Sunday, June 2, 2013

Italia: Day 4 - Florence Adventures [hiking, cooking, haggling]

{heads up and half-apology: this blog is way too long. but i didn't wanna split this day!}

Wednesday was our second and last full day in Florence. And we sure made the most of it!
Today at 10, we were taking a cooking class by a gourmet Italian chef!

Before our cooking class, we decided we were going to go shopping at the market. 
But then we got to the market, and turns out they weren't open yet.
So we made the spur of the moment decision to take our two hours and hike to the Piazzale Michelangelo.

[this is the street right by our b&b, but this is what a lot of streets looked like :)]

We of course started off the morning with two caffe lattes and pastries to go.
The whole 'to-go' thing is a totally American thing. And so is the whole 'coffee shop' thing.

Here's what Italians do. 
Find a coffee/espresso shop. 
Stand at the bar. Order {strong} espresso drink.
Drink said espresso drink {served in the equivalent of a Starbucks 'short' cup}.
Leave cup and continue on your way.

Fortunately {?} Americans frequent the city, so they are familiar with our concept of taking coffee and actually savoring the coffee. So they gave us two cute little paper cups. Carly actually fits in well. Turns out she drinks coffee in like three sips. I on the other hand, take forever to drink coffee. I like to enjoy it and make it last, I say. Turns out it was kinda difficult to carry and drink hot coffee while walking and reading a map, so we both ended up drinking it fairly quickly. It was sure tasty though!

Then we continued along through the heart of the city and across the Arno River and up the hill.

These stairs were at the end of a 20 minute hill. They went on forever.

But the view at the top was beyond worth it. God is so stinking awesome!! We were so excited because this morning we had the best weather of our entire trip, so we could actually see the whole city.

 I love my sister so much!

 I wanted to hike up just a little further to this beautiful little church. So I did. :)

And then I took a picture of Carly taking a picture. :)

It was about this time that we realized we better start walking back if we were gonna make it to our cooking class. I think it was like 9:15. And it takes like 45 minutes to get up here. So we started walking back. Such a fun morning and one of my favorite parts of Florence. Definitely.

 We were excited to find the apartment that my friend, Natalie Taylor, lived in back when she lived in Florence. {because you know, it's the cool thing to do :)}
We walked back along the river and then took a different bridge across to try to see some new things.

like these cute shutter windows and rooftop terraces on so many of their buildings,
and the Uffizi Gallery. This is as close as we got. But I was glad we at least saw it!
and these pretty horses. We were so bummed we didn't have a chance to take the horse-drawn carriage!

Oh... I forgot to mention I forgot my phone in our room. {of course I forgot something} Which I had to have to take pictures at our cooking class. So by this point we are practically running back to get it. Carly is not happy with me. It is like 9:45 and I'm saying "oh we'll make it! don't worry" ... knowing full well we are totally gonna be late but I needed my phone! So we run back, I find it, and we head back to the center of town. We arrived five minutes late, and I was pretty impressed with us! Besides, we're on vacation! What is time! Carly didn't really feel that way, and neither did Chef Giovanni.

And so begins the story of the cooking class. Da Da Da.

 So we walk up to the place where we were meeting and the chef is ticked. I am of course oblivious to this. Carly is all quiet and knows he's mad we were late for his class. As soon as we got there, we all started walking {like 20 of us... oops! ah well, we paid for the thing.} to the central market to get food and have a little food tasting. Awesome food tasting! But on the way, Chef Giovanni takes off into some random hotel. So now Chef Davide is leading us. So Carly goes and buddies up to him in the front of the line and they bond while I'm chatting with my new Canadian friend. 

A couple pictures of our tasting in the market...
 cutest and yummiest mini apple juice I got!

After about 1-2 hours, we head to the cooking school with our supplies to cook with. Here, we meet up with Chef Giovanni. So he's really quiet, just says "put your stuff down and pick a spot around the table. Wash your hands." We follow directions and then pull up spots around the cooking table. Well turns out Carly picked Chef Giovanni's spot. So Davide whispers to her, umm thats for the chef, slide over. So Carly ends up next to Giovanni. 

Long story short [because I'll lose all three of my followers if I went through every detail of it]... it started really rough. We were both like, what the heck is his deal! We paid for this class and he's all mad at us! Carly took the role of class clown/smarty pants and talked right back to him. And this is how the first 30-60 minutes went.. awkward exchanges of conversation and Carly slowly loosening up the class and making people laugh. And pretty soon, Chef Giovanni and Carly are best buddies, he's in his element cooking {and he is SO good at it!}, we make some amazing food, and Carly wins "worst chef" award, which actually means "best chef." It ended up being a totally memorable six hours and we made the best food I've ever eaten. Just goes to show you can't judge a book by it's cover. :)

My instagram posts tell the story the best. 

We made tiramisu [notice top left photo... this was Carly mad at Giovanni after he gave her a hard time about whipping the eggs and some other things]... 

homemade pasta (tagliatelle, ribollita, and ravioli)...

bolognese sauce and butter and green sage sauce... 

and bruschetta.

Our finished dishes!

Award time! He ended up liking me, not because I can cook [because he said I wasn't very good at it] because I'm a NICU nurse [which he said he betted I was great at]. He just had a baby. We bonded. :)

He liked Carly because she's a good cook, she's hilarious and she gave him a taste of his own medicine. He told her at the end when it was just us, 'this class would have been so boring without you. I'm so glad you were here!' And she got her "worst student" personalization note.

Our awards! Unfortunately, I left them somewhere in Florence. 
Still a sore subject with my sister. 
So this is our memory. :)

After our class/meal ended, it was like 4pm. We did quite a bit of shopping/haggling [which initially drove Carly crazy until she jumped on board and started haggling with me!] and I bought a lovely orange suitcase to bring our extra goods home in. Can't miss me!

Wednesday was a fun day. We both got to be ourselves and felt like we were finally getting the hang of Florence. We walked the streets at night like pros and had a ton of fun. I'm telling stories that aren't super flowery and sweet because they are funny and give a great picture of the reality of our trip. But really, we made such great memories. And the best part was, we were together!!

1 comment:

  1. We gotta make our Italian dinner for people! I dont know how you remembered the names of everything we made! Im craving some brus-Ketta! ;)