Nigel Thornberry, here!

My sister (and family) can probably attest to the fact that I was speaking in this accent the other night as I plodded home from a night out in Florence (drunk dials are quite an expensive international vice). But I think my drunken, accent/language loving, alter-ego may have actually been quite poignant when picking out this character because we have truly been explorers of Italy for these past days. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t talk to animals and our experiences haven’t been anything that hasn’t already been written about in Tour Italy guides across the globe, BUT it has still been nothing short of fantastic.

My rule about gelato has been kept to and, I won’t lie, I’ve been quite strict about this. But yesterday there were thanks all around because I’m pretty sure we found the best ice cream in Florence, and the best ice cream we’ve ever had. 3 experts surveyed, all in agreement.

One of the experts. Her face really says it all.

There are 1,000 stories I could tell about these past four days and nights here in Florence – the Academia, the David, the David’s p…arts, the Uffizi Gallery, every single piazza, every single cobblestone, every single bottle of wine, scoop of gelato, step of the 463 that it took to get us up to the most breathtaking view of Florence I’ve ever seen courtesy of the Duomo, every bite of pasta – whether it was tagliatelle or gnocchi, it’s all just been that good!

The climb to the top, around 150 steps in we stopped for a breather.

436 steps later…I’d say it was definitely worth the 360 degree Panoramic view. Malou, we’re going back and I’m taking you. Start training now, my friend!

And as for the people here, they’ve have been fantastic – and extremely, extremely patient – with this American girl’s attempts at speaking Italian. They’ve also been insanely nice, although coming from France, this apparant change in attitude is probably amplified for us because it’s really not that hard to be nicer than the French. Stereotyping. Sorry (I’m not sorry). If the Italians we encountered at Oktoberfest were any indication of how friendly (and quelquefois a bit persistant) Italians can be, we certainly encountered more of their kind here! I think I’ve come away from these past 6 days with over 15 new requests on Facebook? Man, Europeans love this social networking thing. BTW, all requests are pending.

But today we leave for Rome, continuing our vacation in the Eternal City – and just in time for my favorite holiday…Halloween! Reports are in: this is celebrated in Italy, so I won’t look as crazy as I expected when I put on a costume and celebrate. But we have many things to do, many plans to be made and many friends to meet up with before then! The brave (and wig hunting) Hannah Berkman has managed to outwit the strikers of France (seriously guys, still?) and get to Rome, along with some other recurring cast members such as Christina Houser (the Oktoberfest episodes), Jamie Shapiro (AUCP cast) and I’m sure we’ll have some surprise guests from people that we don’t know are even in Rome but – OMG, you’re here too?! It’s gonna happen…

In fact, this did happen to me over dinner last night – which could have been the most amazing food, wine, dining, everything experience of this trip. Quick story: I turn around to hear English being spoken with a slight Westchesta twang (you know the accent) and thus, in a very out of character move, strike up conversation. Less than 5 minutes later I am listing names of any girl from Briarcliff who ever played Lady Knicks basketball circa 8th grade. Strange, huh? Even stranger, this girl knew who I was talking about. The world is tiny, the word ‘small’ doesn’t even do it justice.

Okay, on to Oil Shoppe (we’ve become regulars at the best panini place in Florence in only 4 days), the Duomo, a last gelato in Florence and then train to Rome! See you in la Citta Eterna!

The Florence Crew on top of the Uffizi.

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