Sharp Monica

An honest voice in Italian paradise.

Un (altro) compleanno perfetto italiano

Yesterday was a perfect day.

We got all four of us on two bikes (Jason has two kid bikes seats on his bike, one fore and one aft) in the morning and headed up to Gioberti. A brief stop in a stationer’s sent us down a few doors to the optical shop, where we successfully obtained extremely cute school pictures for Eleanor, but Victor was having none of it. One for two.

Back on the bikes, Victor happily buckled into his aft seat, but Eleanor entered the mother of all tantrums when confronted with her catbird seat. Fifteen minutes later, we all walked back to Upim, me wheeling my bike on my right, Eleanor on my left hip. We chained the bikes between the street market and Upim and headed toward the nearest bar to address what has been diagnosed as a family attack of low blood sugar.

In the caffe, homemade sweets abounded: budino di riso, pear/chocolate chunk cake, and fresh doughnuts for the kids. Espresso for mom and dad, ACE for the kids. We asked the barista if there is anywhere to buy kids shoes. “Sure! Just across the street! I’ll take you there.” We look across the narrow street and see Lo Scoiattolo.

In the store, Eleanor immediately selected the most expensive pair of tennis shoes and tried them on. She then thankfully selected a less expensive, but still ridiculously priced, pair of Tommy Hilfiger canvas shoes for 47E. No shoes in the store were sufficiently red for Victor, who gamely observed, “there is just a red star on those shoes. That is not enough red.” We checked out of the Italian store for Italians with Italian prices. (The store did give us a discount of 5E for mentioning the barista across the street who pointed us across the street.)

We returned home (on the bikes, thankfully) and put Eleanor down for a nap after lunch. It’s my turn to take Victor out on the buses, so away we go down La Colonna.

We stopped to look at the bucchatte di vino and discuss how daddy juice is no longer delivered to the daddies of Florence directly, but the daddies must now go to the sfuso to procure their own daddy juice.

Victor tried it out for good measure, and wanted to know why the door was permanently sealed shut.

We hopped off at Anunziata and headed into Tiger to provision ourselves with toys for the evening.

We walked to San Marco, where Victor improbably announces that he wishes to enter the museum. In the museum, we discussed various points of theology on which I may have been a bit fuzzy. Twenty minutes later, Victor announces, “I’m done.”

 San Marco from the courtyard.
Yeah, mommy thought she was pretty strong in theology until this fresco kicked off all these important and pressing theological questions.

We caught the #1 bus and rode it around for awhile. Back at San Marco, it’s time for espresso and snacks, so we ducked into the Grand Caffe San Marco to procure a macchiato for me (with a cannolini siciliani) and a large glass of ACE for Victor, which he promptly glugged.

We returned home to meet back up with Jason and our friend Ellen, to prepare for, WONDER OF WONDERS, and adult birthday dinner plans thanks to the amazing offices of Flavia, aka Fla Fla, aka Flava Flav, who took the train up from Arezzo to mind the bambini while we dined like royalty.

A walk across the river to the Oltrarno and back to the enoteca of Ellen’s friends Edo and Shannon. A perfect evening – the air balmy and breezy, the Pitti looming majestically over its piazza. We ordered a vino importante that Edo kindly helped us select through a flight of samples. Let me tell you what we ate, because it was genuinely memorable: fried squash blossoms stuffed with fresh cheese, seared octopus over pureed chickpeas, a homemade terrine, then primi of various fresh pastas either filled with or covered generously by equally important cheeses. Edo brought us dessert wine and tiramisu in a tiny jarand we stumbled home amicably by the light of the reflection off the Arno’s silently slipping waters.

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