The BIG Move: Part II

From this…

to this:

From this…

To this:

And this:

To this:

We have arrived.

During my freshman year, it was announced that my class – 2011, holla! – would be the first senior class to live in the senior apartments. If there was no other reason to stay, this was it (but there were plenty others – I ❤ my college!).

Ready for the grand tour??

 

My room looks out at that fountain. I will never need one of those “gentle sound-making machines” – I have the real thing!

 

Welcome to our house!

First things first:

Please meet Otis, the house plant. He says hello. (He gets whiney when he’s not introduced to the guests.)

The living room, where one of my roommates got another one and me addicted to Alias. We’ve almost watched the entire first season in 2 days. It’s a problem.

The kitchen – obviously, my favorite part. And yes, that apron hanging in the corner is mine.

Now walk with me down the hall…

To my room 🙂

Desk,

Closet,

And a view. Not too shabby, no?

Of course, the necessities:

Bathroom – note the 2 sinks. I have never, ever, EVER had my own sink. After about a week, I highly recommend it.

The amazing hotel-like shower that I have used every night. Because I can.

I promise a more in depth tour of the kitchen is to come! But now, let’s get to the good stuff: food.

The inaugural bowl of oats:

Espresso-spiked chocolate banana scottish oats. Oh yes.

1/4 c. scottish oats

3/4 c. almond milk

1 T cocoa

1/4-1/2 tsp. instant espresso

dash of sea salt

1 banana, sliced

Espresso really brings out the richness of the cocoa – I use it in ever chocolate thing I bake! But for the love of all things caffeinated, do not drink instant espresso. That is just not what it’s for.

My first apartment-cooked meal involved one of my bulk bin purchases from Whole Foods:

French lentils. Aren’t they pretty?!

A quarter cup of those into a pot with:

About 1/3 of a zucchini, half of a carrot, some white onion, and

a cup of frozen kale. Add some sea salt, pepper, and herbes de provence, and bam!

Lentil stew with a side of whole grain toast. So blissfully far from the limp salad I ate daily in the dining hall, I could cry with happiness.

I am slowly gathering all my necessary baking supplies together. My reusable silicon cupcake lines arrived in the mail today.

Time to go preheat the oven. It. is. ON.

Nothin But Blue Skies, Blue Skies Do I See!

Despite yesterday feeling a little blue, this morning I woke up to a very different kind of blue:
There is nothing in the world like opening the window in an apartment in Italy and letting the breeze and sunshine soak in. Definitely a cure-all for blah moods.
While walking to Italian this morning, I remembered my epiphany from earlier in the semester. Why bother mumbling and grumbling about what isn’t perfect in life (now there‘s an exhaustive list) when you can slow down, take a deep breath and just enjoy where you are in that very moment. No “I’m going to be late”, no “if I don’t get home right now I’ll starve and die”, no have-tos or should’ves. It was with that thought in mind that I went to the market right after class. Because I was up, I was out, and because there is no rush. There is something about the personableness, the conviviality of the market that just leaves me feeling more content and calm than when I entered. It should probably be studied or something.
Blue skies calls for more blue, and what better way to do it than with…
Blueberry yogoats! If these don’t chill you out, nothing will 😉
I mentioned yesterday being a bit off. I’m never quite sure how to approach “off” days on the blog. I want to be honest, but I don’t want to bring everyone down! I was just feeling very…unsatisfied, I suppose. Maybe it was just a bit of homesickness in disguise. Or maybe it was the shopping trip on Monday – there is nothing like walking around an upscale Italian department store to make me feel unstylish, unattractive, and “un” everything else that I “should” be. And that got me a little angry. Why should I let some impersonal hoity-toity store dictate my self-esteem? How stupid. I happen to like my style; it’s not hot off the runway, and doesn’t fit any stereotype. It just fits me. I don’t like jeans, never have, and I think I do a darn good job of making myself presentable. If someone can explain to me why wearing yoga pants everyday is any weirder than wearing leggings that look like they’ve been sprayed on or wearing low-rise jeans that dip so low you wonder where exactly the “rise” is, then I will happily listen. But I can’t be anyone else, and I am determined that no one or thing will tell me otherwise or give me a guilt trip about it. So there.

And yes, I realize that society still judges and there are forces out there that even the greatest self-esteem can’t conquer, but in my experience, being comfortable in your own skin gives a kind of confidence that makes other people look past, or even not see, the outside. Easier said than done, of course. But it can be!

I tried to turn my day around:

Chocolate-raspberry yogoats. Not sure they helped my mood, but my tastebuds sure were grateful 🙂

Ethnic Tuesday: Sushi, take-2
tuna roll + seaweed salad
Quite depressing sushi, actually. The tuna was unimpressive and the salad was too sweet and too spicy. And it was overpriced in general. BUT, this place delivered and the rumored “good” sushi places here are sit-down restaurants and a little pricey, so subpar sushi it was.

Ok, no more crappy Tuesday talk, let’s get back to the present!

 I’ve been meaning to check out the San’ Ambrogio market, another big food market in Florence. It is not quite as old or big as Mercato Centrale, but you know, variety is the spice of life and all. And it’s such a beauuuuutiful day!!!

Funky angles, no?

This market had all of their produce stands outside – it went on forever!

Beautiful South African pears. I had to get some. I loved it! Very nice cinnamony-sweet taste. And so perty!

This market was fun; the old man at one of the cheese stands liked me and gave us lots of samples 🙂 I also bought this monster:

This pepper was 1,50 euro. That’s like 2 dollars of BELL. PEPPER. Did NOT see that coming. Whoops.

I liked this market a lot, but Mercato Centrale remains my favorite. More to see there, I think. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong with markets in Italy!

We did a bit of shopping in San Lorenzo and stopped for what remains to be the best cappuccino I’ve ever had before lunch at Sergios! My Wednesdays will be just a little empty when I can’t come here for lunch.
Although I woke up thinking about their wonderful soups, I ended going a different route once I took a look a the daily menu…

Melanzane alla parmigiana – Eggplant parm!
What I love about the eggplant parm I’ve had here is that it is nothing like the breaded, buttered, deep-fried, cheap-cheese-covered American version. The eggplant has a melt-in-your-mouth texture on the inside, but the skin gets crispy and crunchy in the oven, and paired with wonderful parmeggiano and provolone cheese and fresh tomato sauce, it tastes like nothing you’d ever expect to come from just an eggplant and some cheese. It’s really a toss-up between my first eggplant parm  at Dino and today’s…mm, yummylicious. And it was a perfect little lunch portion too. Cute food is more fun to eat 😉

Because of the gorgeous weather, the roomies and I grabbed a blanket and headed to a piazza nearby to do some much-needed sunbathing. I took my book…but ended up napping in the sun instead. I almost wish everyday were this wonderful, but then that would make it less special, and what’s the fun in that?

Taking pictures lying down is fun!

[That would be Alaina’s foot.]
Spring has sprung!

I came home on sunshine and nap high, fixed myself an enormous salad…and that’s about when my lovely day in the sun got cloudy. But this is such a happy post, I’m not bringing it down! Let’s just say – to be continued.

Wonderful food, warm spring weather, and a nap in the middle of a piazza. Life is good.

~Namaste~

One girl’s food is another girl’s shoes

I apologize for the lack of postage yesterday; there was a good reason, which you will shortly see!
Sleeping in on Wednesday was a very good decision, because I woke up yesterday feeling considerably less hatred towards my alarm clock, and was actually alert throughout class. Listen to your body before it screams at you! (That was written on some post-its my mom got from her massage therapist. Post-its don’t lie!)
Then of course, it was OAT time. I had a particular experiment on my mind this morning involving this:
Pineapple yogurt
And this:
Succo tropicale! (mango-pineapple-papaya-passion fruit-apple-orange juice)
Now, ok, before you go running around shouting “This girl is putting JUICE in her oatmeal?? What kind of crazy Italian crack is she on??????” – let me ‘splain. No, there is no time – let me sum up. (Princess Bride? Anyone?) In all reality, how different is putting the juice of fruit in oats versus the actual fruit? Um, not very different at all. Same flavor, without the texture variety. It’s like making a smoothie and throwing some oats in. Which, if I had a blender, I would try – I’ve heard it’s yummmy!
Thus, TropicOats was born…
It’s a…girl?
It was quite tasty. I think it would be better cold, as overnight oats perhaps. Tropical fruity flavors call for colder treatment, I think. Would have been amazing with some fresh mango! I probably wouldn’t jump to make it again, but that’s more because I am berry/applesauce oat addict.
I then proceeded to take a nap on the couch. Thrilling, I know.
Instead of having class today, my cooking class was going to a restaurant with several other of our teacher’s cooking classes to have a typical vegetarian Italian dinner (hence the lack of posting yesterday), so I was trying to stay extra-balanced (oxymoron?) with eating today. I didn’t want to get there bottomed-out starving and eat so fast I wouldn’t even taste it, but I obviously wanted to be good and hungry for it! Ah, the complex politics of eating!
All that to say, I had a salad for lunch.
Skillet-grilled zucchini, cannellini, arugula. Good stuff.
I was desperately seeking somewhere to venture, and I hit the jackpot! I was on http://www.happycow.net/, which is a website with recommendations/tips/recipes/etc for vegan and vegetarian food, and it’s international! They have a list of veg/vegan restaurants and health food stores in Florence, and on it I found….the Italian Whole Foods. Much smaller, no food bars or anything, but a small market chain dedicated to natural/organic foods. A.k.a, my mecca. Cha-CHING!
I dragged my roommate out with me, got lost a time or two, but eventually we found it. It’s farther than it looked on the map, but that’s probably a good thing, because I’m pretty sure I actually heard my wallet crying when I walked out. I was fully expecting tear stains on my euro bills. Some girls buy designer shoes, others expensive jewelry…I buy organic food.
It was SO exciting – don’t worry, you will see my loot as it is consumed 😉 
Marissa and I were feeling like it was cappuccino time, so capps it was:
I swear, it’s like medicine.
Not gonna lie, it was a struggle to not eat dinner at my usual 6. I do ok if we’re out and about, walking around, but at home it’s like a dinner bell goes off in my head. 8 AM classes are NOT conducive to the Italian late dinner, let me tell you. But I managed with a pb & j and a little cereal.
I was, of course, the first person to arrive at Dino. My professor was there and I love him, so I enjoyed just listening to him. I asked him about how this dinner fit into our class’s emphasis on nutrition, and this restaurant is apparently known to cook with a lighter touch. He also gave me a tip that I will share with you: If you want to check the quality of a restaurant, look at the waiters’ shoes. If they take the time to take care of themselves, they will do the same for the customers. Shiny shoes=good food.
We had the WHOLE restaurant to ourselves – there were about 70 hungry American students in total. After we were all seated and our professor gave the “yes, the wine is free, but please don’t get hammered” speech (unfortunately very necessary – and I’m quite doubtful it was observed by the majority), the meal began.
(Please excuse the less-than-brilliant pics; I was hungry and not very patient with the camera.)
For the anitpasti, there was bruschetta:
My fave! Still not as good as the kind we made in class, though.
FRESH pecorino (my true cheese love):
Have I mentioned you need to try this? Because you do.
And fagioli all’uccelletto, which is a dish if white beans in a sauce of tomato, garlic, and sage:
The beans were amazing, akin to what I would consider Italy’s version of baked beans.
For primi piatti, we had garganelli alle verdure di stagione (a tube-shaped fresh pasta with sauce of seasonal vegetables) and risotto al taleggio:
I adored the pasta shape! The pasta was very interesting; I tasted some spice that was reminiscent of India, curry or turmeric maybe? I liked it MOLTO.
Taleggio is essentially the Italian brie. Less stinky, quite mild, but I like it a lot. I found this risottto a little underwhelming, probably because I was expecting…well, I don’t know, something insanely flavorful, I suppose. It was pleasantly simple, and smelled great; the flavor itself was just rice and creamy cheese, neither of which do much for me. It was a big hit with others, though, so it’s very much a matter of opinion.
This restaurant is known for 2 things: their eggplant parm, and their tiramisu. So, quite clearly, secondo piatti was melanzane alla parmigiana:
This was pretty amazing, I will say. I do like eggplant parm but have only had it once or twice because I can’t stand how most restaurants serve it: breaded, fried in crappy hydrogenated oil, and piled with cheap provolone cheese and mediocre tomato sauce. This was…not. The eggplant was so soft and tender, the only way to know that it was in fact eggplant was its flavor, kept very much in tact. The tomato sauce was super fresh. My only complaint was that the cheese had made a kind of stale crust and felt too much like it had been sitting out for a while (which, considering there were 70 of us, is entirely possible) – but there wasn’t an abundance of it, which I was very grateful for, and the flavor it added was good.
Dessert. The course I had been waiting for. On our first day of class, my professor explained that he really didn’t approve of typical tiramisu because it calls for raw eggs. (I’m thinking he’s not so much a fan of cookie dough then either…probably the single point upon which we completely disagree.) There is away to serve tiramisu, however, by using a double-boiler method to make the cream. This restaurant is known to use that method, and I was very excited to see how different it was.
(One picture was too yellow, the other too blurry – I figured between the two, you could get the gist.)
The entire night the waiters had come around asking if we wanted more, except for dessert. Cruelty at its finest.
This was some damn fine tiramisu. There was come kind of spice added that I couldn’t quite put my finger on – a cinnamon/nutmeg/clove flavor that was just subtle enough that I couldn’t figure it out. Hmm, experiment time? I think so.
The wine served was a classic chianti; I probably had about 3 oz over the whole night. I only like wine in teeny tiny sips throughout the meal. It was quite tasty though! I still feel like a dunce about wine though, and I think I’m going to start reading up on it a bit. If I’m going to be a wine snob connoisseur, I’m going whole hog – go big or go home, people.
All in all, it was a lovely meal. Not mind-blowing amazing, perhaps a bit underwhelming, but a wonderful experience as a whole.
I was not at all paying attention to the clock last night. I started a crossword puzzle online, made some tea and put on some Michael Buble and BAM! it was 2 AM. Whoops. Three cheers for sleeping late! 
I’ll be back soon with more food commentary and general ranting – ciao ciao!
~Namaste~

Ro-ma-Ro-ma-mA-a…

First of all, I apologize for the late posting. 3 days in Rome = BIG blog post and I was up to my ears in reading due today. Better late than never! (And yes, the title of this post is in reference to the Lady Gaga song. We sang it pretty much the entire trip.)
I will start out by saying that quite frankly, I do not care for Rome. This was my second visit, and it only confirmed my feelings. It is just not my city; big, loud, touristy, and quite often sleazy. However, I do think it is a place you really just have to go to and do the tourist thing once, because it has some jaw-droppingly cool sights. On with the show…
We boarded the bus at 7 and arrived around 10ish, where we began a walking tour of the city. I was really surprised at how familiar everything was, even though it’s been almost 4 years since I was there. 
The tour guide was great and really knew her art/architectural history, which when on a tour in Rome is a very good thing. We stopped at the Pantheon, which is just a super cool thing to see:
 Yes, it has a hole in the top. BUT because of the way it is built, the air pressure rises and keeps rain from flooding it. Cool, right?!
And of course we hit the Trevi:
And then took a quick lunch break. The others went for pizza but it didn’t appeal to me, so I got this:
(Sorry for the blur – I was HANGRY!)
Rather mediocre prosciutto & mozzarella panino. Whatever, it filled me up.
We met back to continue the walking tour. I actually really like tours – when the tour guide is good – because they often know tiny little details that take the experience to a new level. For example…
This is one of several “talking statues” in the city. In ancient Rome, people would write poems or prose, usually making a statement (and usually a not-so-nice one) about the government and current political issues. This practice is still continuing:
Rock on, Romans.
I thought that this was TOO cool. I wanna take part in a tradition that’s been done since BCE!
We checked into the hotel and proclaimed it NAP TIME. After a 3.5 hour walking tour, we deserved it. When we got up, we checked out an exhibit of remakes of Leonardo da Vinci’s many inventions:
This picture looked like an open book (listen, I’m trying to become a better photographer…I gotta throw myself a bone here and there).
Defying gravity!
The first piano.
The first army tank.
An entire hallway of little inventions from an oil press to a wind speed measuring tool. The man’s genius is utterly intimidating.
This would make the coolest present…if it weren’t 30 euro. Oh well.
DINNER TIME!
When I first came to Rome with the fam, I was moving towards the peak of the worst point of my ED (eating disorder). My fear of gaining weight was irrational to the point of hysterics, and being in a different country and out of my comfort zone only made it worse. I spent the majority of that trip depriving and starving myself because I was petrified the 50 pounds I had worked for the past 2 years to lose would suddenly hop back on  during this 3 week vacation. Yes, it was ridiculous, but I can not truly articulate how real and looming that fear was for me. I left my first trip to Italy with many regrets, and many about food – I was too scared to ever order anything but salad and had given up my chance to experience what I can definitely assert now as some of the best food in the world. But here I am, back in Italy. And I am not leaving this time with regrets.
That story did have a point – on our first day in Rome, my parents went to find some lunch. I was so horrified with myself for eating a croissant on the airplane for breakfast that I decided I would nap off some jet lag instead of going to eat. My parents came back absolutely raving about the food they had had and I was green with jealousy. The next night, we found a lovely rooftop restaurant for dinner. I, of course, could not bring myself to order the pasta, but upon tasting my mom’s plate of fresh tagliatelle, only got greener.  Thus, I was determined to find these two restaurants on this second trip to Rome and finally get vengeance on that stupid ED.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find the first restaurant, but it turned out that it wasn’t a dinner place anyway, and the rooftop restaurant was very close, so all was not lost. I found it. And I got pasta.
Calamarata – fresh pasta with calamari and tiny shrimp and tomatoes. It. was. SO GOOD. Victory.
After dinner, I dragged the roomies to the gelato place we went to on our first trip known as some of the best in Rome. It didn’t disappoint:
Valhrona Cocoa + Vanilla Bourbon. I could have eaten 5 more of these cups.
On our way back to the hotel, I decided I was in dire need of fruit and water so we stopped at a little market, and I did a baaaad thing…
Yes, that is a mini bottle of Prosecco. 1,50 euro. I said “hey, I’m on vacation!” Oy. Note to self: Do NOT buy 1,50 euro Prosecco. Hardly worth 50 cents. I swallowed about an ounce of it before the food snob in my head told me to get real. It was fun to get though 🙂
Saturday began with breakfast at the hotel:
2nd Note to self: Never, under any circumstances, get – much less consume – a cappuccino from a machine. Your taste buds will not forgive you.
I would also like to say that I really love muesli + yogurt. Oh, and I don’t like oranges. You know you love my randomness.
Today we toured St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and the Castel San Angelo, a fortress where the popes stayed when there was danger. I did visit the Vatican on my first trip here, and I’ll be honest, it’s not a place I cared to visit again. I don’t want to offend anyone and won’t comment further, just saying that it’s not high on my list – but it’s also totally subjective.
This was a really blurry picture that turned out looking really cool (IMO). Maybe my photo skills are improving?
Swiss guards. Check OUT the sweet uniforms. I’m pretty jealous.
It was nice to see this again though…
Michelangelo’s Pieta. When I went the first time, it was so crowded I could barely breathe and it was pretty much “hey, look, famous scuplture – ok let’s leave!” This time I got to stare at it for a while, and the expression on the Virgin’s face is absolutely amazing. You would never know this was stone, it’s so full of life.
It was great to have the tour guide back, because of her art history knowledge – St. Peter’s is full of artworks from almost every artistic era and it was really cool to see and compare almost side-by-side a Baroque style sculpture to that of the Neoclassical style. Yes, I’m a geek. Don’t hate.
Next up was Castel San Angelo, which seemed like a semi-random place to tour but was pretty cool neverthless. 
Definitely had some sweet views over Rome:
St. Peter’s Basilica
The tour ended and we dragged ourselves to this cool salad place we’d heard about, Insalata Ricca:
The Tropical: mango, sesame seeds, crab, spiny lobster, pine nuts, avocado, greens. It was a little too heavy on the olive oil and not enough on the fish, but it did the trick – I was craving greens like no other!
Following lunch, we were determined to see the Sistine Chapel – I didn’t see it on my first trip here and it was really the only thing I felt I “needed” to see in Rome. It is a part of the Musei Vaticani, which is basically one ginormous museum of Catholicness. It had some cool stuff…
The longest gallery in the museum. They weren’t kidding.
They really like intensely-painted ceilings. Like, a lot.
LOTS of tapestries. Really big tapestries. Considering the average life span back then, these are pretty much three lifetimes-large.
The floor. No joke.
You thought I was kidding about the ceilings. Nope.
But it was just too much. I thought the Sistine Chapel stood alone, separate from the others museums, and was NOT prepared for an hour of other major artworks before actually getting to the chapel. After a while I stopped trying to appreciate the works as fast as possible and just started following these:
I was starting to feel like I had missed it after all those long, important-looking galleries. But trust me – when you are in la Capella Sistina – you know it. It was so incredibly colorful and just…whoa. No words.
That was about 6 hours of touring. My senses were completely battered and I was feeling it. Rome is just too much for me. I was ready to PEACE out.
We were ready for a chill dinner, and found a restaurant recommended to us by our program. It was really perfect – noisy but in a cozy way, with good bread and a cool waiter. And of course, pasta:
Whole wheat tagliatelle with asparagus and mushrooms. I had major trouble deciding what to get, but whole wheat pasta is so rarely on restaurant menus and I love it so, I just had to. It was not amazing, but it was quite tasty and I felt good about my choice because that’s one of the many great effects of healthful food!
We also had some very nice wine with dinner:
I am starting to taste good vs bad wine. I am sticking to my guns on the “no-drinking” thing, but I am a whole-hearted supporter of the Italian custom of a glass with dinner. It’s more the custom than the actual taste that I enjoy. And all I ever want is about a 2 oz pour, so it’s really perfect. I’m so growed up!
The cool waiter got cooler when he brought us free dessert wine. Yum yum! And such cute little glasses 🙂
I was still craving gelato, so we stopped at Blue Ice, a Roman gelato chain, just to see what it was like. I got mint chip and wildberry yogurt. No, they did not go together well, but they were separately exactl what I was craving and I enjoyed every bite. Sorry, no picture, it was super crowded with drunk Scottish soccer fans. Don’t ask.
I considered going out, because, well, it’s Rome…but I crashed. I’m sorry. Rome ain’t for me.
Breakfast was a repeat of Venice, involving lots of filched fruit, nutella, and various cracker packs. That’s how us college kids roll.
We had to check out of the hotel at 10 but weren’t boarding the bus until 12:30, so we decided to wander. All of a sudden I looked to my left and recognized Sant Eustachio, the cafe I went to on my first visit there. It is the “espresso temple” – the best espresso. ever.
I had two. Amazing.
Right before boarding the bus, I noticed a juice bar right next to the hotel – totally my kind of place. Raw food, amazing fruit-filled smoothies…yup. A Gillianasana temple.
I got the Noio – not sure you can see the menu, but it was raspberry, melon, banana, lemon, ginger, honey, yogurt, and apple. It was awesome. Worth being the last one on the bus. What I won’t do for a smoothie.
We toured the Colosseum before heading back to Firenze, which is probably one of my favoritest places in Rome. I really love it – there is something about walking around knowing that you are stepping on the exact stone that people stepped on thousands of years ago that is just incredible. Goosebump-inducing.
I took this picture just because I thought the juxtaposition of ruins and paved streets was kind of cool. Past meets present type-of-thing. I’m an English major, I’m trained to see symbolism in everything.
The trip home was blessedly shorter than expected, mostly involving sleep, Michael Buble, and muesli I snagged from the hotel.
Rome. I went, I saw. And I was happy to go.
~Namaste~

Venezia: Day 2

I slept well, but I woke up pissed. off. I think my subconscious must have worked through my day and I was just mad that I had been SO excited to come to Venice for Carnivale and I was SO let down. There was a line for breakfast (Italian hotels are not well-prepared for 300 hungry American kids. Can’t say I blame them – I never want to have to be prepared for that.) and my annoyance only grew. We had to shovel down breakfast in under 10 minutes to check out and get on the bus…which was late because there was a traffic accident. Another day in Venice off to a brilliant start.

Today, however, I was NOT going down without a fight. You wanna take me down Venice? Well I’m going to fight right back. And, in true Gillianasana style, I did. With food.

That would be an apple, a pear, 2 kiwis, 3 packs of crackers, 2 packs of german bread, and 2 mini jars of honey and jam stolen from breakfast. Revenge is sweet. And full of carbs.

Our first stop Sunday was the island of Murano to see a glass-blowing demonstration at a glass factory. On the boat there, the tour guide we had actually really knew her stuff. The glass factories used to be in the city of Venice, but back in the day, all the buildings were made of wood. This was a major fire hazard with all the glass factories around, so the government moved them all to the island of Murano. The glass-blowing demo was TOO cool. I could have watched it all day.

He made these right in front of us in a total of about 10 minutes:
It. was. ridiculous! Although the guy who was talking us through the demo as the artist worked made some crack about how women could never be glass blowers because a glass blower can’t talk and work at the same time. I was not amused.
We hopped back on the boat much too quickly. The views from the boat were gorgeous though. Venice may not have treated us well, but at least the weather did.
Yes, that tower is leaning. I think it’s an Italian thing.
The next island we went to was Burano, a very small but charming island known for its brightly-painted houses. They were painted in crazy colors so that sailors could easily see the island at all times of day and night. 
I LOVED it and want to live there. Or more specifically, here:
We did NOT get enough time on this island. I could have stayed there all day. It was so peaceful, tranquil…so  not Venice! We barely had enough time to buy mediocre sandwiches and hop back on the boat.
We went back to Venice after that. My friends and I were on a Venetian Mission, which included:
1) Operation Stay Away from Tourists
2) Operation Cappuccino
3) Operation Gelato
Number one was surprisingly easy – we just walked in the opposite direction of San Marco, where the Carnivale fesitvities were at large. And then, we discovered the true Venezia…
Random street percussionists. Really cool sound. I thought of Ernesto.
On one of the many lovely bridges
Marissa ed io!
Having finally found the beautiful Venezia we had been hoping for, we set out on Operation #2: Cappuccino.
Espresso = perfection. (Friends, anyone?)
Look at the sweet espresso machine! I think Mocha Java should get one.
Once fortified with caffeine in its most delicious form, we began Operation #3: Gelato. And oh yes, did we succeed.
Pear and tiramisu. (I didn’t eat them together, I just like those individual flavors.)
If you have yet to taste the pure joy that is tiramisu gelato…get on that. It will change your life. Or at least, your tastebuds.
Needless to say, Venetian Mission: Accomplished.
We got home around 9 PM, tired and hungry. But all in all, I am glad I went. Yesterday was very nice, even though I do wish we had had more time to spend on the two little islands.
Moral of the story: Go to Venice. Just not during Carnivale.
P.S. – I was waiting in the bathroom line in a cafe, and looked up at their clock…
YOGA CLOCK!!!
~Namaste~