Continued from: Let’s Rendezvous in Italia, si? (Italy Part 1)
A Quick Stop in Pisa
Being in Pisa we thought that it would be crazy not to make a quick stop to see the famous leaning tower. So after snapping a few predictable holding up/leaning against the tower photos, we jumped in another taxi and arrived at the train station just in time to catch our train heading back to Florence.
Our time with Richelle and Eric was wonderful but also quite tiring. We had many late nights drinking wine and catching up and so by this time I was beyond tired… and beyond grumpy. Poor Bryce. I was able to sleep a bit on the train and once we arrived in Florence and grabbed a quick bite to eat I started to feel much more human. We spent the morning wandering the streets and checking out Mercato Centrale, which is a huge food market full of cheeses, meats, spices, pasta, fruits and vegetables. We also came across an outdoor market full of different leather vendors selling jackets, belts, bags, purses, wallets… basically if you can think of something that could be made out of leather it was there.
After flat-bread sandwiches for lunch at a place called Bondi and a quick gelato stop, Bryce suggested seeing some Florentine art what with us being in Florence all. I was excited about crossing Michelangelo’s David off the list so we headed to the Galleria dell’Accademia. Now some art I can take or leave… I mean don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate good art, but sometimes there are pieces that I’m not sure what all the hype is about. The David, was not one of them. Standing tall and with so much detail it’s hard to believe that this was a sculpture completely made of marble. It was really quite incredible and we spent most of our time in the Galleria dell’ Accademia in awe taking photos with Dave.
For dinner we headed to da El Latini, for some “real Florentine food”, and quickly found ourselves in a huge lineup waiting to get in. From our experience traveling a big lineup is usually a good sign that the food is well worth the wait, however (unfortunately) in this case, the restaurant was definitely not worth the 40 minute wait to get in. We were brought into the restaurant and seated very quickly and we soon realized that this was one of those very touristy, quick turnaround restaurants… meaning that you are seated in a hurry and your waiter, while general friendly, doesn’t really care about your overall experience, takes your order without a smile, brings you your food and then ignores you until your meal is over. I had decided that one glass of wine with dinner was all that my body could handle as it needed to recuperate from all of our wine drinking with Richelle and Eric so we sat down, ordered a glass of wine each and some ravioli to start.
Then our waiter did the weirdest thing: he brought us a bottle of wine, opened it and left it on the table for us to pour. Bryce and I confused, and assuming something got lost in translation, flagged down our waiter to reiterate that we had just wanted one glass of wine each and not a bottle. Then talking to us as if we are idiots he says “yes, we charge you by the glass…” and walked away. Sooooo basically you opened a whole bottle just for us and we are now left to pour our own glass? How big is one glass? Can I fill it to the rim and still be charged for one glass? Do you charge by the amount that’s left in the bottle? Who drinks the rest of the bottle if we don’t? Is it just thrown out?! Worse yet, is it… recycled? Are they gambling on the fact that after one glass we will just decide to finish it off because it is conveniently sitting right in front of us? None of these questions were answered… so we poured our “glass” of wine each and hoped that we would just be charged for a glass.
After not too long a couple, I’m guessing in their late 50’s, from Boston were seated beside us. They had been to the restaurant the night before and had loved it so much they were back for more. The man soon befriended us, much to the embarrassment of his wife, and suddenly we were a table for four. I would say the food was okay but not life changing however if you are looking for a place that will give you more meat on a plate than you could ever imagine, this place is for you. To put it in perspective, Bryce and I ordered one piece of roast beef for both of us and when we were done there was STILL meat left on the plate. Our new friends soon became a little tipsy, as apparently the wine bottle on the table trick had worked on them, and our relationship was suddenly taken to a whole new level when it was discovered that Bryce and their son shared the same name. He was sure that this was fate telling him to call and talk to his son. His mind was seriously blown and 20 minutes later he was still in shock by the coincidence. We spent the whole dinner chatting and by the end of our meal we had a place to stay at next time we were in Boston.
Before leaving Florence we made sure to take another stroll by the Duomo, walk down to take in Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence, and grab a cute charm of the Duomo for my charm bracelet. And then we headed off to our last stop, Roma!
Continued in: Roma! (Italy Part 3)