Florence: Thank goodness, found myself a kosher chicken sandwich

April 21- 23. Florence
In my hostel room of seven, I seem the only who finds 6:30 am too early to wake up. 

But I like these girls, mostly Koreans, save the Chinese girl in the bed next to me. The majority travel alone, all for an extended period. We stayed up late talking, our last night, sharing stories of our travels, their comments on the difficulties of being Asian in Europe. One girl, boasting 30 days of solo travel, commented on her dislike of Parisians. It’s a comment that typically irritates me; No one goes to New York expecting warm, welcoming arms. And no one holds it against New York when that warmth isn’t received. And fine Parisians rarely extend an air of hospitality (although largely more a result of cultural differences), but it's not the Parisians we, as the tourist, come to see. The city offers so much more, art and food, history and culture. Who cares that Parisians aren't lovely. The city, on the other hand, is.

Regardless, as an Asian struggling to speak English, I understood her point.
I passed by a small, kosher market after exiting Florence’s synagogue, my second afternoon in the city. The market sold chicken schnitzel sandwiches. To go, I asked. Absolutely, the lady at the counter answered.

She rummaged through the small freezer, pulling out a bag of schnitzel and bread. Tossing the two into the microwave, she sliced a tomato, tossing it over the mix of hummus and tahini that she layered over the defrosted bread. I waited until after climbing up to Piazzale Michelangelo (a beautiful lookout onto the city with a replica of Michelangelo’s David in the center of the plaza) to unwrap the silver foil encasing my kosher sandwich. And, funny enough, after a week of the most incredible Italian food, it tasted incredible to finally eat an ordinary (kosher) sandwich, once more. 

Florence is a small city, easily walkable and doable in a day, although worth the two days to take it a slower pace. As for the tourist traveling alone (namely, me), two and a half days is definitely a little too much. There are only so many buses you can hop on in attempt to see a different part of the city's outskirts. And there are only so many times you can pay seven euros for a tea and 20 euros for a book, to help pass the time. 

That being said, I loved the art, I loved the food. I loved the view from the top of Piazale Michelangelo and I loved sitting on the balcony of the Uffizi Gallery, people watching with a backdrop of Florence's famed Duomo. 

LOVED seeing Giambologna’s The Rape of the Sabine Woman displayed in Piazza della Signoria’s Loggia dei Lanzi. I hadn't known beforehand, but Giambologna had created the piece with no story or title in mind. The name came after, transforming what Giambologna had intended as a work to demonstrate a technical masterpiece, into one that, now, evokes such an extreme level of tension and passion, movement and emotion. If the work carried a different title, would we pick up on the tension within the figures, or would the tension translate to a tender sensuality? How much of the work, as we perceive it today, truly matches Giambologna’s own vision in how we wanted us to look at the work? And how much power does a name have in constructing our own vision of reality? 

I loved seeing Michelangelo’s David. Michelangelo had a thing for hands, one he didn't leave out in the detail of David's own hands (as in the rest of his body). 

And I loved my gnocchi at the restaurant, San Spirito. Minus sitting at a table for four, opposite an empty chair and directly next to a couple on their night out, the gnocchi (and free glass of champagne) made the sitting situation SO WORTH IT. Lathered in cheese and truffle oil, the dish has a similar consistency to mac ‘n cheese. But Italian style. And a thousand times better.

Top: Florence's Duomo
Bottom L: Florence's Synagogue, R: The Duomo poking out from the view at Piazzale Michelangelo

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