Wednesday, May 12, 2010

drawing to a close.

Am I going insane, or is it really May 12? That can't be possible, since yesterday was January 25. I just arrived in Florence, right? There is no way that I have been here for nearly four months already.

Sadly, that is the truth, though. My time abroad is drawing quickly to a close, and until today, I think, I was a little bit in denial about it. As ready as I am to go home and see my family and get out of this tiny apartment, I am going to miss Florence, living abroad, my roommates, buying fresh food, and a million other things that I could never recount.

Things might get hairy over the next couple of days as I finish my final exams, pack everything up, and attempt to cram as much Florentine culture into my days as humanly possible, but I hope to update again before I have to leave my apartment on Saturday. After I move out, my parents and I will travel to Rome, Naples, and Pompeii before I return to Pisa to fly to Alicante, Spain for three days. Then, I'll go back to Pisa to fly home on Tuesday, May 25. It's sure to be a whirlwind of a week, but I suppose that it's a fitting close to my whirlwind semester.

Speaking of whirlwinds, it seems like it was just hours ago that Gillian and I returned from our second trip to San Gimignano (when in reality we went last Saturday).
For those who don't remember, San Gimignano is a tiny gem of a Tuscan town, located a little over an hour south of Florence close to Siena. It's known for its beautiful scenery, medeival feel, and, of course, the world champion of gelato: Pluripremiata.

Unlike last time, it was actually open [and crowded, to say the least.] I was a happy camper.

Remember this?

The line was nuts and the girls working behind the counter were...brusque, to put it politely. But I walked out with a giant cone of joy, in the form of tiramisu, banana, and nutella gelato.

It only costs 3 euro to make my day.

Then Sunday, my parents arrived in Italy after a hectic series of plane rides that finally ended in Pisa. I spent the better part of Monday showing them all of the major sights of Florence, and we managed to hit two restaurants I've been meaning to try: Acqua al Due and Trattoria Casalinga. I was quite impressed with Casalinga, and while Acqua was a fun night, the food wasn't quite what I expected.

My parents first Italian gelato experience: Grom!

In front of the Ponte Vecchio on Monday.

The parents.

At the Piazzale Michaelangelo.

My dad treated the whole city like a museum, stopping to inspect every little detail. He was particularly fascinated by the vehicles, including this little toppolino, or "Little Mouse". In this picture, a woman is telling him not to lean on the car or it might dent! Whoops.

Tuesday, I woke early to eat breakfast with my parents before they headed to the Galleria Uffizi while I took two of my finals. I feel comfortable with how I did on both. After that, the parents and I went to Mario's, where my mom finally got to experience ribollita after all of my chatter on this blog about it.

Mom&Dad departed Tuesday afternoon (in the pouring rain) bound for Cinque Terre! I haven't heard from them since yesterday night, but I hope that the hike went well. As far as I know, they are headed for Siena tonight, and will return to Florence on Friday night to help me move out on Saturday morning.

Today, I met up with Bethany and Mary for our last Wednesday lunch at Sergio's :[ It would have been a sadder affair, but the restaurant was hopping, and we had to eat quickly. No time for nostalgia when it's Italian lunch time! Gillian and Sam met me in the San Lorenzo market after that to finish up some last minute souveneir matter how much I shop it just seems like my list keeps getting longer and longer!

Then, Gillian and I finally took on lampredotto, a Florentine specialty made from a cow's fourth stomach. [I can tell that you are salivating at the thought!] We were both a bit intimidated by it, but we absolutely HAD to try it, so we decided to just buy one sandwich to sample.

Looks innocent, right?

My first bite...

Sam digs in...

Bethany gets in on the fun, too...


I personally liked the taste, but couldn't get over the combination of my mental block about eating cow's stomach as well as the very SLIMY texture. Gillian and I each braved another bite, trying to give it another chance, but it was a no-go. We tossed over half of it in the trash. Oh, well! At least we gave it a shot.

I finished off my Wednesday with my final practical cooking exam, in which my teammates and I prepared a bruschetta as well as a panna cotta. Both turned out great, and we were all pleased with how it went. Since I've been feeling a bit under the weather this week (sore throat, congested, headache) I decided to rest up tonight in preparation for our final days here. I actually packed one of my suitcases and started in on my big soon as I do laundry, I should have no problem finishing up Friday night!

I hope to write again before I leave, but be assured that I will update a few times while I'm travelling if I don't get to. Ciao!


  1. Glad to see your parents made it safe and sound! Have a great rest of your semester! I can't believe it's over either!! I'm going to miss your adventures!

  2. Cow's fourth stomach eh? I'll hand it to you all, you're certainly trying everything, and that's what it's all about :) !

  3. oh, stomach. only in Florence.

    hey hey, don't "hypocrite" me - i was just catching up to you yesterday! but yes - I'm thinking 4 gelatos in 2 days. can we do it? oh yes we can.

  4. i love the fam pics. you are so brave for eating that! i like trying stuff, but i don't think i would've been able to do that. p.s i got your postcard! i was so surprised and delighted! i feel so special to be getting mail from ITALY, thanks!