Picnic at Villa Borghese

Yesterday was pretty much amazing.

I slept in.  Had oatmeal for breakfast.

I know that sounds silly but I’ve been getting super tired of Italian food.  Anything tastes remotely like home makes me happy.  Although let me tell you, I’ve only been able to find quick cooking oats here.  Not as tasty as rolled oats or multi-grain hot cereal, but I’ll survive.

Then I met up with some friends for a picnic at Villa Borghese, which is a huge park (actually a garden) in Rome. On my way there, I finally got to take one of the little buses!

Most buses in Rome are normal sized buses, but there are a few that are really small and make me smile every time I see them.  So I finally rode one… But anyway, back to yesterday…

Let me just tell you.  The weather was perfect.  I wore a sleeveless dress with sandals. What could be better?

People trickled in throughout the afternoon.  Everyone brought food to share.

My contribution: PB&J.

The Canadian smiled; the Europeans and Africans weren’t that into it.   Basically most of them hated it haha.

We moved our picnic to follow the sun.

After I had had enough sunshine, I walked home which took a little over half an hour.  The street were ridiculously crowded!  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of it.

The rest of the night I proceeded to be a bum.

Sounds like a pretty great day to me!  Hanging out with friends in the sun was wonderful.  Say yes to Vitamin D!

Advertisements

Countdown to Ibiza: Day 18

Italy has over saturated me with food.  Don’t get me wrong, I love food.  But I can’t do this anymore.  Not only have I gotten a little softer than I would like, I’m just plain tired of eating.

So for the next few weeks, my blog will become a diet blog.

In 18 days, I’m going to Ibiza.

You know what that means?  Bathing suit.

For the next 18 days (and hopefully beyond), I’m stepping it up.

More healthy food and more exercise.  Less carbohydrates.

I can’t wait.

Tuscany

They didn’t lie.  Tuscany is beautiful.

This must be why everyone (or at least in the movies) has a midlife crisis and moves to Tuscany.

It might also have to do with the food.  This is probably the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life.

Pici, a hand made pasta, apparently is a Tuscan specialty.  So when we stopped in Pienza for lunch, I figured, why not?   After a delicious lunch, we found all the shops to be closed (as is normal in the middle of the day in Italy).  Sadly we could not get our hands on any of the Pecorino cheese that Pienza is so famous for.  Instead, we had a photoshoot with the great view:

Apparently, I can’t take a normal photo in Italy. Sooooo windy!

After our photoshoot, we headed to San Gimignano where it started to rain pretty soon after we got there.

Lovely medieval town, sadly not so lovely weather.  The next day, the weather was not much better.  The combination of no photos allowed inside museums and rain meant I didn’t take too many pictures.  Only a few at the top of a look out point and the tower.

Amazing view!

I feel like I need to go back to Tuscany when it’s sunny to enjoy the landscapes and out doors.  In the meantime, I’m back in Rome where the weather is warmer but still rainy.

I can’t wait for summer!  I want to wear a dress without tights under it, shoes other than boots and no more jackets!

In the meantime, I’ll survive, especially since I have a friend visiting tomorrow and another next week!

My First Time in an Italian Gym

After a desperate weekend of not feeling too great about myself, today I went and signed up for the gym.  I was so enthusiastic that after a reception where I stuffed my face with mini sandwiches, I made my way to the gym for my first work out in an Italian gym or palestra as they are called here.

I decided to start out slow after over a month of not exercising any more than simply walking.  So I did 25 minutes on a cardio machine that somewhat resembled an elliptical machine.

Now let me tell you a few things about Italian gyms, based on my first observation.

First off, you need to have a medical certificate to join.  Luckily, I could get one of those at work (they call it a medical certificate of fitness for non-competitive sports, makes me feel like weak sauce but alas I’m not competitive in sports.  So be it.).   It was sort of a waste of time.  The doctor asked me if there was anything wrong with me.  I said no and she promptly signed the form… One of the many markers of Italy’s inefficiency (not that the US isn’t either).

So with my medical certificate, I signed up.  The gym has a rule that you should bring shoes only to wear inside the gym.  I’m not sure how strict this rule is but on the first day, I figured I would follow the rules.

Shoes packed in a Zara bag, because I’m classy like that.

Then for storage… you need to bring a lock.  Italy is not like the US.  You can’t just go to Target and pick up a lock, a pair of socks, sunscreen and some peanut butter.  I had no idea where one goes to buy a lock in Rome.  Luckily, Cornell in Rome saved me and just gave me one to borrow.  They also mentioned I could have gone to a locksmith.  Who knew?

Case in point.  I now have a lock in my possession.  Hooray!

So after locking up my Zara bag that held the green flats I wore to walk to the gym, I jumped on the first familiar-ish looking machine in sight.  After fumbling with the buttons, I figured out how to enter all the information.  I was good to go.  From here, I realized three things:

  1. I am horribly out of shape.
  2. I forgot a towel.
  3. Italian men are ridiculous.

Let me elaborate on the third point.  Italians are really animated when they talk, which I appreciate.  The gesticulation carries on to the gym.  They’re also really obvious about certain things, like wearing short shorts and shamelessly checking out ladies.

I’m sure I’ll have some better observations when I made my way to the weight room tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

Cena di Domenica

Let me start by saying that this title might be grammatically incorrect.  Surprisingly, being in Italy has yielded little opportunity to learn Italian.  However, I might leave fluent in French.  Today I spent the majority of the day reading reports in French, who knew I still can read it… but google translate helps… On to Sunday… Domenica!

A new tradition has started.  Well, at least, I hope it’ll catch on.  Inspired by the Biscotti Queen and her family, the grad students and I have decided to start a Sunday Dinner tradition.

My roommate and I both love to cook.  So it sorta works out.  Plus, he’s Sicilian and doesn’t fool around.

Now this wasn’t your average Sunday Dinner.  It started around 3:00pm and ended around 8:00pm, and it was amazing.

It started with an unorthodox, antipasti.  Not meats.  Instead, cream puffs.

Nancy and I love sugar and she stopped at a bakery before arriving.  They were amazing! Some were filled with lemon cream and others with a chocolate cream.

To die for.  So while Nancy and I munched on cream puffs and waited for the others to arrive, Joe started making primo piatto.

Once Lis, Kyla and her friend Giuseppe arrived.  We were ready.

Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare

Delicious!

After some sitting and chatting, I made secondo piatto.  It ended up being some strange version of saltimbocca. Thinly pounded chicken breast, rolled with prosciutto and sage, cooked in a butter wine sauce.

Not bad.  For contorno, rosemary roasted potatoes.

 

Nancy and Lis both brought dessert.  However, I only remembered to photograph what Nancy brought (other than the cream puffs):

Some sort of delicious crostata! I was pleased.

After dessert and coffee, we were sufficiently full and basically ready for the night to be over.

Next time, I want to make primo and leave the meat making to someone who knows what he’s doing.

Roma, Roma, Roma

Apparently, soccer football is a big deal around these parts.  So when some fellow interns asked if I wanted to go to a soccer football game, I couldn’t say no.

Roma vs. Napoli

Sounded great!  Then I found out we were sitting in the “fan section” and I was overly worried, because everyone told me the Roma fans are CRAZYYYYYY.

 

In reality, it wasn’t bad.  Not nearly as much shoving and hooligan-ing as I imagined.  But that probably had to do with the fact that Roma lost and did not score once.  Boo.

But I had fun with some new friends, a new scarf and some Birra.

I promise I'm not actually drunk. This is just a bad (but the only) photo of me

 

For next time, I’ll make sure I’ve learned all the words to this song:

 

 

Florence

Florence was beautiful!

More beautiful than I remember it being.  I had been once before around 10th or 11th grade of high school with my parents, but only for a day.

This time, I had two days.  Even that wasn’t enough.

But here’s a rundown of the weekend.  We left Rome at 7:00am, after a three hour bus ride we made it to the Charterhouse right outside Florence.

All sorts of beautiful.  Then we headed into Florence (after accidentally leaving an undergrad locked in one of the rooms… oops… he made it to Florence in a taxi).

Then, first on the agenda was climbing up the dome of Il Duomo (the cathedral).

500 steps.  Not bad.

Machal, me and Nancy at the top!  We grad students stuck together 🙂

Fantastic view!

After the climb, we headed to the Galleria Degli Uffizi.  I couldn’t take pictures inside but there were amazing pieces of art.  I could take pictures from outside the window though.  This is from the Visari Corridor, which is on top of the Ponte Vecchio.

Gorgeous!

After the Uffizi, we basically had the night off.  First, we had coffee in a 19th century tea room with two professors!  Sadly, we couldn’t take pictures in there but it was beautiful and everything you would want out of a 19th century caffe and tea room.

Then, Nancy, Machal and I went back to the hotel to take a shower and figure out what to do for dinner.  Sadly, I forgot to take pictures of dinner so I’ll spare you those shannanigans and skip to Sunday.

In the morning, we had a tour of the city with a Professor from Syracuse University.

The clock and the train station was super cool:

One of the stops was an old train station that has been converted into a modern art museum.  One of the installations was a house made of bread:

Literally, Italian crusty bread…

Then later, we had some free time, so we headed to the Accademia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s David, among other things.

Again, no photos allowed.  After a quick lunch, we raced across town to go the the Ferragamo Museum.

I love shoes.  I thought it was pretty cool.  If only I could afford a pair of Ferragamo shoes.  After Ferragamo, we made our way to the Church of Santa Croce, where many great Italians are buried (i.e. Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli).

Michelangelo's Tomb

By the end of all this, my feet were killing me.  Standing in one place listening to explanations is killer on the feet.  But I will say it was totally worth it!

Now I’m back in Rome, hoping my internship can finally start now that all the paperwork is done!