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The Perils of Paul(ine)

20 Oct

Let me tell you a little story…..what do you suppose happens when your husband tells you he’s going out for a little stroll in the evening by himself? Sounds innocent enough don’t you think? Until he comes home with a pair of Italian shoes! Does this man not know that the wife gets shoes first? I mean, really? Well, here comes the universe to explain. He gets sick! Really sick. And I did feel sorry for him. How awful to be on vacation and be miserable. But it did introduce us to a new experience.

Si! Si! The Farmacia! And it’s pretty amazing what you can get there!

Hubby wanted cough syrup and Vitamin C. We thought the pharmacist would think we were nut is we tried to explain about “Vicks VapoRub” but you can see for yourself, normale! Johnson & Johnson no less. Who would of thought? And here’s is a brilliant thing – on the side of the cough syrup we noticed raised bumps. Turns out there are directions in Braille!  What an absolutely great idea! After a few days of down time he felt better (it was a bronchial cold – how I haven’t gotten it is beyond me) so we hit the town in grand style. However, before I go into that I have to reveal the charismatic gentleman who enticed my hubby:

So of course how could Hubby resist such and excellent salesperson? I have to tell you that this picture does not do him justice – he is VERY handsome. He’s one of the nicest, helpful and knowledgeable merchants I’ve met. So far he’s number one on the list. When hubby went without me he (hubby) gave him a piece of Sedona sandstone with a write-up on it and a postcard of Sedona. When we returned he told us he put the post card in his travel diary and the stone in a special pouch. I think I’m in amore (platonic of course) but my sister in law has already put dibs on him and we’re supposed to bring him back in our suitcase. (The extra one I wanted to bring but nooooo, that was nixed. We’ll have to think of something else. Maybe we can lure him over with a promise of a tour of OUR leather factory. Lol!  Oh and if you’re ever in the neighborhood, here’s his shop:

So Stefano of “Sabatini’s” won our hearts. And I plan on giving him a small token as well. And yes! I made a gorgeous purchase of buttery Italian boots at a fabulous price. (Don’t tell Stefano that!) There’s another pair I have my eye on.  The address of his shop is: Borgo degli Albizi, 75r, 50122 Firenze, Italia. And just to make you jealous, we have his cell number and his email! Can’t give that out without his permission.

Okay, on to bigger and I do mean bigger things! The Uffizi Museo. We decided to get the family pass to become member and the upside is it get’s you into almost everything – the Accadamia Gallery, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens just to mention a few (of the things I want to see)!

We head to the Uffizi Museo. Sounds harmless enough, right? Do you have any idea how many intriguing shops are along the way? It’s almost criminal. And it almost was….hubby was on a mission to get there and his patience was waning with me goggling at this that and everything. But happily we made it. Now the adventure is trying to buy the pass and get in. There is door #1, door #2, and door #3. I felt like Monty Hall. Hey, let’s make a deal! Let us find the right one first and we’ll behave. But no, we traversed every single one and still were confused. Oh, you crazy Americanos! We finally made it to the entrance and voila, were able to bypass the queques (Yay!). You have to go through security as there are strict rules, such as no food or water, you can take in a camera but are not allowed to take pictures (damage to the paintings) and backpacks of a certain size must be checked. We had to take off jackets, etc and when I went through the sensor my watch sounded the alarm. The guard had been watching us bobble, juggle, and generally look totally goofy. He finally rolled his eyes and waved us through. We rented the audio tour so we could share the information which was really nice.  Then we noticed the four flights of stairs yet to climb. Oy! Half way up you’ll be happy to know we noticed a sign down below that said “lift” which of course is the elevator we neglected to see before THE TREK. Good thing we are exercise fanatics and are not the least overweight or have desk jobs. Not. Pant, pant. But it was worth every step. And steps there were. Oh, but the art. Starting with the 13th century, the paintings were breathtaking. I wish we had pictures to show but of course that is forbidden. However I did see quite a number of people taking them anyway with their phones. Now I don’t know if that is allowed or not, but it seemed like cheating. Most of them were young people so I am going to think that they are serious art students and forgive them. So on and on we wandered through the various rooms, each century incredible in it’s own glory. I must say that after awhile some of them melted into each other and I was a little bleary eyed. There is so much to see and so much information, it was a little overwhelming. And the detail in each painting was so captivating you can’t just whiz by. Some of the pictures took 5 years plus to paint. Amazing. Half way through (this place is huge) we hit the wall, leg and feet cramps, thirst, hunger, took it’s toll so we decided to explore the second half another day. So now it’s picture time. :  )

Oh! The first two are what we thought at first were art work – but they were humans in costume! They were perfectly still, but if you put a coin in the ornate box at their feet they came to life and interacted with you and let you have your picture taken with them.

He was so sweet and gentle. It took us awhile before we saw him move – we didn’t realize he was alive!

This lady was quite charming, and I dropped coins in her pot. She came to life and handed me an ornate headpiece to put on and hubby took our picture. I was very happy, but you won’t see that shot here! Can you imagine holding that pose for any length of time? Not I!

Next come sculptures. They are everywhere and then some. In walls, on buildings, stand alone, etc. Here are some of our favorites.

This is “David” outside the Uffizi. We will visit the original in the Accademia Gallery

This picture really doesn’t do justice to the statue. The gladiator\warrior looks very innocent in the face and my first impression was that if he could speak, he’d say “You talkin’ to me?” I truly mean no disrespect, it just tickled me. The detail and artistry in these pieces is almost unbelievable.

Here’s a happy shot. I can’t remember at the moment the title so you’ll have to look it up. One thing I did notice on most of the statues is that the feet are quite large. I will stop there. :  )

So I hope this will hold you for a bit. We have to get out and about again, so many things to do, sights to see, and people to charm and\or bewilder!

Ciao for now!

Wanderings and more food

18 Oct

Sometimes it’s hard to get started writing. I don’t know where to begin, my thoughts are racing and jumbled with no cohesive order to make this interesting. So I dive right in praying that I can edit before hitting publish and even know that if I accidentally publish, I can still edit. Yes, I’m procrastinating.

So I promised a picture of dinner after the Market. Well, that was eaten. We were ravenous but I do have one picture of the ingredients. Cross your fingers that it uploads properly.

Dinner after Mercato Centrale

We have apples and red grapes (with seeds – that will teach me to assume!). In the back are spinach and ricotta filled raviolis which took us forever to find, oh but there is no escape now! Pistachios, Parmesan, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, basil, and beets.We cooked the pasta, drizzled olive oil over it and sprinkled the Parmesan on it…..divine! A wonderful garden salad with all the trimmings tossed gently with olive oil and balsamic and voila! A delicious meal.

The lettuce had been picked that morning in Tuscany. The sweet little man who sold us this and the tomatoes and basil was quite a character. He was explaining to me that there had been rain the night before and the lettuce was therefore quite muddy so it had to be rinsed quite well. I agreed but without further ado he went to the stall across the aisle and washed it himself for me, smiling, gesturing and talking while bagging up everything for us. I had been drawn to his stall when I saw him and another man with a bull horn singing, joking, and laughing away. It was such a lively, happy stall I couldn’t resist. I am very glad I didn’t. I believe the produce was so wonderful because of all the love and joy.

We wandered around some more, making small purchases, and bought slices of pizza with tomato, mozzarella, basil and olive oil to fortify ourselves. You’d think we’d be tired of eating the same thing so regularly but I think I could live off of it. We also found a stall where they did balsamic tastings – we didn’t have time but were invited back – you can be sure we will.

Wandering back home we took some pictures around the Duomo area:

The next shot is a close up of the picture above the door in the previous picture:

Close up

Of course the pictures don’t do the buildings or architecture justice. It’s amazing how intricate the work is and how long the buildings have withstood time. It’s really quite humbling in the grand scheme of things.

On a lighter note here a picture of an apartment I just thought was adorable.

Neiborhood Apt.

I like the doors and the cheerful flowers on the balcony.

That’s it for now. It’s almost 4am here as I write this. We go to bed around 10pm or 11pm and I only sleep for about 3 – 4 hours. So up I get, eat a snack and when I start to feel drowsy, back to bed I go. Same with hubby but he can sleep at the drop of a hat. Freinds and family back home are probably shocked as I am normally a night owl, then sleep in late (when not working) and am so NOT a morning person. Maybe I was a baker in Italia in a previous life!

Ciao for now! DJ*
P.S. I was able to correct the picture in the last post. Hurrah!

Mercato Centrale-Firenze circa 1874

16 Oct

Mercato Centrale-Firenze circa 1874

So we ventured a little farther today in search of some local incredible produce, pasta, fruits, and whatever else we could put our noses next to.
Don’t worry, we were very polite and mindful and didn’t touch unless we asked and were assured all was well. What delightful people. Here we go with a veritable plethora of pictures;

These little fellas were in more than one stall and the smell was incredible, and seemed oh so edible. Every imaginable type, some packaged, some loose, and even some vacuumed packed for take home. Mmmmm! We love us some mushrooms! And these you can bring home! Hurrah

Meat to Admire

Now for you carnivores, (Update: Thank you Janice – it was something else, but you got me  thinking!!) we do have some tasty meaty treats for you. I believe these are cured hams of different types as far as preparation goes. Some have rubs, others are plain. What you can’t see is that they are tied up by their hoofs! I think it’s so you know what type of animal it is. They too smelled good – very aromatic due to the spices. But wait! There’s more! 

And the meat goes on, and on, then more!

Here’s one of the “good lookers” I’ve had a few requests for. And there’s a handsome man behind the counter as well. (hee! hee!) This stall was incredible with lots of meats, cheeses, you name it. Seemed like a one stop shop for a picnic. For about a hundred people! Much too difficult to decide at this place and the lines were long. Yes, lots of people I had to shuffle back for artistic license. Of course they all understood perfectly, as this was the beginning of the “Renaissance” era, they created it…need I say more?

A bit of everything already packed to go home

Here we have a bit of everything packed to go. The cellophane was a bit shiny so it’s hard to see all the different bits and pieces, but trust me, it was pretty impressive.

Lemoncella, but of course.

So as you can see you need something to wash all this good food down with and I wouldn’t be true to “Under the Tuscon Sun” without the beloved “Lemoncella”! It’s very good, like lemonade on steroids so we steered clear…so far.

Okay? Will this hold you over for a bit? I really have to pay some attention to my sweetie who has been slaving over all the goodies we bought today (more pictures soon) and I must fill my tummy! Dang, now that Lemoncella sounds good!

More later -thanks for stopping by and keep those comments coming! We love them. And oh, by the way, there WILL be a test! : ) DJ*

6 days and counting…..

8 Oct

At this point I must confess I’m feeling a little nauseous. Do other Travelers feel like they are endlessly chasing their tails, running marathons etc.? Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very excited. And I think I’ve gotten over the “what if we forgot?” syndrome. Of course this was only achieved by ordering everything imaginable off the internet. Sorry, we live in a small town and shopping is a challenge so we do more than a bit of online shopping. If you need something for traveling  I’m sorry to say it’s probably gone!

As I mentioned before I am an over packer. I decided yesterday to “practice packing”. So I had hubby drag in all our luggage from the garage. If there is something that I have an abundance of, believe me it’s luggage. Well, apparently not! Somehow during the transition from my single state to married state half of it has disappeared. Hold on! I am not blaming him! I probably (in a blissful state of happiness) pitched them to make room for his belongings when he moved in. Of course that meant more shopping! Okay, That is so not a hardship for me, especially when it is for me. (However, you have to be very proud as I have not bought ONE pair of shoes. Of course that would be ridiculous,  considering our destination!) Anyway, so now I have to wait until Tuesday night to practice packing. I am figuratively biting my nails over what clothing to take. I am watching the the weather and it seems to be trying to merge from summer to fall, but not really sure. I’m thinking it’s going to be between 65 -75 F during the day and low 50’s F at night. This is my favorite type of weather, layers, baby, layers! But more to pack. But what the heck, no problem. “Normale”. (My new favorite saying)!

Now I’m going to play around with some photos of what I hope to see. My friend’s sister took these shots and graciously allowed me to use them. But all credit goes to Lisa Mollusky. Thank you Lisa.

         

I (we) hope to add may more photos. Shopping, food & markets, all the sights and adventures we can jam pack into our allotted time. I’m especially looking forward to the art and architecture. I hope our pictures do it justice.

Now I suppose I better practice my “virtual” packing! Lol! Should be interesting without my carry on! Where’s there’s a will there’s a way!

P.S. Don’t forget to comment! And thank you to all my followers!

19 days and counting

23 Sep

As our excitement builds, we keep discovering more about the area and local treats in store for us. Wonderful markets abound with an abundance of produce, meats, sauces, and other choices sure to delight. For a couple who moved to a small town in a desert state from San Francisco our taste buds and salivary glands are going nuts! We stumbled up this wonderful video and watched with slack jaws and the memories of fine dining in years of old. Could it be? New delicacies await us? Here’s a video we found by “yaimaisland” on YouTube.com:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvqEbjq4iD8

Hungry? Oh my goodness. That’s one of the reasons we rented an apartment – with a kitchen of course, so we could buy the local food and play with recipes, spices, flavors, textures, and pure deliciousness! A picture of this fabulous kitchen follows. You can only imagine how much we are looking forward to this adventure.

Ciao!

19 Aug

We are two married couples about to embark on an adventure in Florence, Italy. Three of us have never been to Europe, one has been quite the world traveler so we are counting on her to help the rest of us be the perfect world travelers. Quite a daunting task but we know she is up to it!
We have decided to blog about our journey and even though we haven’t started we thought it might be a good idea to include the days, weeks, and months leading up to it. The planning alone has been an ongoing, big job. Trying to coordinate 4 busy people has been at best….well, trying.

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