Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our non traditional Thanksgiving

It started out rainy but the day recovered fast.  If you can enjoy a city in the rain you know you'd love it even more in nicer weather. First stop of the day...the Accademia to see Michaelangelo's Statue of David before tours rolled in.  Feels strange to take a family picture with a naked guy but it had to be done. By the way he looks good on the backside as well.

Our student friend from last night recommended Eduardo a Gelateria in the back right of the Duomo. We were their first customers of the day. They open at 11 but were in no hurry. Their gelato is organic and the best we've had I'd say. We all had white chocolate with a scoop of something else..chocolate or cinnamon.

Eat then work it off! Our Duomo bell tower tix we bought yesterday were good for 24 hours which is great as you can climb steps in both buildings and experience the evening and daytime views.

The Duomo climb is tougher and steeper in spots. During the climb you stop on two levels on the interior of the Duomo. The ceiling frescoes are amazing from near and far! This building is solid or I would have been more scared. Certain heights (usually ones where I can't hold on to anything) bother me so this was far out of my comfort zone but lots of self talk and womaning up for my kids worked for me. We climbed up breaking a full on sweat! Reached the top and witnessed the sun coming out! We snapped lots of pictures! Then on the descend we decided we could live here. Kids said their friends could visit them, Jason can put in for European transfer and I'm sure I could figure out how to give private tours in English....or sell selfie sticks or umbrellas.

Next up was the leather market near Lorenzo square. At first you feel like you are getting had but we got better at haggling. The boys bought wallets and Italian hats. Natalie and I bought handbags and a belt to share. Then we splurged big time on a leather jacket for Natalie (it's amazing on her and fits me too)...we got a great 'student price'. She'll have it forever we rationalized. Once Jason was numb to spending, I got a super nice leather tote for my laptop (dear Aarons...I may need a smaller laptop if my monstrosity HP doesn't fit in my new bag!). We are styling!  Walking our of the market I basically had to look down so I could stop the shopping madness!

We returned to Trattoria Mario (tried to go last night but only open for lunch) near Mercantale Centrale. It's a poplar place but we got a table (I keep wondering how crazy these places would be in summer and thankful for all we get to do without much wait).  You order the bistek florentine by the kilo so had to trust the waitress got the right amount for us. This was our big thanksgiving meal after all!  Roasted potatoes and wine too of course. They show you the meat before they cook it and don't ask you how to cook it- they know best. Chef Mario's hat had 'no coke with steak!' written in In English with sharpie. Jacob got worried but I said that was for adult Americans only.  Some parts of the steak were more amazing than others but we all enjoyed it and the ambiance.

Came back to hotel to stop bags and regroup.  Jason chatted with his mom to wish her Happy Thanksgiving!

Then we headed out to see and cross Ponte Vecchio. Tons of fancy shops on the way there way out of our budget...the bridge was covered in high end jewelry shops.

Time for dinner! We heard much about Gusto Pizza so we had to find out if it's the best pizza ever. It's definitely yummy and a great value. 5 euros for a mm fresh margherita pizza. They open only at lunch and then 3 hours at dinner. Again we were the first there at 7pm and there was a line behind us. Food Network's Guy Fieri had visited there and the man taking orders was so proud and showed us his pictures on his phone. Later the same guy drew Natalie a map when she inquired about his favorite Gelateria.

It was about a 15 min walk (we've walked 22,000 steps today! Over 10 mikes!). The gelato place calked Vivaldi was so cozy in the back with couches and free wifi so we Facetimed my mom to wish her Happy Thanksgiving!

Then we walked back to hotel. Things look to wind down much earlier in Florence.  Jason and I split a bottle of chianti while visiting with our travel cohorts Phil and daughter Morgan in the hotel bar.  The kids enjoyed the chatter as well- we've all become way more chill  in less than 7 days.  

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