Tag Archives: evening

Italy travelogue, part XIV

Started some packing last night. I’m pleased, and grateful, for how  much my new luggage holds. Bought it just before the trip as my old luggage was  really showing the wear.
Must finish this morning, and will try to fit in some yoga. But if  I can’t, I’ll do some this evening at our Tuscan villa.
We walked over to the piazza. Our favorite trattoria was packed, as  was our second favorite. So we settled in on the third one–more a restaurant.  The clarinet guy was back for a short session. He must just go from piazza to  piazza.
I ordered a soup you could eat with a fork–and indeed Jason  sampled it with one. Thick bread and tomato soup. Delicious. I think I could  make this one at home if and when the mood strikes. A little pasta split with  Kat, and some steak strips–most of which I brought back and we’ll have as snack  food at the villa.
All delicious.
BW got pasta with crab–and it comes with a tool to crack them. Our  Kat, and we aren’t surprised she’s an expert crab picker–did the honors for  him.
At the table behind us, a dog–I think a Lab/Retriever mix as he  looked like a smaller version of our Homer–lays beside the table and behaves  well throughout the meal.
Our last day proves to be a long, adventurous one, full of new  sights. We’ve had a wonderful time here, in what I consider the most beautiful  city in the world. Today we’ll say ciao, and see what we find in the  countryside.

Italy travelogue, part XII

I went out for about an hour solo. The early evening light was so  beautiful, and the piazza less crowded. Many dogs out. I watched a woman kick an  empty plastic water bottle for her leashed German Shepherd. He’d leap after it,  fetch enthusiastically to his own delight, and the delight of several  children.
Wandered into a jewelry store. It’s almost a crime not to buy gold  in Florence, and I do love jewelry. Lots of pretty, pretty things. I’m very  attracted to a wide, white gold bracelet. A tight mesh band, and a lovely,  glittery central clip. But it’s far too big for my skinny wrist.
Fun to wander around looking, though–and the clerk who helped me  (a Brit who’s lived here for years) shows me more pretty things. No, no,  no–like the jacket it has to jump out and say: Nora, I’m yours!
And a gorgeous ring does. A wide white gold band, Florentine-made.  A delicate filigree with thin bands of yellow gold framing it and a small  central sapphire. I love it–and it fits!! So it’s obviously mine. 
Delighted, I wander out, and find a pretty, breezy dress at a  stall. One size, I’m told–which I hope accounts for the American ass. But at  the price if it doesn’t fit me, it’ll fit someone I know and  love.
When I get back, Kat is arranging all the bags and belts purchased  for a little photo shoot. LOL. I knew she’d figure out how to best display them,  using her artist’s eye. Between her and BW we have a great  picture.
Photos by Bruce Wilder
Photos by Bruce Wilder
It’s off to dinner, and we go back to our first and favorite  trattoria. Pasta, salad, wine, all so good as night slowly slides in, and the  light changes. Santa Croce is so stunning against the bold blue of the day sky,  but even more beautiful against the deep purple of night.
All through the meal, we’re serenaded by a musician who sings,  plays the guitar–occasionally the harmonica. He mostly covers American or Brit  ballads–the Stone’s Angie, Lauper’s Time After Time, Simon and Garfunkle, The  Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc. He’s got a Dan Fogleburg vibe to him. A lovely tenor.  He gets applause from people in and around the square, and plays throughout our  very leisurely meal, about three hours.
We bought his CD–and I think he sold many. I hope it was as good  an evening for him as it was for us.
This morning I think I’ll do a ballet-inspired workout DVD for its  cardio, core and leg work. Not sure what we’ll do today, our last here in  Florence, but it has to include packing (all those bags!!) for our departure to  the Tuscan countryside tomorrow. Also think I need a couple more scarves as  back-up gifts–and Kat realized out of ALL the bags, she bought not one for  herself. That must be remedied.

Italy travelogue, part X

We continue to have the most glorious weather. A balmy evening,  perfect for outdoor dining. After some debate, we return to the little trattoria  where we ate last night. Pots of sage on the table for us  tonight.
A long, leisurely meal, sitting elbow to elbow with a young couple.  Not American, not Brit, but the common language with the waiter seems to be  English. They’re both tall and blond and pretty, so I wonder Scandinavian maybe.  I should’ve just asked them. They get some gorgeous cheese plate to share,  served on a stand like pizza.
A guy comes by, sets up and plays the clarinet for awhile. He has  some backpack deal that adds other instruments to his. I expect he goes from trattoria to trattoria picking up coins as he goes.
We’re too full for dessert, but the waiter brings out a  bottle–obviously from the frost out of the freezer. Tiny glasses. It’s STRONG  and interesting, and Jason points out it tastes a bit like Nyquil. And it does!  LOL. We find out it’s made from herbs, so maybe that counts for the medicinal  taste. But we manage to drink it–it’s pretty good Nyquil. And it may account  for the excellent night’s sleep.
Going to take it easy today–that’s the plan that’s not a plan.  Plus I believe lots of places will be closed today to honor the BVM’s  Assumption.
I think I’ll do the full 75 minute Yoga flow with Zirka Landwitt–a  favorite and an excellent stretch for body, mind and soul after the 12,000 steps  (five miles!) of walking yesterday.

Italy travelogue, part VIII

Lovely evening–it gets repetitive, but there it is. Tried a new  trattoria, and weren’t disappointed. I liked the charm of pots of rosemary and  thyme on the table. And the spicy tomato sauce for my penne. A pretty insalada  mista, and since the desserts were so tempting, we all indulged. Much happiness  all around the table. Walked to the nearby market for more water, and my cold  caffeine.
This morning I finally saw the little green parakeet in the cage  through the apartment window across the narrow street. He seems very happy in  his situation. I’ve only seen the human occupants twice. Once at night as the  couple sat together watching TV, and once when the woman shook a colorful rug  out the window.
This morning it was a sweaty session of pilates with some  resistance since I’ve only been lifting shopping bags, or a fork. That should  set me up for the day. It was interesting doing so much on my back mat work  looking up at the painted ceiling. The centerpiece is a young angel holding a  long tassel. He’s smiling. I don’t know if he was amused by my workout or  approving of the effort.
We’re off to see the David this afternoon, but I’m after some  walking beforehand due to all that fork lifting.
Another pretty blue sky today, and the light coming through the  windows is bright and vivid. It shines on the yellow stucco and dark green  shutters of the building next door.

Italy travelogue, part VI

Everyone needed to recharge with looooong naps. I never nap, so the  fact I went out for two hours means the walking, walking, walking of the last  couple of days earned one.
We polished off the recharge with room service. Just perfect. 
Added more recharging this morning with yoga to work out all the  kinks and power up.
We have the windows open. I just heard what had to be a big family  walk by–chattering in Italian, over and across each other. Then someone  strolling by whistling a happy tune.
Today’s main goal is the Uffizi this afternoon, so I expect we’ll  get a late start out of here this morning. Main shopping goal for me is to find  something for Kayla and McKenna as I’ve covered the rest of the grandkids. 
It’s a very fortunate thing I left lots of room in one of my  suitcases for purchases. But most have been gifts. Well, except for two pairs of  sandals, two handbags and a scarf for me. But what can you do? But it’s pretty  great to have whacked down my Christmas list so well in August.
BW’s heading to breakfast, my signal to hit the shower. And hope it  doesn’t hit back.

Italy travelogue, part IV

Nora and family are in Italy for two weeks and she’s sharing the experience with us all.  Sit back and enjoy!
Another gorgeous evening, so warm and breezy. After a long day of  walking–12,000 steps by the end of it according to Kat’s fit bit–the little trattoria nearby is perfect. I’ve got a hankering for Florentine steak, but know  I can’t fit an entire T-Bone in. But they have a smaller deal–steak strips done  in a balsamic sauce with rosemary–and rosemary roasted potatoes.
What an inspired choice, even if I couldn’t eat all of it. The  potatoes taste exactly like the ones I often do at home, which is pretty damn  good if I do say so myself, but the steak! I don’t think we could duplicate it.  Just marvelous.
And we splurge on a bottle of Barolo. Absolutely  gorgeous.
There are shooting stars the next three night, but the sky over the city, at least, was too overcast. I make due once we’re back with a little  sky/people watch from our little balcony. People come and go, come and go, and  near midnight I see an old man shuffling along with a shopping bag and a  briefcase. I wonder what work he does that brings him home so late. He slowly,  slowly, lets himself into the outside door of the apartments across the street.  Fatigue is in every movement.
I hope he got as good a night’s sleep as I did.
Up late for me–vacation!!!–and start my day off with a mix of  pilates/yoga/ballet moves courtesy of one of my Jennifer Kries DVDs. BW’s down  at breakfast, so I’ll clean myself up and get ready for the day.
We’re going to visit a nearby museum and its exhibit of Renaissance  art, and I want to go back to the lady and her shop with the many pretty bags.  We have reservations for the fast track through the lines of the Uffizi tomorrow, and will do the same for The Academie later this week. We hope to get  ourselves up and out early one day for The Duomo, as our marvelous concierge  recommends. Then there’s the can’t miss Pitti Palace. Lots to see and do! 
It looks like another perfect blue sky to explore under  today.

Italy travelogue, part II

Nora, her husband Bruce, son Jason and daughter-in-law Kat are in Italy for two weeks and she’s sharing the experience with us all.  So sit back and enjoy!

We enjoyed a bella notte at a trattoria in the piazza near the  hotel. Gorgeous warm evening, cheerful outdoor seating. The piazza’s busy still,  and three young boys hover around a bench sketching the big church. Future Da  Vincis perhaps.

Our waiter’s adorable, the food’s fabulous, the wine very nice.  Though Kat and I agree our lunch wine was better. It’s a friendly, happy place,  and so close I imagine we’ll go back again.
The surrounding buildings are so interesting. Old, in those  sun-baked colors, rammed against each other, but in varying levels. All the  apartments over the shops are dark, and I wonder if all the tenants are on their  August holiday.
We stop into the little market across from the hotel for sodas. I  must have my morning caffeine.
Back home for a really, really good night’s sleep. Before I drift  off I hear voices–happy ones–calling out in Italian from the street  below.
Woke up to pretty sunlight, and decided to start my day off right  with power yoga courtesy of Rodney Yee. Felt just right. BW gets up, showers,  heads down to breakfast.
The selection knob in the big shower isn’t working. Won’t switch  off wand, so until we report and they fix, we use the smaller shower. I go in  while he’s down at breakfast. Adjusting the water temp, and bam! the entire  shower head, pipe included falls out of the wall and clunks me in the head! It’s  a bit disconcerting. LOL. So I end up taking a wand shower after all. And we’ll report this latest plumbing problem, maybe they’ll use this event to finally install that water softener.
We’ll head out soon, I expect to whatever destinations we decide  on. There’s a perfect blue sky out there.