Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Photo Friday: Breathtaking

When we were in Florence, Italy, in September 2009, we went to the Mercado Centrale, or Central Market. I’ve never seen anything like it – all kinds of fresh and preserved foods, wines, vinegars, oils – it went on and on and on. Took my breath away to think about being able to shop in a place like that every day.

Mercado Centrale (Central Market) in Florence, Italy

This is my entry in the weekly photo challenge at Photo Friday. Last week’s topic was Breathtaking (yeah, I’m late posting again).

Photo Friday: Travels

Time flies when you’re freezing half to death. I can’t believe it’s been so cold here in January. So that’s my excuse for not blogging more ;-) That and my micro-studio fell apart and I haven’t found a suitable new box for it yet. Anyway …

This week’s Photo Friday challenge is Travels, and those of you who know us know we love to travel. So for this challenge, I went back to the photos from our 25th anniversary trip to Europe in 2009. We had purchased train tickets for traveling from Rome to Florence and then from Florence to Zurich to Frankfurt to go home, and we had an extra day of travel on the tickets. So while we were in Florence, we took a side trip to Pisa.

This is when you find out how important prior planning is ;-) Since the tower isn’t stable (it’s leaning, after all), they limit the number of people who can climb it at one time, and you have to buy tickets in advance. We had no tickets, so we spent a beautiful afternoon wandering the grounds and taking pictures of the tower, the cathedral and the baptistery.

I was hungry after we traveled to Pisa and walked several blocks from the train station to the grounds, so I bought a local specialty as a snack – marinated seafood salad – and ate that as we sat and admired the beautiful marble that comprised the buildings.

Seafood salad in Pisa
Marinated seafood salad and Pisa guidebook

The popular thing to do in Pisa, apparently, is to hold your arms as if you’re preventing the tower from falling over. I can’t tell you how funny it was to see dozens of people from all over the world all posing the same way.

"Holding up" the Leaning Tower of Pisa
“Holding up" the Leaning Tower of Pisa

The tower *is* leaning to a frightening degree. It was definitely worth the side trip to see it again (for me – Dan had never seen it before).

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Photo Friday: Blurred

On our last night in Florence, Italy, in September 2009, Dan and I went for a walk across the Arno River bridge near our hotel, to get a view of the river and the city from the other side. Such a beautiful city.
Photo Friday: Blurred

This is my contribution to Photo Friday, the weekly photo challenge. This week’s topic is Blurred.

Photo Friday: Self-Portrait

I don’t shoot portraits much at all, much less self-portraits. For some reason, I like shooting landscapes, buildings and food a lot more than taking pix of people. But this is for Photo Friday’s weekly challenge. This week, it’s Self-Portrait.

Here’s one from our recent trip to Florence, Italy, in September. Our room at the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi along the Arno River had a great view of the river and the Piazza de Michelangelo on a hill across the water. We took a bus up there one day and got some amazing photos of the city skyline. See more pix from our trip at my Flickr site.

Photo Friday: Self-Portrait

Norfolk Needs a Mercato Centrale

When we were in Florence, Italy in September, we happened upon the Mercato Centrale, or Central Market. Between Via dell’Ariento and Via San Antonio is a building about the size of Norfolk’s Waterside Festival Marketplace (I’m not great at spatial awareness, so don’t hold me to that), filled with row upon row of booths selling an amazing variety of fresh and preserved fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, herbs, spices, wines, oils and vinegars, flowers and prepared foods I think I’ve ever seen. I wished I could buy a week’s worth of groceries and start cooking, but we were staying in a hotel with no kitchen in the room (it had a great breakfast buffet and I stuffed myself on prosciutto, but that’s another story…)

The City of Norfolk, Virginia, is looking for a new concept to transform the aging Waterside Festival Marketplace on the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk. Dan and I were talking about this recently and he said, “They should turn it into a food market like the Mercato Centrale in Florence.” There’s lots of easy parking, and it’s close to I-264, not to mention the ferry from Portsmouth, to bring shoppers from all parts of Hampton Roads. The Buy Fresh, Buy Local movement is taking hold here with more and more consumers interested in purchasing fresh, locally grown and raised groceries, and the cruise ships that dock nearby bring tourists interested in taking home Virginia-grown products.

What do the rest of you Hampton Roads residents think? What do we need to do to help make this happen?

Contest to Win Penzey’s Fall Spices

Several years ago, I was visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Oak Park, Il., just outside Chicago, and since they had to work one day I was there, I took a walk around downtown Oak Park. And discovered the Penzey’s store there. I was blown away by the huge variety of herbs and spices there, and I’ve been ordering from there ever since. I even had my brother bring me some Greek seasoning last time they visited!

So yes, I would love to win the spices being given away by Sugared Ellipses. You can enter till Dec. 15.

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