Adrian, Andrea and Angela!!!
So today will be our excursion to the Chianti region, but before we do that we want to buy a picnic at the Cenral Market and have the picnic at the Boboli gardens. First, thing first, breakfast. This hotel had our best breakfast yet, so I was very excited to chow down (on bread, fruit and...boiled eggs - Yes!). The breakfast host is named Andrea, which I find funny, because my sister that didn't make this trip is named Andrea. I insisted he take a picture with us so that I could name it Adrian, Andrea and Angela. Andrea was excellent at his job. He really made it seem like his only goal was to make our breakfast as enjoyable as possible. He also made hearts in the cappuccino...and would say "here, I give you my heart.
Andrea at the hotel gave us his heart each morning!
"...and then when you stirred it he would stop by and say "Oh, you break my heart." Funny! Anyway, after breakfast we head out to find this central market...and "find" is a stretch, because it is actually right behind our hotel. One step in this place and I new our picnic lunch would be vegetarian. The odors from raw meat and fish are overwhelming and leave me one step from retching. However, I found this to be one of the most entertaining places in Florence
. Talk about getting a glimpse of real life. This market sells everything, and this includes every meat known to man, and some unknown to American man. I'm sure the butchers were annoyed with us pointing to things and saying "What's that?" - "cow tongue" "What's that?" - " a skinned rabbit" "What's that?" - "cow balls.
Standing on the ponte vecchio
" So-on and so forth. And this meat looked fresh, like dripping with blood. If I didn't know any better I would say these animals were alive behind a closed door, butchered and brought to the display case. And I only know better because I didn't hear any animals being killed and one would think that slaughtering would be a noisy process (actually I think I learned that from Silence of the Lambs). But I digress, What I found interesting is that the chickens looked like chickens. They didn't get the loving attention the cows got. They just killed them and set them out. They had their heads and feet and eyeballs and just looked like hairless chickens sleeping in an uncomfortable position. I actually think this is how meat should look when you buy it.
After a picnic on the hot concrete
We, in the US, at our groceries stores can see our meat as not really from an animal. At this market...there is no doubt what you are getting and eating. We even saw what looked to be cow face. Can you eat this? Would you want to eat this? I suppose if you are going to eat cow testicles, why stop there? Anyway, after seeing all this meat I decided Italy must have an awful lot of cows. I mean everyone wants Italian leather goods and this market could definitely attest to beef being plentiful, but yet where are these cows? Maybe we will see them on our trip to Tuscany. Speaking of our trip, we must get to Boboli Gardens. We make our way towards it (slowly, stopping here and there). There are no straight shots in this place and these damn scooters are everywhere making me nervous and we make wrong turn after wrong turn and show up at Boboli Gardens well after our anticipated arrival time. We decide 10 Euros is a lot for the 30 minutes or so we now have, so we plop right down outside the palace and eat our lunch. I was disappointed about the gardens, but 30 minutes from now I would hate them. Anyway, we eat our lunch, and grab a yummy gelato combo of green apple and caramel, and head out in the direction we hope will take us to the train station. On our way we run into the young couple from dinner last night...wow, small world. Anyway, we walk and walk looking for a left turn to take, but no those damn gardens go on forever and we can't turn. Finally, we ask someone for directions and he says we need to go all the way back past the palace so we can cross the ponte vecchio bridge. Perfect! Our bus leaves at 2:15 and it is 1:49, so we haul ass! We show up at about 2:10 and claim our seats. Breathe!