Final Thoughts and Images From Italy

Trip Start Jan 19, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Friday, March 30, 2007

(S) I sit in my house in Riverton, WY, six months after returning from Europe and nine months since we lived in Florence, and the memories and images are still fresh in my mind. And I am homesick. For our little apartment in Florence, for the food, for the wine, for traveling.

There is no doubt in my mind - Firenze is an amazing city. We had the amazing privilege to simply live here for two months. People ask what we did and the answer is just that - live. We toured museums, churches, and castles, went on road trips, and went on walks around the city.

I also get asked how we dealt with the language barrier. Well, I spoke ZERO Italian before going. I knew basic words and colors. To tell the truth, I improved my vocab in the grocery stores - I would learn the names of food. Because, really, all I needed was to be able to order good things in restaurants. Oh ya, and buy bus tickets. I ran into some trouble buying art supplies one day downtown, but fumbled my way through it. The same when I was buying a backpack. I knew colors and size words, so that worked. I surprised both Chad and myself one day when I asked a waiter in a restaurant where the restroom was and then understood the directions. I always thought it was cliche when travel and guide books say if you are trying to speak their language, most people will appreciate it. Guess that's a pretty good lesson for all of us...

Friends also asked how we afforded to eat the food and drink the delicious wine. Well, we cooked at home every day, except for a very few exceptions. Godo, a small local trattoria near our house, became a favorite and probably some of the best food we had in Europe. But, mostly we cooked. And mostly we cooked pasta. We taught ourselves to make all sorts of sauces and soups and dressings. Our apartment had wireless, so we could look up recipes if the mood struck us. But, mostly we experimented.

Now for the wine. During our first week, we set a spending limit on wine - 2 Euros. Which would be less than $3.50 for a bottle of wine. And we rarely went over the limit. The exception was my prosecco or asti, which could be 4 Euros. Amazingly, there were hundreds of delicious bottles in our price range. There was only one slight taste mishap when Chad decided to buy a 5 gallon jug of some sort of Italian specialty for 3 Euros. It was NOT delicious. In fact, it tasted like vinegar. So he finished off about 2 gallons one night. Very similar to the absinthe incident in Salema, Portugal which you'll have to ask him about.

But, seriously, my memories of Italy are fresh, clear, and wonderful. The photos with this entry are random shots from the two months that don't fit in with specific entries, but fit in with the experience. I hope you enjoy them.
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