Nothing Keeps You Sober Like a 5-Course Dinner
Yesterday, for dinner, my host mom started by serving us eggplant parmesan, with bread of course. It was light, she claimed, because she grilled the eggplant instead of frying it - I'm not looking for light, so I was glad that it was still equal parts cheese and eggplant. The second course consisted of baked chicken and stewed mushrooms, and bread, and for dessert we had peaches with mint and sugar. Throughout the course of the meal, she refilled my wine glass, and so when Catherine, Kelsey and Sara asked if I wanted to go out, I thought "why not?"
We carefully planned our route: Kelsey and her roommate walked to my corner, so once it was me and Kelsey her roommate could cross the Piazza to meet her friends. Kelsey and I then picked up Cathy (who lives 3 blocks from campus, and somehow it has taken her 30 minutes to get to school everyday so far), and wandered down to Il Duomo to get Sara. So far, I had not been catcalled a single time, but the nighttime is very different from the day time. We were hollered at by several men, some in groups or pairs, some on their own; men in cars, men in trucks, and one man driving a tour bus honked at us. Reassuring, on some level, because after dinner I had to take a quick fat nap before going out. In any case, all of a sudden, I was this girl:
Once we found Sara, we headed over in the direction of Il Duomo. A bit of background on this monolithic monument (from wikipedia):
"The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower) is the cathedral church of Florence, Italy. The Duomo, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris. The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting the region of Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed. The cathedral is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence, whose archbishop is currently Giuseppe Betori."
Blah blah blah... all that you really need to know is that it was funded by the Medici family, the most powerful family in the history of Florence, and is an architectural masterpiece... which is now surrounded by tourist bars.
We migrated into the Piazza del Duomo, and were shocked by the beauty and size of il Duomo at night! I will post photos up later today, of il Duomo both during day and night, so check back! We went to a restaurant first, and ordered a round of drinks. When we got the bill, only Catherine was tipsy, but all of us owed 7 Euro for the weak drinks. Then we went to a cheaper bar, and ordered another round, and dropped another 5 Euro. As a point of reference, I haven't spent 12 Euro on food since I have been here, and none of us were getting anywhere. So we decided to head home. 2 girls in the Piazza were so blotto that one was lying on the ground. They had their host brother, who I knew from the meeting, pick them up, but I was upset! At the end of the night, I didn't have much money left, and I wasn't even buzzed, and these girls and others like them were what gave the University, and the rest of the world, a bad impression of people like me. I woke up this morning, and was far too hungover for how sober I was last night. Moral of the story? Drinking in Italy is amazing, because really cheap wine is better than what we get here, but getting drunk only works if you are either willing to shell out the big bucks.