

On with the real stuff.  Rickie (I have already professed our love for Rick Steves) can do a much better job at describing all of these amazing sights.  Actually probably anyone can do a better job that me.  So, I won't attempt.  I will just share a few (or a bunch, who am I trying to kid?) of my favorites... 
So many details, so many stories, so much history behind all of these this...
And to think that this was all built before all the the fancy machines that we have these days...
We took a bike tour.  Just us two, a girl that knew a lot about the city, some bikes, and some cool little speaker thing that she used that went into our earphones so we could hear her while we peddled around the city.  In such a busy city I never would have biked without her (even with her help, I got honked at twice and let's just say it wasn't because they thought my 5 month pregnant body was hot).  Biking was a great way to see so many neat things in a short time.  

Seems like everyone was so much more fashionable.  Even down to their police.  Check out their get up.  They put our "every police woman should have a front butt" police uniforms to shame, now don't they?
We saw some really famous stuff.  Karl got some illegal photos with his sneaky Blackberry skills.  Look who we saw!  Kelly Ripa and her whole family.  I was so excited, and you could tell who was American because they were equally excited. 
The real David used to stand here but he couldn't put up with all the elements and risks that go with standing outside so they moved him indoors and this one is a fake.
I don't mean to brag or anything but I have some serious napping skills.  Italy was no exception.  Right here on this plaza we napped for a couple of hours.  
L'Accedemia was huge.  Karl soaked it all in.  He has museum skills.  I used my napping skills while he his museum skills.  He used his Blackberry skills to catch me using my napping skills.  (And I really really really apologize to art lovers who would never even think of doing such a thing.  But if it makes you feel any better, a nap may for me what beautiful art may do for you.  Maybe?).  

Coming from the land where big box stores are (sadly) dominating more and more, I just love looking in the little shops and seeing all of the care and personal touches that go into the products.  I think it is beautiful.
Me, 5 months pregnant in Italy.  I am so glad to have these with this baby.  I have a total of about 2 pictures of me when I was carrying my other two kids and that makes me a little sad.  But, hey, look at us learning from our mistakes!  I 
I used my patience skills and waited to talk about the food.  
This was Trattoria Mario.  Recommended by both Karl's brother (our Italy pro) and Rickie, it was so fun.  The ravioli was okay but let's talk about the Bistecca alla Florentine.  You pay for it by the Kilo.  Yes, the Kilo.  That steak was HUGE.  The photos don't do the massiveness any justice.  The guy brings in these hunks of meat.  The other guy hacks off a big old slab.  They weigh it, show it to you, and then grill it up.  We should have named it.  It was huge.  And even better?  It was delicious.  No fancy sauces.  Just delicious meat.  And nerdy me enjoyed it even more knowing it didn't come from a gross giant mcfactory farm.  The place was so crowded that they sat you where ever they had seats.  At one point this couple from Japan sat across from us.  We told them to order the steak.  It was so funny how shocked they were.  
Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco
My brother told us to go here for their truffle pasta.  Little Utah me hasn't had much experience with truffles.  I loved this dish.  The texture, the flavor, the simplicity.  We had some bruschetta, some caprese salad, and some pasta with boar sauce.  Maybe the thing that I will remember most is our seats.  They sat us up in this tiny nook up some tiny stair at a tiny table.  A little loft-ette.  I will also remember how Karl left his wallet and the waiter snagged us on our way out and gave it to him.  I just love nice people.
My favorite way to experience other countries is through a cooking class.  

This one started with a walk through a market.  He told us all the ins and outs of buying fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, pasta, etc.  I loved it.  The emphasis was on quality.  Eating in season, choosing fresh stuff, not wasting... I was in food nerd heaven.  

We then walked to a cooking school that so cool.  It had all these modern amenities in this old stone building.   We didn't make anything fancy, some down home, family cooking.  I learned so much.  
Tips that stood out:
Rub the bruschetta with garlic, then with the tomato pulp
Take the center line thing out of the garlic, that is part that smells
Toss the pasta with the sauce over and over to bring out the starch, bind the flavors and make it richer
Roll the basil leaves really tight, then chop to chiffinade
If Karl ever tells you that he doesn't know how to cook (because he just doesn't want to), don't believe him.  He has cooking skills.
Gelato.  Sometimes twice a day.  So fun to sample.  Even more fun to choose the flavors.
And just because we were in the land of lovely food, doesn't mean all the food was great.  Some of it was just okay.  Oh, and some not even okay.  Like, when we decided that we were hungry at 11 pm and Karl went out to find food.  He came back with a pizza a and gyro.  The fact that they were from the same place was kind of a sign.  We still laugh at how gross it was.  

After our time in Florence and the going to other cities.  We decided the food was, in general, better outside the big city.  

Next up:  San Gimignano, Volterra, Monteriggianni, and Sienna


Abbigail said...

What a lovely time. I am so glad you got to try that delicious steak. Yummy! The photos you took of the small shops that specialize in one thing are amazing. Really beautiful. Almost as beautiful as the art you napped through! :)
Next time I go to Florence I want to take a cooking class, that looked fun. I have heard that they have really great ones in Bologna. Maybe next time you can hit one there.
So, was Kelly Ripa as crazy skinny in person as she looks on TV?
Your baby in your belly was lucky to have accompanied you both on an adventure.

Blake ~ Amber ~ Noah ~ Jade said...

Wow, what a great time. You guys amaze me!! And how awesome was it to see your pregnant belly FINALLY!! LOve it, such a cute pregnant girl you are!!!

pamela said...

cooking class!! what an awesome thing to do! and you are a very darling pregnant woman:)!

Malea said...

You are a darling pregnant person. And thanks for the stinky garlic tip! I never knew that!

Malea said...

You are a darling pregnant person. And thanks for the stinky garlic tip! I never knew that!

Emily said...

so jealous. I love living, eating, and napping in Italy vicariously though - can't wait to go to all those other places. :) Keep em coming!

it's so YOU to take pictures of hip police outfits - I love it.

Lindsay said...

Your pictures are amazing, and you look so happy and beautiful pregnant. :)
So I know you guys totally planned your trip just so you could see Kelly Ripa on Vacay, right? Very smart!


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