Saturday, November 29, 2008


We are in Florence, where keyboards have oddly placed shift keys.

So far we have seen the Duomo, the Uffizi Galleries, and had a truly phenomenal meal. JeffĂ s best in Italy so far (mine too).

Now we are off to meet Corey for some pizza, more updates later.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

First Dinner in Genoa

The internet - named "alice" - or as Jeff says, "ah-lee-chay," does not like to work in his apartment. He and I are thus unable to post pictures of my first dinner in Italy and of his Fibonacci scarf. Fibonacci, incidentally, was Italian and may have been from Pisa. What an appropriate scarf pattern.

Despite the inability to post pictures, I will, as promised, write a bit about our meal. We went to a place called "I Tre Merli," which means "three blackbirds." [Jeff's dictionary said "zoo. blackbird" - but apparently "zoo" is just an abbreviation for zoological.]

Our meal started with a nice aperitif of a crisp, sparkling, white wine. Jeff and I both thought it was pretty tasty. We ordered a cheese plate to start. Having been burned by the tiny cheese plate selections in some SF restaurants, I was expecting a small portion, but this was a MASSIVE (Jeff says "substantial") cheese platter. One was delicious and truffle-y and spotted and somewhat grey, one was creamy and blue, one was somewhat harder and might have had mushrooms in it, one was somewhat soft and tangy and white, and one was a little creamy and also delicious. All of them were scrumptious actually and they were served with yummy bread, mustard, honey, and walnuts.

For the primi - I had some hazelnut lasagna noodles with pesto and potatoes and green beans. Very good, very filling. I thought the pesto was excellent, but mostly unintelligible as authentically "Genoese." Jeff had ravioli with "cheesy and maybe some fishy stuff" along with mussels on top with tomatoes. The mussels were bombtastic. Jeff convinced me to order a secondi - which was FAR too much food. He had a dried cod stew. Jeff ordered it because it's a Genoese specialty, but found it "serviceable," although the olives were tasty. My "cioppin" seafood soup was very tasty - especially the mussels and the giant shrimp. Overall, if the various dishes in our meal had been in a gladiator fight, the cheese plate and my pesto pasta would have been the victors.

We were too stuffed for dessert, but I am baking a pumpkin pie tonight. Hopefully it will turn out, the oven does not have a working temperature gauge... Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In Genoa, In Small, Girly Room

I have arrived safely in Genoa. Jeff met me in the oldest, most 1970s style airport I've ever seen. Although I noticed two men in military dress just standing around, I otherwise noted no security and just walked off the plane, grabbed my luggage, and lo and behold, I was in Italy.

On the flight from Munich to Genoa, Lufthansa had passed us off to some low budget regional Italian airline called Air Massimo or Dolmathes (?) or something. The flight attendants were twenty-something Italians with bleach blond hair, lots of makeup, and polyester teal skirt suits. The suits were something else. Although the flight attendant spoke English to the portly British gentleman seated in front of me, she seemed to insist on speaking Italian to me, despite the fact that I answered in English or with "gratze" - assuming that meant thank you. I guess I look Italian, despite not having bleach blond hair or sporting a polyester suit.

As for other fashion observations, most men on my flight wore suits. I don't know whether this is something I can generalize about all Italian men, or if I was just flying with primarily business dudes. Also, there seems to be a real trend among these men to wear scarves with vertical stripes - knitted lengthwise - instead of horizontal stripes. I hope that Mr. Misfit is not feeling too gauche with his awesome , horizontally striped, fibonacci scarf around here.

Regarding the title of this post, Mr. Misfit shares his apartment with four young Italian college students. I met the youngest two, who speak no English, this afternoon. They are quite adorable and named Carola and Carolina. So far I cannot tell them apart, but they are very sweet. While I was washing lunch dishes we were somehow able to communicate the fact that Carol(in)a was going to take a shower so the bathroom would be occupied. I suppose the shower may get crowded with six people in the apartment so I'll have to ask Jeff how to communicate the same thing later on. Before Senor Jeff moved in, another girl, who, judging from the decor, had a penchant for dance movies (Grease, Dirty Dancing and "Strictly Come Dancercize*") and cats, lived here. Now we are living here, and it is pretty hilarious so far.

Now that I've slept twelve hours, had some lunch with Jeff and Ben, and Jeff is at the archives for the release of some website compiling 13th century stuff, after I finish blogging I will read and knit until Jeff comes home. Then I think I'll see some of Genoa, eat dinner, and sleep again. More adventures to come when I acclimate to the time difference. Should I get bored while Jeff is archiving it up, I may just report on this Dancersize video...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reflections on Munich

So, if I were Sarah Palin, I would talk about my vast experience in Germany based on the 4 hour layover I am spending here in Munich. Instead of claiming that level of foreign policy experience, I will share the following observations about Deutschland. From them I will likely make sweeping generalizations about Germans and Germany:

1. The airport is oddly quiet. Despite having marble/hardwood floors, everyone is hushed and civil. Germans are quiet (but seemingly talk fast). One notable exception is the young couple sitting behind me who recently broke into song. It was peppy, pop-music, no Uber Alles, in case you were curious.
2. The Internet speaks German. Germans speak German. QED.
3. Various cigarette makers sponsor "Smoking Zones" - which are like stationary revolving doors in which people stand around and puff away. So far, Camel seems to be the most popular sponsor of these cubicles.
4. Instead of the paper public toilet seat covers so prevalent in California (and oddly not found in the Midwest), German toilets have sanitizer that you're supposed to spray on toilet paper and use to wipe down the seat. I find this strangely intrusive - perhaps "too" clean. Also, the toilet paper comes in sheets, not in rolls, and each toilet has a brush sitting to the right side of the bowl. This overacheiving cleanliness somehow also strikes me as foul. I shudder to think at all the germs crawling on those brushes. Germany is, perhaps, not as clean as you would think.
5. There is not a drinking fountain to be found in this place. Has Germany no public water fountains?? I should write to Angela Merkel about this outrage.
6. Janitors ride Segways!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ciao Spaghetti!

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go, I'm just waiting around for (not so) Super Shuttle to come pick me up and take me to SFO. According to Blogger, this is my 101st post on this piece of interweb terrain and it will be my last in the US of A for a month.

To help me remember my journeys, I hope to post something on here most days, internet access permitting. To fulfill requests, expect photos of food and reviews of the pasta and gelato I consume. Depending on how things pan out, I may start a contest among the readership of "For God and Cheese" to see who can come closest to guessing the number of pounds that I gain as a result of being in Italy. It remains to be seen whether I'll actually want to divulge that information.

I'm sure I'll also have adventures to report from old churches, hikes, cafes, Pompeii, a famous ossuary, old churches, museums, and more old churches. To fulfill another request, I'll also write a bit about my attempt to learn Spanish, while in Italy and the Czech Republic. This should be interesante and might be ill-advised. In addition to my language studies and copious eating I also plan to knit like the wind for all the babies that my friends and family will soon be bringing into the world. Perhaps by the time I return I will also absorb a bit of Italian and will be able to say more than the title of this post.