August 1, 2006

Gelati, originally uploaded by elskermeg.

During our trip to Rome, Florence, Siena and Venice, we had the opportunity to sample many, many, many types of gelato. The combination of the miserable heat and abundance of gelato shops meant that we averaged 2 to 3 “gelato breaks” a day. At some point during the trip, I decided to start taking photographs in an attempt to document our favorite flavor combinations. The winner out of this set was the chocolate and coconut (far right). Some of the other combinations to be seen in this collage are (left to right): apricot /rice pudding, blueberry/yogurt, and chocolate/pistachio (pistachio is always a good bet in Sicily but the bright green color of this one means that they probably added artificial color and flavor). The key to finding good gelato when traveling is to look for a sign that says “produzione propria,” meaning it’s made on the premises.

img_6380-1.JPGAlthough the gelato in Florence is supposed to be the best, I’ve found that the gelato in Sicily is just as good and in many cases better than the gelato up north (like many things here). One exception was the gelato we had at Vivoli in Florence. It might be overrated (all the guidbooks point tourists there), but the rice-flavored (riso) gelato that we all tried was an experience I’ll never forget! If you love rice pudding, this is the gelato for you! If not, stay away from it because it is actually filled with grains of rice, just like the pudding. It took a minute to get past the strange texture of frozen, cooked rice but once I did, I enjoyed it more than any other we tasted. I tried the riso with fragola (strawberry) at the suggestion of the woman behind the counter. It was good but I wish I had stuck with a full cup of riso (they don’t offer cones at Vivoli). I did see some “riso” flavored gelato when we were in Siena (top photo, far left) but it didn’t have rice in it and the flavor was horrible.




July 19, 2006

Some Canal in Venezia, originally uploaded by elskermeg.

All I can say is that if you have never visited Venice, GO NOW!! If you only have a chance to visit one city in Italy, go to Venice. There is so much to see in this country but I don’t think there is anything that compares to Venice anywhere in the world. We were only there for one night and I would trade all of the rest of our trip (Rome, Florence, Siena) for just one more day in Venice.

So, we’re back home now. After a 22 hour train ride from Venice to Catania (No, it was not supposed to take that long!!), we were very happy to come back here and sleep in a real bed. I’m not sure what’s better about traveling, the excitement of starting on an adventure or the relief of coming home to your own bed and shower!

We had a great trip but the middle of summer is the worst time to be traveling through Italy. I’m glad that Penny and Robert were able to see everything but if they hadn’t come to visit, there is no way I would have been wandering through Rome and Florence in July, suffering in the miserable heat and humidity.

We didn’t have too many problems traveling by train although there were a few surprises when it came to our accomadations. The shower in the middle of our room in Rome (minus the bathroom to go around it) was one of them. Apparently private bath does not always include a toilet or the four walls and a door that normally accompany it. It wouldn’t have been a problem if I weren’t sharing a room with my brother-in-law.

And then there was our apartment in Venice that happened to be located in the attic and the ceilings were so low we couldn’t actually stand up straight when we moved around. The stairs to get up to our little hobbit room were more like a ladder and we got to wave to our landlord and his family every time we came and went as we traipsed through their living room. But 115 euros a night doesn’t get you much in Venice! We were in a great little neighborhood and we had A/C so I was more amused than upset at the whole “not being able to stand up straight in our room” thing.

I haven’t organized most of the photos from our trip yet but I’ll be posting more soon. School will be keeping me pretty busy for the next couple of weeks so these posts are still going to be sporadic.

Campioni del Mondo!

July 10, 2006

Campioni del Mondo!, originally uploaded by elskermeg.

We arrived in Rome yesterday and watched the city explode when Italy won the final game against France. It was like nothing we’ve ever seen before! You can see more of these photos here.