Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Hostess with the Mostest.
This weekend Laura and I had our first visitor, Miss Alexis Kuhlman. Alexis is our fellow DG who stayed back home in Madison for the semester but wanted to get a taste of what those of us who chose to study abroad were experiencing via Spring Break 2010. She arrived Friday morning in Rome and after taking a shuttle, a bus and a train, successfully arrived in Florence, much to my admiration. Props to Alexis because I probably would have had a heart attack in that process.
Friday we did a couple of touristy things including a visit to our dear friend, David. Seriously, that statue will never get old. We also went to the leather school where I picked up a couple of goodies for my friends back home (and maybe a little something for myself as well…). Friday night we went out with our friends Aimee, Kate and Sarah for dinner to one of my favorite places in Florence, Il Gato e la Volpe, aka The Cat and the Wolf where we feasted on all you can eat apperitivo such as bruschetta and prosciutto, several different pasta dishes, and of course, as much wine as we liked all for 15 euro. This was great for the wallet but not so great for the waistline. Laura and I were the only girls at this dinner under the height of 5’10” which is random but reminded me of my home life since Nikki and Sam are also right around that height. Miss you guys!
Saturday we forced ourselves out of bed early after a long night of clubbing for more tourist activity. We got a pizza across the street for breakfast (did I mention I’m in Italy?) and ate it outside on our porch to enjoy the warm weather and scenic view. After “breakfast” we headed over to the Borgo San Lorenzo market where Alexis bought souvenirs for what seemed like everyone she has ever come into contact with in the last 13 years and their mom. We then headed over to school to meet for our field trip to the Chianti Vineyards. I’ve been to a Napa Valley vineyard before but unfortunately I was too young to try the wine so I can’t tell you how they compare but this was amazing. We also got to try their special olive oil and I may be bringing back some presents from Chianti when I go home. Keep your fingers crossed!
Saturday night we went to this new outdoor club called Central Park that only opens when it is warm for its premiere weekend. Our friend, Ricardo, “got us a table” aka we paid a boat load of money for it, but it was worth it because we had so much fun, even though it seemed that the average clientele at Central Park consisted of 15 year old high schoolers. We stayed out just a tid bit past our bedtime, especially with the time change not in our favor, but still managed to wake up early enough on Sunday to do some more sight seeing. We went to climb the Duomo but since it was Palm Sunday and the church was closed to tourists, we settled for climbing the bell tower. The climb was just as high but the passageway was wider than the Duomo stairwell so I was happy about that. We were also caged in at the top which my inner fear of heights was thankful for.
Sunday night we went to Piazza Michelangelo for the best views Florence has to offer so that we could watch the sunset. After that we went to Acqua al Due for dinner which is all the rage in Florence guidebooks but a little pricey so Spinks and I hadn’t been yet. Apparently their famous for their blueberry steak so between the three of us we split that and the balsamic steak and then both the pasta and salad sampler. The food was good but I wasn’t as impressed as I felt I should have been for all the hype around it. It was my first steak since last summer and I think being a vegetarian for a semester significantly changed my appetite so that I don’t even crave it anymore. Weird.
After dinner we decided to hit the bars for Alexis’ last night in Florence. We met the craziest couple that were literally the definition of a sugar daddy and super sketchy. They might have been all talk but from what we gathered, she was 32 but had already had some work done to make her look permanently 29 while he was pushing 60. She was American but he was Guatemalan and had apparently “forgotten” to pay his taxes there last year so they’ve been gallivanting around Europe for the last couple of months since he is currently not allowed in his home country. The day before, they spent what they claimed was $100,000 on a shopping spree and over the course of two hours at the Spanish bar we were at (which was empty except for the our two South American friends from our program, the sketchy couple, two English blokes, and the three of us) they paid for multiple rounds of drinks for everyone. They were fun to talk to but I was glad they left when they did since they were leaving the next day for the next European destination.
We rounded off the night with a trip to the “secret bakery” for some freshly baked goodies and then went to bed for some much needed rest. I’ll need lots of sleep this week after that weekend and in preparation of our upcoming spring break to Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. Can’t wait!