Friday, January 29, 2010

coffee, creeps, and el mercato centrale

So I really wanted to post my entry first, and the pictues last, but you'll have to look first and read about them at the end.
The Uffizi museum, from the Ponte Vecchio. My sad lack of photography skills does it no justice.

The actual Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, from another bridge over the Arno River.

My first Italian caffe latte!

Haha, the apple martini from the previously mentioned aperitivo.

Fresh bread at el mercato.

The dried fruit stand in El Mercato Centrale

Just as a note, everyone who said that Italian men are creeps was not exaggerating. Every time that I have dared to set foot in an Italian street alone, I have been catcalled, whispered to suggestively, and one particular creep used a very cruel (albeit clever) pick-up line. I was walking to El Mercato Centrale (The Central Market -- pictures to follow) yesterday through a large area where people come to sell things like jewelry, leather goods, postcards, etc. I was rifling through my purse looking for my wallet to pull cash out to use at the market, when one vendor stops me by saying (in English), "You dropped something!" Anyone who has ever lost anything important abroad (as I have, many times) knows that this is a horrible thing to say to a tourist whose entire existence in a foreign country is dependent upon a credit card and passport. So when I understandably went into a mild state of panic, the vendor laughed and said, "You lost my phone number. Here, let me give it to you." Case in point.

So far we have been taken on several tours...historical tours, survival tours, orientation tours, tours galore. I'm fairly certain that I could tell you the exact name of a store where you could find any particular product, but I could never in a million years lead you to it. I am getting very handy with the map though, and I maanged to truck it across half of Florence in less than 10 minutes yesterday.

It has sadly been too cold for me to even crave gelato, but I can tell you that Italian coffee is amazing. If you want a lesson in the contradictions of Italian life, I suggest that you head into an Italian coffee shop, which they call bars. On our first full day in Italy, we were introduced to the pace of Italian life, which drives me, the fast-paced American, completely insane. They are late everywhere and have no concern for the time. One of my traveling companions noted on the first day the complete lack of clocks anywhere in public space. However, put these slow-moving, relaxed people into a crowded bar, and you can watch them order, receive, pay for, and knock back an esspresso shot in about 60 seconds flat. It is quite a sight. I'm sure that even now I'm very conspicuous in the bar that I'm at, as I slowly sip my caffe latte (with no sugar! I'm turning into such an Italian already).

The coolest thing I have seen so far (besides the view off the Ponte Vecchio -- again, pictures momentarily) is el Centro Mercato. It is FULL of the most amazing and cheap fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, dried fruit, olive oil, and pretty much anything else you can want. I purchased a nice bottle of olive oil while my roommate bought some super delicious balsamic vinegar for the salad we made last night. We also went halves on a loaf of fresh whole grain bread (delicious for breakfast with some nutella...mmmm). I also bought some fresh green olives, bananas, pears, romaine, and was given a clementine for free by the owner of one fruit stand, hah. I was going to buy some dried fruit, but there was a pair of women taking their sweet Italian time at the stand, and the market was about to close, so I'll have to go back later this week.

My computer is about to die, and I finished my latte, so I'll have to update more about the apartment and post photos of that later. Classes also start Monday, so I'm sure I'll have a lot to say when that happens. Arreviderci, for now.


  1. Everything looks so european and non-american. But it looks like it wasn't raining. Yeah. The market looks delish and glad to see that you are taking full advantage. The irony of the whole piece is that you will have just become adjusted to the slower lifestyle in time to return to supersized superpaced USA. Keep on blogging it is great to see it through your eyes. <3 mom

  2. Glad to hear you are getting aquainted with Florence. It sounds amazing! I'm so incredibly jealous! I have to tell you something funny though: when I first read your title on this post I thought it said crepes (like the food) and the whole time while reading I was like, um...why is she not mentioning the crepes?? LOL! Thought you would get a laugh out of that. Keep updating and I can't wait to see more pics!

  3. I really like that picture of the bridge. I think i'm going to make it my background.

  4. Ahhhh this makes me miss Italy so much! We spent foreverrrr in the Uffizi, and all the little markets are amazing. My favorite is dried kiwi (omg bring me some back =P)! Glad to see you're having an awesome time, girl =]

  5. Completely jealous once again lol. The picture of the Uffizi museum looks pretty cool. Looks like something I would see in a brochure.

  6. Sounds like Italy is similar to Israel in some ways! Very interesting