So I woke up at around 9:45 and snook out of my room to do a per, I didn’t want to wake anyone up. I started looking at things I could do in Florence without spending a heap load of money, we’re probably going to go to the Satue of David, and I’m also quite attracted to the idea of going to one of the markets and buying some souvenirs for my family. I also need to buy some postcards because dad sent me an email telling me he’d like one. I should probably get one for everyone…
Lizzy came in presented me with at about 10:15ish. You know it’s a good household when they give you a dog in the mornings. Me and Lada (dogs name, I think it’s Russian?) sat staring at each other, she cleaned my hands for me and I fussed the little ball of fluff. She seems to like me more this morning, she wasn’t contemplating suicide by wanting leap off the 2 foot high bed. I then got given yoghurt and a mug of tea. Woman knows how to get into my heart.
We’re now sitting here with Lada tottering round my bed with her tiny little toe beans, me writing this blog and Lossy doing homework because she decided to skip school today. I’m a great influence! I think we’re going food shopping later so that Natalie can stuff me full of more food, bless her little cotton socks~
We went out at 12ish to walk around Florence, it started with a walk along a large river with a load of rivers, it was gorgeous, but Lizzy soon started to play on her phone occasionally. We carried on walking until wee started to reach the centre of town. It was about 12 degrees Celsius and I was getting warm, it is basically British summer at this temperature, so I removed my jacket. If I had had somewhere to put my scarf I would have removed that as well. Lizzy was still bundled up in jackets and scarves so I was feeling very much a tourist. Once we reached the centre and the market stalls went up I began to feel better at the sight of other foreigners wearing no jackets. I began taking lots of photos, it truly is a beautiful city, Lizzy began playing on her phone again. I asked what she was doing and she said ‘Pokemon Go’. For the last 30 minutes my walking tour of Florence was dictated by the nearest Pokemon sightings! Not that I’m complaining, we got to go down a load of cute streets and stare at cute shops. We also walked past the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, deciding not to go inside though because the queues are told to be horrendous. It was interesting that although the front of the building was shiney and white, it was dirty and browning when we walked around the side of it. It’s interesting how the tourist side of it is clean but the ‘none’ tourist side wasn’t!
We had a quick break at a coffee shop called Gilli where we had coffee. I had a latte and Lizzy had sort sort of expresso.. thing. Best coffee I’ve ever had. Legit. Plus it was only about 1.10 euros! It’s at least thrice that at the cheapest coffee shops in England! Man shit is cheap here. The coffee house was beautiful, old fashioned sweeping ceilings with rows upon rows of nicely arranged alcohols. The Italian man serving us was enthusiastic about Lada (you’re also allowed animals inside coffee shops here apparently) and smiled at us. It was a lovely experience. You think getting excited about coffee shops is bad, wait till you read what happened next.
Just after 1 we started to travel back to home, but we had to stop off at the supermarket to buy some foods. It was seriously exciting. I got excited about a fucking supermarket. I’m such a tourist. There was an olive counter and a bakery counter with a load of food I’d never seen before, and it all looked delectable. There was rows of meat across the back for you to choose from. Man. If only British supermarkets looked that pretty. I actually wanted to take pictures inside, but I didn’t want to seem like a complete tourist so I only took a couple secretly.
We walked back to the flat where Natalie greeted us with enthusiasm and food. For much we had fries, chicken nuggets, garlic bread, an Italian type thing (basically sausage meat and notcreamcheese on toast…). She offered to make us a salad as well but if we’d have had that as well we probably would have died. For pudding we had a sweet Italian pastry, it looked like a croissant but had more of a bread texture. It was also filled with faux-cream which was sweet and slightly orangey, I say faux-cream cause it seemed too stiff to be real cream but I could be wrong. I like trying food from different countries, it’s interesting to see what new countries can create and how the flavours and textures can differ!
After lunch Natalie, Lizzy and I sat on Natalies bed and looked at clothes online to see what she could buy. I felt homely to me, this wasn’t the sort of thing I do with my sister and I can’t do it with my mother as she passed away. It’s moments like these which make we wonder whether this is something I would have done, had my mother still been alive. One difference between Natalie and my mother is probably that my mother wouldn’t practice her first aid trading and try to resuscitate her dog. It was done gently she loves her dog too much to hurt it; there was more blowing then pumping and more stroking rather then hammering… I’ve never seen a dog accept and give up in a situation so quickly… bless.
At 4 o’clock Lizzy and I once again left the house, this time without the living puffball. We were slightly delayed by Natalie not believing that I could be warm with only a scarf and a jacket, insisting on offering me jackets and coats to keep warm. We had to settle half way with a long sleeve jumper under my jacket (by the time we got back I had already removed my jacket cause I was too hot, but don’t tell Natalie!). The plan was to meet Lizzys friend and go shopping in Florence however the plan was enacted with differnt lines. We met her friend, I think she’s called Ellie, who spoke little English. She knew more then I was expecting but Lizzy still had to translate parts. It was kinda fun communicating between the language barriers, but it would definitely have been harder without someone to explain words we didn’t know. She was a bit wacky, but quite lovely despite that. I liked her. Anyway. We got on the tram and went to a place (I’ll explain but it’s probably not very accurate) were the two girls had done some work experience or something… They had to collect documents of some kind. When we got there they had to get a pass to let them in, when they got the pass they garbled away in Italian then turned around to me and Ellie said “You just have to wait here for two hours.” I of course, not catching the sarcasm in her voice, went ‘Okay.’ started to pull out my phone and walk to a seat in the corner of the room. This was met with a chorus of ‘Nooo!’s as the gate opened for them and I was almost left behind. I suddenly understood the joke and ran to catch up. I can be slow sometimes. In a room decorated with Japanese words and posters dedicated to Florences football team plastered across the paper, we waited. Feeling rude at not saying anything, I had no idea if I had been greeted or they were just conversing between each other, I smiled at my friends old co-workers. Minutes ticked by until we finally got handed envelopes stamped with the girls names written across in large letters. The adventure can continue.
Once we’d left the office building and handed the pass back in, we caught another tram back into the centre of the city. I recognised some of the buildings from my Pokemon Go tour earlier, so I vaguely knew where we were. The actual shopping trip did not last for that long, we walked into a hipster clothes shop, with a heavy American feeling inside, where we looked at clothes. They were nice clothes, averaging at about €20-€30 which is more then my Primark budget allows on clothes. They also sold these adorable, but useless, miniature backpacks for all your tiny possessions. They had no practical value but they were pretty cute.
Before heading back we scooted around the closing market towards a bronze warthog shaped fountain. I am led to believe that it is named I’ll Porcellino, which is Italian for piglet, and it is believed that if you put a coin into its jaw and the coin falls to the ground it brings good luck, and if you run its shiny snout then you will return to Florence in the future. I thought about trying it out but I didn’t have any coins on me and I was too awkward to wait for the tourists in front to move…. I need to work on that anxiety thing. It was cool though because you could see how over the years the bronze statue has dimmed but the snout stayed shiny through all the rubbing from tourists.
As we walked back towards the tramline we discussed a few things. One was that the fact I had taken off my jacket and was only wearing a long shirt was not only making Lizzy feel cold, but Ellie also. It’s not my fault that British weather is so monotonous! 7 degrees is not cold enough to have three layers on PLUS a scarf. I don’t understand how Lizzy is cold, she grew up in Russian winters which are like… -30 degrees Celsius on a good day.
Another thing we talked about was my schools weird clothing policies. Which is just weird. If you show you’re shoulders at my school you get a massive bollocking, but if you’re boobs and but are hanging out then no one cares. It’s weird. Ellie found it funny and strange that you would be told to cover your shoulders but not anything else, I agree. It’s frickin’ wrong.
10 long, squished minutes together we waved goodbye to Ellie and crawled off the tram. Our aching feet once again tottered up the cracked marble staircase, up 4 floors, into the joyful arms of the mighty fluffball. Natalie wasn’t home, she was at work, so we were left to defend for ourselves. As I had never had the pleasure of trying sushi before, Lizzy decided that it would be a fun idea to make some ourselves and eat it.
She has an inverted rolling pin type machine which we laid out sushi rice (rice with salt, sugar and rice… vinegar.. maybe) and made a little channel through the centre. Inside we placed raw fish and thin carrot sticks, we had to use carrot because we didn’t have any cucumber but apparently it doesn’t matter too much and its just there to add some crunch. When our streams of fishy carrots flowed we closed the inverted rolling pin and squished the.. mixture tight. Then we laid it out on some nori, rolled it together, and then stuck it in the fridge. We had a bit of left over nori which I tried on its own. The only way I could describe it, is that it tastes like the smell of the sea. Like if you filled a room with sea water, it would taste how that smells. It wasn’t bad, it was just weird to taste a smell… if that makes sense.
After waiting for it to cool down a bit we removed it from the fridge and sliced it into pieces. How would I describe my first sushi? It was good, maybe lacking in… something. I’m used to the overwhelming, strong flavours of home as opposed to a dish which purely embraces the taste of the fish. I liked it and the soy sauce did somewhat enhance the flavour, but it was a bit salty. Overall it was delicious, it was just the newness of the dish made it strange. It’s definitely an idea to add to my university cookbook. It seems pretty easy and cheap to make. My first sushi was pretty damn good… but I made it myself so I’m probably biased.
The rest of our evening was spent much like yesterday’s, we nibbled on ice cream whilst watching a few more episodes of Stranger Things. I think we just finished episode 4 and its starting to get a little bit creepy. Still hella predictable but that doesn’t stop me from get creeped out as hell. What in gods name would possess you to go after the scary, possible murderer in the middle of the flipping night?! Okay I get that it’s a technique to enhance the fear factor, but it really isn’t practical. Just. Ugh. I’m liking Eleven and Jonathan at the moment, they seem like nice characters… granted Eleven is a bit messed up but aren’t most of the characters at this point?
We just said good night and, with an additional reminder that Lizzy won’t be able to translate her mother tomorrow morning, we shall go to sleep. Lizzy had lessons to attend tomorrow morning so Natalie and I will be left to our own devices. I’m placing a bet on Lizzy coming back and I’m just a ball wrapped in coats, lying in a corner having a food coma. I really do aspire to have similar hosting skills as Natalie in the future, she’s a babe.
BTW: I’ll add photos and stuff when I get home and download them all, my phone is not new enough to take photos above about 2 pixels in quality…. so photos will have to wait~