I can see clearly now…

yep, that’s a trash can in the background.

Lately – like the last 6 months, maybe year, maybe more – I’ve noticed my eyes weren’t right. Reading glasses went from handy to have around to must have around – my vision just seemed off.  Things finally got bad enough that an eye exam couldn’t be avoided.  Turns out I’ve got old eyes (that’s a self diagnosis).  Like eyes old enough to need bifocals.  The eye dr guy gave me two options.  He said I could have two different pairs of glasses – one for distance and another close up.  That seemed a little excessive to me.  My other option was progressive lenses (like bifocals, but progressive-er.)  I went with progressive lenses.  I picked them up today.  Turns out there is a learning curve when it comes to progressive lenses.  For the first week I’m only supposed to wear them while I’m sitting down.  The 2nd week I can wear them and walk with them, except when I’m going up or down stairs. (or at least that’s how I’m translating “second week wear them all the time, except when you walk on different steps and after that you will feel better.”)  After week three all should be good.

As a side note I realized that maybe I don’t know myself all that well.  My glasses are purple.  My hair is bordering on purple.  I’ve always said that I don’t really like purple.  Maybe I’m wrong about that.

Bike Riding along the Tiber

It was our last day in Rome Sam everyone elses’ flights left about 4 hours before ours so Sam and I opted to be responsible for getting ourselves to the airport so we could enjoy one last morning.

We decided to rent bikes and ride along the Tiber River.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning or a better way to end our trip.

Plus, I got one more opportunity to hone my selfie skills.

Pretty sure that selfies while bicycle riding is like pro level.

There was also time for one last gelato before turning in our bicycles.

We grabbed sandwiches for the road and began our journey back to Thailand.

The David

Our second day in Florence and Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze was the #1 to do of the day and Rick Steves was gonna guide us.   We were off to see Michelangelo’s David.  (Turns out what I’d seen the day before was just a replica.)  It is incredible. 

But really what I took away from touring the Academia Gallery was that things haven’t changed all that much in the last however many centuries.  In the Gipsoteca Bartolini hall there are lots of statues and I noticed a few of them showed women reclining and watching TV.  I bet when the museum is empty they switch over to The Real Housewives of Firenze.

We finished our time in Florence with the Renaissance walking tour, once again Rick Steves was our guide.  The red dog in the window was not covered on his tour.

We had a short train ride back to Rome and then we all headed out for a celebratory birthday dinner for my mom.

The Duomo and the Uffizi

We were up early Tuesday to catch the train to Florence.  We got in, found our hotel, and headed out in search of food and coffee (the search for food and coffee was never very taxing). I knew one of the things to see in Florence was Michelangelo’s David.  I wasn’t sure exactly where they kept him and was a little surprised to find him in the middle of a food court.  I was also slightly alarmed to discover he’d developed a bit of an addiction.

After lunch it was time to find the Duomo.    It was a little hard to miss.  We took some time to tour the Duomo and climb the tower.

After the Duomo it was just a short skip and a jump to the Uffizi museum and another Rick Steves’ tour.  A good deal of the Uffizi was closed for renovation and I found myself a little bit mesmerized by all the painting on the ceilings.  Lots of man hours were dedicated to the painting of the ceilings. I mean lots.

We finished at the Uffizi had a late dinner and then hit the hay.  Pretty sure we were asleep by 9pm – at least those of us in my room.

Cooking School – Italy

One of the first things Sam and I thought about when we heard about the trip to Rome was cooking school, so I set about arranging it.  My mom came along, too.  Lots of food was eaten by all.

We started off with bruschette.  We didn’t make it, but we did see how easy it is to make.  Pretty sure the purpose of this course was to fill us up just enough that we wouldn’t be tempted to eat what we were cooking as we were cooking it.

After the bruschette we were put to work making broccolo romanesco (Roman Broccoli).

Learning some chef skills and finishing up the Roman Broccoli

After we got the broccoli going we went ahead and made desert.  Tiramisu.  It’s no bake, but does require some time to set.

Next up was the Saltimbocca all Romana.  Veal with proprosciutto and basil.

The only thing left to make was Le Fettuccine al sugo di pomodoro & basilico or Fettuccine with Tomato and Basil Sauce.

After we finished cooking it was time to enjoy it.  We enjoyed a fantastic meal.  A giant meal.  Starting with a very simple antipasto.   We didn’t cook this one, no cooking really required, but we did eat it up.

We haven’t tried any of these recipes since we’ve gotten home, but have plans to try them all.

Donuts, Trastevere, and the Capuchin Crypt

We started Sunday morning at a flea market of sorts where we found a giant donut.  It made an excellent breakfast.

Then we were off to Trastevere and Rick Steves was our guide – again.

We grabbed some pizza.  By this point I’m pretty sure that Paleo is stupid.

Once we had sufficiently carb loaded we headed out on our next adventure.  On our way we passed by an old favorite – the closed Trevi Fountain.  It was so amazing at night that we were glad to see it during the day.

There are ruins everywhere.  You really can’t avoid them.

We found what we were looking for – the Santa Maria della Immacolata Concezione dei Cappuccini church.  It was closed, but we were really there to see the museum and the Capuchin Crypt that are under the church.

It was a little creepy.  No photos allowed so I lifted this from here.

Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps

I am not exactly sure of what we did the morning of the 5th day.  The only pictures I took were of our suitcases

that's lots of suitcases for 6 people

that’s lots of suitcases for 6 people

some questionable gelato

and Ronald McDonald

That night we walked to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.  We went a bit of a roundabout way to get to the Trevi Fountain.  We finally broke down and asked for directions.  The very nice guy said, “Trevi Fountain?  There’s a little problem, but you are close.”  He gave us directions.  We understood the directions and we found the fountain.

Pretty sure the “little problem” was that it was closed.  I can only imagine it’s really, really awesome when it is actually doing fountain stuff.  Oh well, on to the Spanish Steps.

We might have gone a bit of a roundabout way to get to the Spanish Steps, but that was okay.  We found them and that was our goal.

They, too, were closed.  But our step count for the day was impressive.