Apple Mush

At first it was sorta funny and ironic.  Of course I get sick the day I decide to go on a diet.

But today is day 5 of feeling like death.  I’ll spare you the details of my unfortunate symptoms.  Let’s just say I’m tired of it.

Yesterday, I ate two slices of plain toast, a kiwi, and two bottles of powerade.

Today, I made apple mush.  Apple mush is the weak/lazy lady’s version of apple sauce.

I chopped up two apples (with peel, because I have no energy to peel apples), sliced 1 banana and put them in a small pot, sprinkled them with a dash of cinnamon and added 1/2 cup of water.  Then I let it simmer for 25 minutes.  I mixed it around and broke up the pieces a bit and called it apple mush.

My body hasn’t rejected it yet, but I’m reluctant to even write that.

Hopefully these bottles of gatorade/powerade will help.  Italy has strange flavors…

Green Mango?  It just tasted really sweet, not really like mango.

Arancia Rossa is Blood Orange.  Tastes like a stronger orange flavor. Maybe more like real orange than the regular orange gatorade?

It’s been 5 days of illness now.  Cross your fingers that I’ll be better by tomorrow.  I’m tired of my apartment.  I need some human interaction.

The Time We Climbed 1 Million Steps…

Remember that time that decided to take a vacation. We walked, bused, trained, bused again and finally made our way to Amalfi, because let’s be honest, Rome is fantastic but the Amalfi coast is pretty much amazing.

First stop was our hotel.  L’Antico Convitto. 

Then it was time to venture out.  We walked about 200 meters to the Duomo, the main cathedral.

Our vacation ambitions somehow convinced us to shell out 3 Euro to take a tour of the Cloister, Catacombs and Cathedral.

Lovely!   Then of course, we fed ourselves, because Sara’s main goal on her trip to Italy was to gain 10 lbs.

Challenge accepted.

 

For lunch, pizza and gelato on the steps of the Duomo.

After there was no more food to eat (for now), we wandered, because really that’s what we’re good at and that’s what there is to do on the Amalfi coast.   There’s one main street in Amalfi.  We walked up and down it probably 20 times.  After we window shopped enough, we decided to wander through the neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods are not what you would imagine.  First off, Amalfi is built into the side of a mountain.  So the streets are made of tiny corridors full of many, many, many stairs.

After getting lost a few times, we referred to the map to try to get to the neighboring little town, Atrani.  After an hour of stairs, twists, turns, amazing views and a few more stairs, we made it.

Atrani was tiny.  We saw a main square, a bar, some people going to church, a restaurant, and two fisherman.  Then we turned around and headed back to Amalfi.  This time, we walked along the side of the road.  It took about 15 minutes to get back, compared to an hour and a half to get there… Stair free.

A few hours later, our friend Lis joined us!  By this time it was about 10 pm.  Most things were closed but luckily the restaurant we had scoped out in one of the random alleys off the main street was still open.  We then proceeded to have the best meal EVER.

Mussels with lemon and pepper.

Pasta with tomatoes and mussels

Grilled Calamari

Arancini (Risotto balls)

 

Then we proceeded to pass out in a food coma.

Life is good in Italy.

Friends Visiting

I’ve pretty much had the best week ever. As much as I love Rome, it can definitely get lonely.  But this week has been full of friends!

My friend, Ali, visited.  Sadly, while I went to work she wandered around with her brother for a few days.  But we did get a chance to see some sites together!

 

And last weekend, we headed to Napoli and made a side trip to Pompeii.

I had been before, but it was super fun the second time around.

 

Then we went back to Napoli for one reason: Pizza.  Obviously. Because I’m obsessed with food…

Somehow we ended up in the Eat, Pray, Love pizza shop, completely unintentionally.

And yes, we each ate an entire pizza.

 

It was amazing, except they only offered two kinds of pizza: Margherita and without cheese.  Although I discovered a pizza place in Rome that I like more.

Then sadly Ali had to leave, but they day she left, Biscotti Queen (Sara) arrived!

Tomorrow we’re headed to the Amalfi coast!  Stay tuned for our adventures!

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!

The Most Disgusting Pizza I’ve Ever Had

Who knew there could be terrible pizza in Italy.  But trust me.  There is.  I witnessed it tonight.

I’m going to blame all this on the fact that I don’t speak enough Italian to ask “what is on this pizza?”

I saw artichokes and thought hmmm that looks delicious.  I’ll have that one.

Upon arriving home with my pretty little piece of pizza slices wrapped in paper,

I took one bite to find that the topping was something fishy.

Like some sort of tuna salad with mayo (but fishier), slathered on top of a perfectly good pizza base.

I couldn’t even eat it.  I even tried scraping off all the topping but that fishiness was all up in there good.  Into the trash it went.

I feel ill.

This must be God telling me that I shouldn’t be eating pizza during the week.

I should have stuck with the canned soup I originally intended to have.

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.

A Lesson in Nutella

Being in Italy, does not give me license to eat Nutella like it’s going out of style.

I ate this jar in about 5 days.

The entire container was 200g.  Each serving is 15g, meaning there were about 13.3 servings in this little glass container.  That would mean I ate a little less than 3 servings per day.

While that’s not terrible, let’s not forget the first two ingredients: zucchero e olio vegetale.

Translation: sugar and vegetable oil.

Transitive Property: No more Nutella for me.

For now 🙂

Anyone else go crazy for Nutella?

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!