Saturday, May 17, 2014

Giardino Boboli

Today we slept in a little; we are both enjoying our trip, but the constant motion is perhaps taking a bit of a toll. We lingered over our breakfast and decided to visit Boboli Gardens today, as it is a lovely cool day, the gardens are close, and we both wanted a bit of the natural world as a counter to the art and architecture we have been enjoying. 

First we headed to the Sapori e Dintorni Conad supermercato on Via de Bardi for acqua and ambrosoli miele candies. At the garden, we walked down to the limonaia, which we could not enter this time—a real pity, as the garden is full of lemon trees bearing fruit, as well as peonies and roses. Peonies were in bloom everywhere, seas of pink and white—it was beautiful. 

Next we meandered to the Isolotto; again, full of peonies, roses and lemon trees, spectacular in the sunshine. We sat and watched a crane fishing in the pond; lovely, peaceful and quiet, even though there were many people enjoying the garden. We walked back up the far side of the garden and took a slight circuitous route (because of bits closed off for work) to the Museo delle Porcellane, not because we wanted to look at porcelain, but because it sits high on the hill at the back of the garden and commands views of the surrounding countryside. Again, phenomenal gardens there filled with roses and peonies.

From there we drifted over to the Kaffeehaus and again admired the views toward Florence. We walked down the grand stairs in the amphitheater (this time, please note, we were smart enough NOT to walk UP them, which we did on our first visit). On the way out, we looked at the spectacular rose gardens, full of both roses and peonies (sensing a theme?). 

On the way back to La Scaletta, we looked at the work of the street artists who set up at Palazzo Pitti and found a couple of watercolors for my mother. At the hotel, we ate insalata caprese and drank Negronis (and Nancy had another chocolate flan, this time with fragola gelato as an accompaniment!) and advised a travel writer from Minnesota about what to see, as she was only in Florence for a short time.

We went back to the room for a bit, where Shawn had a shower and I rubbed down his lower back, which was spasming. While Shawn napped, I caught up this journal and read; lovely as our trip has been, it is feeling good to have these periods of little motion over the last couple of days. We will try again for dinner at Il SantoBevitore this evening.... Il Santo Bevitore was full up this evening when Cristina called; she made us a reservation for 8 PM there tomorrow night, so we'll see if it lives up to its reputation as a hip spot with good food.

I hit a wall this evening, just exhausted before we even started to think about what else to do for dinner, so we looked a bit at Trip Advisor, but then just headed out toward Via dei Bardi to see what options looked good. Shawn had read about Ristorante Alfredo Sull'Arno on Trip Advisor; I was so tired that I had hardly looked—and, to be honest, and somewhat surprisingly for me, I was tired of looking, too. I'm actually about ready to stop choosing restaurants and be able to just make something when I'm hungry. I definitely want an apartment the next time we do this, so that sometimes we can have meals at home. 

Anyway, we tried Ristorante Alfredo Sull'Arno; the view of the Arno and the Uffizi was lovely, as it was just fading to dusk. Our table was a bit cramped; tables here seemed closer together than elsewhere. I had a  potato gnocchi with pesto and cherry tomatoes that was quite good; I don't remember what pasta Shawn had. We both had a plate of grilled vegetables for secondo, as the restaurant did not have the grilled mushrooms that Shawn tried to order. The vegetables were OK, but as we had just had grilled vegetables at La Reggia degli Etruschi as contorno, they simply did not compare. These tasted as though they had been grilled quite some time before, and the olive oil didn't have that lovely peppery finish that the truly good stuff has. We skipped dessert and went back to the hotel for an early night; I passed out pretty quickly.

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