I’m Exploding

That’s what my family says when they’ve eaten too much. In Italian.

What do you do in Florence on a Monday when the weather is a disaster and all the museums are closed? You update your blog, yes. And go to churches, because God doesn’t close on Mondays, and take a three-hour wakling tour in the rain, of course. And eat until you’ve given yourself some sort of eating-too-much spraining of your inner organs.

I find this trattoria by accident because the other one I wanted to go to is closed, and it’s in an alleyway and seems kind of dark and cheery with spendy bottles of wine on all the walls and three courses costs 7 Euro.

On a Monday in Florence when all the museums are closed and the weather is a disaster, the best thing to do is eat. And walk. And eat more.

Grom serves the best gelato in Florence. Punchline, wait for it: Grom also serves the best gelato in New York City.

Grom opened its NYC branch last summer on the Upper West Side and in the weeks following, it was frequented by its handsome, wealthy, Italian, vinyard-owning-but-now-doing-the-gelato-thing Florentine owners. That was reason enough to show up, but the gelato was pretty good too.

Actually, it was the best gelato I’ve ever had. There was a Times piece, bien sur, and the lines spun around the block, but in Florence the place was empty and the flavors were better. And that’s basically Europe in a nutshell.

There’s no line and the flavors are better.

But at Grom, Florence, I got a single scoop of pear in a cone and walked around with it in the rain and was happy. Because I get sick of cathedrals, but I never get sick of ice cream. And walking.

As a footnote, I’m having a crisis about this blog and it is as follows: I feel like I have nothing new to say about any of these places. What can I tell you about Florence that you can’t read elsewhere? Answer: I don’t really know. I’m bad at making my blogs Informative! or helpful in regards to the discovery of new things, or insightful in any sort of philosophical way. I can only write about what I see: peeling paint, statues pale like the morning sky, that dome that people call a lantern because it looks like one and is one, metaphorically. But you’ve been. You’ve seen it. Or you’ve read about it. Or you’re hooked up with some actually Informative! blog somewhere that is actually useful to you in some concrete way. Or you’ve seen Under the Tuscan Sun and you think you know and that’s good enough for you, for now. Until you actually go. Which you will.

And I can’t divulge CRAZY TRAVEL ANECDOTES because the people who would be sorely incriminated in such anecdotes are… reading this blog.

And so the spiral continues. Truth vs. Good Reading. Honesty vs. Hurting Everyone’s Feelings. Not that it would, but I’m assuming. The Ugly Realtiy vs. What Should Go in a Blog.

Also problematic? I type poorly on European keyboards and internet access here is limited and spendy. Example: Note that there are no parentheses in this post and that none of this has been spell checked? Why? Because of what I have just stated. Parentheses? I don’t know where the keys are. Spell check? Takes too long.

I live in a hundred different cages as a writer. But if you know me even a little bit, you know this all too well. And if you don’t, then you should just trust that I am having a good time. And learning. And putting together all the pieces of all the art in all the museums I’ve ever seen, and all the factoids I learned in history class, and all the stories I’ve seen on CNN. And learning how to not be scared. Because that was the whole point of this.

Well, this had a lot of points. But that was a big one.

This meaning moving to France. And going. And doing something that I really wanted to do. In spite of the fact that it scared me in a lot of ways. And tore all my precious safety nets to shreds.

So if you can trust all that, maybe you can read this, whatever this is, and be OK with it. And take something from it. And if you can, then I’ll just write. And we’ll see where it takes us.

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