Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day Two in Italy!

Hi! Welcome to day two of my adventures in Italy. First of all I'd like to apologize for not posting everyday like I originally said I would. I had a grueling work schedule this weekend, and because I'm in retail, my whole work schedule all week will be grueling, so I do not think I will be able to post everyday like I originally planned. But I will do 8 Italy posts: One post for everyday I spent in Italy.

Day Two in Italy did not work out as we planned. Remember when I told you about the shutters everyone has on their windows in Italy? Well, Pam (the friend I went to Italy with) and I shared a bedroom and she went to bed before I did. Unbeknown to me, Pam shut the shutters to the windows. I had a terrible time sleeping the first several nights because the bed was so hard, (it was a futon), and I was FREEZING!!!! Even though Italy is warmer than Wisconsin this time of the year, the people I stayed with didn't heat their house, plus there were only thin blankets on the bed. So, spoiled old me, who is use to her pillow top mattress and down comforter, slept miserably all night. I kept waking up, looked out the window, and saw it was pitch black. I thought "My goodness, will this miserable night ever come to an end? It seems like it is lasting forever'. There were also no clocks in the room, so I had no idea what time it was. Finally I heard a knock at the door. It was Anny saying that she hated to wake us but it was past 11:00 a.m., and she didn't want us to sleep any longer or we'd never get over our jet lag. I just about died! I had slept half the day away of my first day in Italy. I was so upset. I said 'But its pitch dark outside, how could it be 11:00 a.m.?" and Anny replied, 'The shutters to the window are closed and it completely blocks the light'. I just couldn't believe it. Even with the darkest shades in America, the light is never completely blocked out.

Anyway, November 12th was Pam's 40th birthday. In fact, the whole trip was taken to celebrate Pam's birthday in the first place. So Anny had a surprise birthday cake and some presents waiting for Pam when she woke up. The cake is so different than the type of cake we eat in the United States. It is very thin, and looks more like a big, round brownie than a cake. It is made with very little, if any flour. We in the states would call it a low-carb cake. We had the cake for breakfast, and then Pam opened her presents. The cake was very delicious, I could really taste the richness of the chocolate when there was no flour.

After breakfast we realized that there was not much we could do today, so we just hurried and got dressed and then headed back to the airport to pick up Pam's luggage that 'was lost'. She was so happy they found it and she finally had her hair products again to tame her curly hair. LOL!

On the way home from the airport we stopped at the Piazza Michelangelo. Its basically a scenic overlook of the city of Florence and has a fake 'David' statue in the middle of the Piazza. Its a breath-taking view, and it was a beautiful, warm sunny day so we were really able to get some good pictures. Here I am below enjoying this fabulous view.

Here is the fake 'David' by Michelangelo. The real statue is inside a art museum in Florence.
More breathtaking views of Florence. Don't you just love all the Terra-cotta roofs, and that gorgeous mountain backdrop?

This is a view of the Arno River which wraps around one end of the city.

Here is a close up of the cathedral in the center of Florence. I will have more pictures of this cathedral in my next post.

This is one of the gardens of the Medici Family...a very wealthy family that lived (and probably owned most of Florence) in Florence thousands of years ago.

Across the street from the Piazza Michelangelo, is another cathedral, with a fabulous old cemetery behind it, and some sort of fortress-type building attached to the church. It sits high on top of a hill and overlooks the city of Florence. Unfortunately, I did not get the name of this cathedral. We had to walk up a huge, gorgeous staircase that was covered in green moss. Here is the bottom part of the staircase. Don't you just love the tall arborvitaes they have in Italy?

Here is the fortress type building attached to the cathedral. Can't you just picture medieval guards standing there? Its so cool!

Here is the grand staircase leading up to the cathedral. It was quite the hike up those stairs! Great butt and thigh workout! LOL!

This is a close up of a painting on the front of the Cathedral. The cathedral was closed that day, so unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the inside.

And finally, here is a close up of the fortress.

After we finished our little bit of sight seeing, we returned to the apartment. By now it was 5:00 p.m. and time to pick Francesco up at work. Since it was Pam's birthday, Francesco, who loves to cook, wanted to make Pam a special dinner. But since everyone eats fresh food in Italy, first we had to go grocery shopping. So Anny and Francesco took us to a large grocery store. Would you believe they park underground to go grocery shopping in Italy? Then they have escalators without steps so your shopping cart can go up. Once inside the grocery store I was in shock. First of all, I've never seen so much delicious, fresh food in my life! You would not believe their seafood and cheese/meat departments! They have every type of seafood you could imagine...even octopus...which Francesco said is a very popular dish in Italy. And the cheese! Oh, my goodness! It does not come in packages like it does in America, rather it is in huge round blocks and covered with natural products, not wax.... I could go on and on, but I will wait till another day when I will show actual pictures of some of the food and can then provide more details. Another shocker about the grocery store was how busy it was. For me, it was like Black Friday at Walmart. There were so many people, but no one was cranky, rather they seemed to move in and around each other with such ease and harmony. After seeing all those people grocery shopping, I will never complain about my crowded Walmart again!
After Francesco personally hand selected all the shrimp and other fresh ingredients he wanted for his meal, we went home and watched him cook it and listened to him explain to us all about Italian Cuisine I don't remember the name of the dish, but it was delicious. It was basically pasta with sauteed shrimp in pesto and Olive Oil. He also cut up a lot of vegetables I normally don't eat, like Fennel, Avocado, and Kohlari. We ate those raw dipped in Olive Oil. They sure do love their Olive Oil in Italy! But they do have a lot of Olive trees there. They were everywhere we went.
Once we finished dinner, I went back to my freezing, hard bed while Pam talked to her family back home on Skype. This time, we did not close the shutters, so we would be sure to awaken early so we would not miss another day in Italy.
Have a great day! Amy


  1. OH my gosh Amy these are awesome.. I just have to know did you eat any Octopus....??? Sounds like you had a terrific time.. What an adventure.. I always have so much trouble sleeping away from home... TFS

  2. Trip to Italy... That sounds amazing right now. Jet lag is never fun, but looks like the rest of your trip is going amazing. Loving the photos!!! I've never been to Italy yet, so I'll have to live it through your blog posts.

  3. AWESOME! I am LOVING this trip to Italy!! You are doing an excellent job of guiding us through your days!! Your photos are amazing ... WOW ... and the food sounds magnifico!! Can't wait for Day 3! Thanks Amy!!

  4. Love the shot of the Medici garden, and oh yeah I can definitely picture guards on that fortress-style building. What amazing scenery!

  5. Your pictures and story makes me realize again that I miss Europe A LOT. I know those underground parking lots in super markets, they got them in Germany too.
    It is so much fun to read about your trip, and I can't wait to read more.

  6. What a shame that you didn't sleep well. I never sleep well myself when I'm away from home. Another great, native experience at the grocery store. That sounds so interesting. The photos of the scenery are breathtaking.


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