[If you haven't read part one, you should do that before reading this entry. THAT'S AN ORDER!]
And then we found the holy grail. I mean, we found gelato. WOOHOO!
I followed Morten's lead into K2, the gelateria on the left side of the first photo. The one on the right was equally crowded despite not being a gelateria that made their gelato in-house. Then again, I didn't really notice until Morten pointed out the obvious signs to me: obvious sign #1 was the giant cone display in front of K2 that read, "ARTIGIANALE"; obvious sign #2 was the nearly grammatically correct, handwritten sign in the window that said "HERE GELATO [sunburst]HOME MADE[/sunburst]" (Damn, can I make that into a t-shirt? The only problem being that it hardly makes any sense?)
I guess obvious sign #3 was eating the gelato. [Lick lick]...mm, yes, very good. Not, "I will never eat any other gelato ever again!" good (nothing is that good), but better than most gelato in NYC, as usual. Morten was overly enamored by his melon sorbet (really, he was juts short of confessing that he wanted to marry it), which tasted of fresh melon squeezins. And my mango sorbet tasted of fresh mango squeezins. And my pistachio gelato tastes of fresh pistachio squeezins.
Shortly after eating gelato at K2, we headed down the road to Gelatissimo, a gelateria that Morten had been to before and deemed awesome enough to be worth finding again. I certainly wasn't going to protest making two gelato stops in a row.
The gelato was very pretty indeed. Granted, it usually is; someone would have to really fuck up to make gelato look unappealing. Even bad gelato looks good, for better or worse.
As usual I went with a combination of pistachio and "something else," something else in this case being nougat. The pistachio was even better than K2's, and considering I thought their's was quite good that made Gelatissimo's...really good. It had the buttery toasty pistachio flavor and dense creamy texture going on for it, a description that I feel like I've made a bajillion times. Still, I don't think you can ever really "get" it until you've eaten it. Sorry, dudes.
The nougat tasted nougaty. You know, sweet and nutty with some other nougat-specific flavors mixed in. (This description is useless if you've never eaten nougat. If you happen to be one of these poor souls, just pretend you have eaten it for my sake.) It would've been better with more nougat, but I thought it was satisfying enough.
Morten's cup contained lemon sorbet and Gelatissimo's unidentifiable special flavor. It tasted...nice, but I don't think either of us could figure out what it was. "YELLOW, WITH GREEN BITS." Yes...no...dammit.
Kåre went with vanilla and fruitti di bosco.
We all got different flavors. Aw.
I knew I wouldn't feel satisfied if I didn't take a photo of myself expressing some form of adoration towards the plastic gelato. So I did. And the result is yet another photo I can add to the category of "Photos Where I Look Insane," a category that doubled in size over the course of this trip.
I also knew I wouldn't feel satisfied if I didn't take a jumping photo. But not just any jumping photo.
"Kåre, you have to be in the photo with me."
Yes, luring Kåre to be part of my jumping was effortless. I like how this photo gives the sensation that we're being blasted apart. As for why my brain manifests the sound of being blown apart as "FWAAAH!" I do not know, but I don't ask my brain questions. It just does its own thing. Yeah. Tootling about. Walking into walls and knocking over things with its massive lumbering arms in the process.
After the jumping session we fulfilled Morten's relentless craving for freshly squeezed orange juice at a random cafe. So refreshing, the sweet golden liquefied souls of smashed oranges are.
I suppose i took this photo to remind myself that we walked. Yes. So we walked.
Walk walk walk.
Specifically, we walked to the hotel that Morten had stayed at right before meeting Diana and me in Bologna to see if they found the jacket he left there. While he was in the hotel investigating the whereabouts of his lost garment, Kåre and I stood outside the building's entrance.
It was the perfect time for an impromptu lesson in Norwegian!
"How do you say, 'I love ice cream'?" I decided to shoot for the most useful phrases, you know.
"Jeg elsker iskrem."
"Yay elsker eeskrem!" I tried my best to do the roll-y Norwegian "R." Kåre would agree that I still need a bit of practice.
I repeated the phrase a few times, happy to have upped my Norwegian phrase bank from zero to one. And later I added another word to my Norwegian dictionary: smultring, which means donut. Yes, SMULTRING! That''s my second most favorite Norwegian word after skikkelig.
We killed an hour at an Internet center in the underground mall near the train station. I liked the simple handwritten sign designating one specific computer as unusable. "NO," it declared. So bold. So assertive. Funny how two letters could convey so much meaning. All it takes is a piece of printer paper and a thin green marker.
If I were in charge, I would've just drawn a sad face. That way it wouldn't have been language specific.
After wandering around Mercado Centrale in search of the recommended restaurant Mario's, only to find its entrance blocked by a metal gate (and by that I mean it was closed; later I found out it was only open for lunch), we decided to eat at the neighboring Osteria Pepo instead. ...Instead of starving.
Out stomachs were ready to shrivel up and fizzle into nothingness after having to wait so long to get service. Oops. Maybe they were short on staff. We productively passed the time by fidgeting in our seats and staring at the menu, which didn't to much to soothe our stomachs. The temptation to go to another restaurant popped into our heads, but I was definitely too lazy to try and find another restaurant and my butt had probably already molded itself to the chair. Thankfully our waiter appeared before we were driven to crawl out of there or cry with the sadness that comes with neglect.
Morten and Kåre ordered a bottled of wine for us to start with. I sipped some since it was...you know, right there in front of me. Also, toasting seem more effective when your glass is full of something alcoholic instead of plain water.
"Clinky clank!" I announced while bumping my glass with Morten's and Kåre's.
And then there was a pause. Because who says "clinky clank" when they toast?
Thankfully, Morten and Kåre were used to me saying weird random things (and vice versa) and accepted the clinky clank. We all toasted the Robyn way.
Besides the clinky clanks, we just had one thing on our minds: bistecca alla fiorentina, aka Florentine steak, aka GIANT SLAB OF BEEFY HEAVEN.
Our 1.5 kilogram steak sat atop a heavy metal grill pan, shimmering with meaty juices and dabblings of charred crust. Out of the partially sliced surface peeked the thick pink, tender semi-cooked flesh. The flesh...it spoke. It said, "I'M FUCKING TASTY!!!"
Of course it was. I rarely eat steak since my steak-eating experiences have mostly been off-putting—too chewy, too dry, so not worth the premium price that steak tends to garner. But this? This lil' chunka heaven? It probably destroyed most, if not all of the subsequent steak-eating experiences I will ever have. When again will I feel the sensation of my teeth crunching through the slightest carbonized meat crust into a moist meat sponge, soft as baby angels or what I imagine baby angels would taste like, releasing savory meat extract with every chew, or not releasing as much as being infused with this...meatness...the meatness...
That wasn't a full sentence, but as my brain wasn't thinking in full sentences at the time I think the grammatical slip-up is okay.
A bottle of olive oil was provided for us to further fattenize our meat with. Oh Italy, you're awesome. The meat didn't neat to be smothered in olive oil, but it didn't hurt.
We ordered mixed fried vegetables (which looked like tempura) and roasted potatoes to ease the effects of meatsplosion. The fried vegetables were alright. I mean...fried, come on. The roasted potatoes were more iffy, with some pieces tasting awesome and others tasting not so cooked.
But it's okay; the meat was good.
...Except for this piece with a giant fat splodge tumor. BEGONE, FAT SPLODGE TUMOR!
I couldn't leave without getting panna cotta, of course. Unfortunately, this was the most bland panna cotta I had ever eaten. Thank god they were generous with the chocolate sauce; otherwise it would've tasted like...well, almost nothing. The texture was smooth with that soft-yet-solid creaminess that I love, but it tasted like someone forgot to put sugar in it.
Kåre also caved into a panna cotta (topped with frutti di bosco) craving. And had the same, "This doesn't really taste like anything," reaction.
On the other hand, Morten's chocolate soufflé was intensely chocolate-y and quite rich, kind of on the fudgier end of cakey (if that makes any sense). They needed to inject some of that flavor into the panna cotta.
And there ended my most expensive meal in Florence, totaling around $40 if I had to guess, which is an amount of money I rarely spend on any meal. The steak alone was...(cough)...about $85. I didn't really calculate that until now. Jebus. Was it worth it? Shared between the three of us, I'd say yes, yes it was worth it.
It was also worth it to check out the neat restroom. ...Okay, maybe not. But it was an especially nice restroom with a motion sensor-controlled light and stacks of individual cloth towels next to the sink instead of paper. It was a nice touch.
On our walk back to the train station we passed a man emitting the tinkly sounds that one cannot help but make when carrying twenty (or so) keys, prompting Kåre to share one of my favorite Kåre-isms of the trip:
"That guy had a lot of dingly danglies."
Some kind of uncontrollable laughter erupted from my throat. That tends to happen with me.
"Wait, say that again."
"DINGLY DANGLIES!!! NEHEHE!!!"
Oh Kåre, why do you have to be so irresistibly awesome? And why do you (and Morten) have to live so freakin' far away from me? (Sure, they could live farther away—they could live in Australia—but Norway is still kinda far.)
Thankfully our apartment was a short walk from the bus stop—otherwise we may have fallen asleep before we reached the door. Even though we didn't get to go to the Uffizi Gallery, I'd say we had a successful trip to Florence, "success" defined as gelato, more gelato, and steak.
Largo Piero Bargellini, 4
50122 Florence, Italy
Via di San Giuseppe, 4
50122 Florence, Italy