Trip Start Jan 08, 2013
Trip End May 05, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Friday, February 8, 2013

Today I took a field trip for my History and Culture of Food glass. We had to be at the train station at 7am, which is the earliest I've been up this whole trip. Amy woke up at precisely 6:45, shoved an entire box of Cheerios in her purse, and we were out the door. We met our class of 23 and got on the smallest coach bus that I have ever seen. Not a surprise though considering the other cars we see around Italy. Our professor told us all to go to sleep on the way because we look a wreck, so that's what I did. One tip for surviving traveling every weekend... Learn to sleep on all forms of transportation! This is a must. I even bring my travel pillow sometimes. Definitely worth it.

When we arrived in Livorno it was beautiful and sunny. Our bus took us right to this patio that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. The water was much more blue than I had expected, but it didn't even smell like salt! Professor Peter said that it is not actually the salt that makes our oceans smell, but something else in the water. We hung out by the sea for a little bit, and then we went to meek our tour guide, Ursula, who would show us around Livorno.

The fisherman normally head out after dinner, and they fish in the middle of the night because that is when they get the biggest fish. After about two hours of work, they come back into the port and bring the fish to the auction where each type of fish was by my the sellers. The auction takes place between 4am and 7am daily. The fish is weighed and a price is put up on the board. The price continuously decreases until a buyer pressed their button and buys the fish at that price. It is basically the reverse of the silent auctions that we do in America. They had stadium seating where all of the buyers sit and get what they need. Sometimes I feel like living in Italy is sort of like living in the olden days where everything is more primitive, but in a good way.

After the auction, we followed the fish to the fish market where it would all be sold throughout the day. They had buckets of fish everywhere. I thought they were all dead, until one of the fisherman showed us that more than we think are still alive! Some customers ask to see if they are still alive because it shows that the fish are in fact very very fresh. You could see the fishes gills moving in and out, and occasionally they would flop around. It was like nothing I have even seen before.

Finally we made out way to the restaurant where we sat down for an excellent meal. The tables all had white linens, wine classes, and a lot of pretty silverware. It was apparent that we were in one of the nicest restaurants in town, Livorno is know for its Cacciucco, which is seafood stew. The catch is that the seafood is whole, bones and heads still in tact. I usually am not a picky eater, so I figured I might as well give it a try. We ate octopus legs, with the suction things, a whole fish with the head, some mussels, some shrimp things with shells and tails. It was surprisingly quite delicious. The broth was very spicy and flavorful and it went well with the fish.. I probably wouldn't order it again, but it was a great experience.
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