"Do you want to go out for dinner?" He asks, eyebrows raised.
"Sure, but let's go somewhere casual." I'm not up for a four hour meal production tonight and John is always up for anything so I have to be specific.
"What about Tony's Pizzeria? It's the eighth best restaurant in Vicenza!" He offers. We feel much more empowered now that we have cellphones and technology at our fingertips. Though I've grown used to not depending upon my phone and continuously leave it behind in the hotel lately (sorry familia!). John scrolls through 'Trip Advisor' and google maps and coordinates our bus route while I change for dinner.
Tony's pizza is a small pizzeria tucked into south Vicenza, I suppose you could call it the 'slums' but nothing we've seen yet has been worn down enough to really warrant that title. The restaurant is clean and bright with paintings of Manhattan and New York on the walls and guests chattering away enjoying the natural warmth that the pizza ovens give off.
"How funny!" I point out the paintings to John, "I bet if you go to a pizzeria in manhattan they would have paintings of Italy.." We both laugh at the irony and our waiter comes over to take our order. He is a sweet man who speaks little English. With laugh lines around his mouth and smile lines that crinkle by his eyes. His skin giving away signs of a happy life.
I order margherita (basic cheese pizza with lots of basil) and John orders the carbonara (a pie that consists of bacon and egg layered with sauce and cheese). We make small talk and overhear the young men next to us discussing Alaska so John pipes in and asks if they're from AK. As it turns out one of the guys had transferred roughly a year ago and John and him had friends in common. They laugh at the coincidence and the waiter brings our drinks.
I had ordered a large coke but wanted ice so the waiter retreats to fetch me some. Coke products are everywhere in Italy but I have yet to see Pepsi products anywhere. It's an odd realization I came upon while dining out one evening.
I sip on my coke while John drinks his German beer,
"Woah, that's a little strong.." He exclaims with a laugh.
"Must be authentic." I tease with a smile. Soon the waiter has our pies in hand and sets them down for us.
Me being embarassing and preparing myself for this epic meal.
One of their pizza ovens I snapped a picture of as we were leaving.
John finishes his whole pie, and I leave what would probably be considered roughly two slices had it ben sliced, and we go pay the two men up front. I want gelato again but after a twenty minute fruitless search thanks to google, we come up empty handed and resign to the bus stop. John promising to take me later on in the week.
The next day John has no work appointments so we set off to go shopping in the city. It is a bright and sunny day, casting a humid yet light warmth over everything. I have been lusting after H&M since we we came to Italy over a week ago and today is the day I will get to explore. I've always loved H&M clothing from afar (the internet) but have never lived near enough to one to shop so stepping into the store was like a shopping dream coming to fruition. John weaves through racks with me, giving me advice on color and such when prompted. He really is great to shop with, despite his very male short attention span. I find three tops and a dress and we pay and leave. Of the two floors I could have easily purchased more but restrained myself.
Outside of H&M.
After H&M we continue on down the small street. It is the same street we found our restaurante at the past weekend and we window shop at the expensive leather and silk shops. We pass different lingerie boutiques and candy stores and odds and ends. I've nearly decided to turn around as I'm starting to get hungry when I spot Kiko. Kiko is a cosmetics company based out of Milan that does not sell their product in the US. I've been talking about them to John for weeks so when I squeal like a small child and run for the entrance he is not surprised in the least bit. Yet again I want to buy the whole store but am trying to save my money for the weekend so that I may buy some authentic Italian products from the weekend market we had seen before. Less than ten euro later I have a brand new gorgeous eyeshadow and we are back on track.
We begin seeing people with gelato coming from the direction we are traveling and we get excited. We finally come upon a gelateria and run in. John gets a scoop of 'kinder bueno' a flavor that has real kinder bueno candy bars in it. And I get a scoop of 'limone'. Mine is very tart yet still very creamy and John says his is to die for exclaiming that it tastes just like the candy. I don't like the bueno candies as they have hazelnut.
Outside of the gelato place who's name we cannot remember.
Like most places in Vicenza it does not exist when googled,
Though, this gelato was much better than Venchi, and if you come to visit
us we will definately be taking you there.
We are done shopping for the day and as none of the food places will reopen for a couple of hours we walk a little looking at some of the historical architecture and then decide to head back to base and grab a bite to eat from one of the Greek street vendors (best gyro you'll ever have).
John in the little square by the Teatro Olympico,
which also happens to be the end of the street we
One of the historical buildings that is actually a govrnment building
of some type.
Check out those life-size statues up top!
(This country is a Who fan's worst nightmare, I swear.)
We have quite a few appointments on Thursday with housing and in-processing, but after completing them set out for town once again. This time by taxi, to a Chinese restaurant we've heard a lot about. I'll let you experience this one via pictures with minimal annotation as the food was not an incredibly memorable experience, though the decor made quite the impact.
This guy reminded me of Mushu from Disney's Mulan,
so of course I had to get a photo with him.
The aquarium floor that housed multiple
species of fish including mini sharks.
I was very impressed by the size of this coca-cola
can. Cans of soda are shaped long and skinny here
but this one was the size of a typical
american energy drink, aka; too big.
Our main dishes, orange and cashew chicken.
The orange chicken was made with blood oranges,
a product native to Sicily and therefore very common
in dishes John and I have had. They are absolutely amazing.
Our deserts, a gelato-type mousse and a lemon layer cake.
John said that the large dark berry-looking thing on the lemon cake
was actually a licorice-type candy. Weird.
Okay, so there were a few memorable moments. For instance, the fact that the entire dining room floor was actually an aquarium you were expected to trust enough to not only walk, but dine on. It was definately John's sort of thing but it lead to me being squeamish nearly the whole dinner. Also, I made John switch plates with me for both course's as I liked what he had ordered much better. I doubt he'll allow me to 'try a bite' of anything else he orders for quite some time.
On a rather personal note, this week my family suffered a great loss. My cousin, much too young was taken in a tragic accident leaving behind two sweet girls and his wife. This loss has made me stop and appreciate what's in front of me. Being able to sit on a warm day eating gelato with my best friend. Or watching his face light up as we walk into an Italian camera store. Being able to love and be loved with no rules against it and nothing standing in my way. All in all it has been a good week filled with laughter, love and enjoying our new home. In light of my families loss I have committed myself to trying to enjoy the very many small pleasures in life.
The 'piccoli piaceri della vita'.