life / travel

Vacation Thoughts (ps Hello Again!)

So, hello everyone! I am back stateside and juuust about ready to knuckle down for some good, bloody, vexing Viking action. Are you guys as ready as I am? (I hope so! Even though, if all that’s left with my late reviews is two viewers – it will still be completely worth it, you guys spoil me rotten)


The place we rented in Italy was absolutely stunning. We rented out a condo in Florence (or, Firenze) and, from there, made our way out for various day trips, sight-seeing, and museum-seeing. It set the tone for a more even pace and gave us a home base to bring back groceries, pastries, and any other potentially non-consumable goodies we bought along the way – oh, and did I mention it was beautiful?


This was in the study. Fresco ceilings!!


And this was outside. Seriously. This was outside of the main windows. If you ignore the fact that there were armed guards around it 24/7, it was downright romantic. Sigh. S i g h.

However, this place also had an upload rate straight out of 1998. I intended on writing a few anecdotes here and there, until I realized that it would take 50 minutes to upload a single photo, watching every single pixel load one-by-one until it hit an error in the home stretch and made me start all over again. That’s my excuse. When it takes a dream and a prayer to load Facebook to stalk relatives and friends I haven’t spoken to since high school, you know you’ve got issues.


Anyway! Delayed all the same.


Do you want a run-down of all the things we saw? Do you? Well, here it is in a nutshell: Basilica of Santa Croce, Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, Museo di San Marco, Medici Chapels (and museum), the Duomo (we conquered it – picture incoming!), Brunelleschi’s cupola, the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, Piazzale Michelangelo, the Ognissanti Church (aka the Church of the Vespucci’s), San Miniato al Monte Church (we missed the monks singing, which is a shame, but that has been duly added to the bucket list!), Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Bargello National Museum, as well as two day trips to San Gimignano and Siena.


Just let that sink in. It was as exhausting and whirlwind-y as you would expect it to be! Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t completely amazing, because it absolutely was.



Before I left, everyone was warning me about Italian men and how I should put on all stops to not fall in love with one and be whisked away on a romantic life-changing adventure, not knowing that it was never going to happen despite their impeccable style and even more impeccable way of keeping a permanent five o’clock shadow and look just scruffy enough to look super masculine, mostly because when I studied in Germany I dated a dyed-to-the-wool Italian and it was…not great? An experience? A learning experience? But, that’s neither here nor there. Yes, the men are absolutely beautiful. Nah, I’ll pass on finding love quite yet.


But, if there was something that would, actually, make me stay, it would be the food.


I’m sorry, while I was gone I fell in love with food and fell deeper in love with the succor that is wine. Is it possible to have nuptials with food? Yes. I, Shannon, take this buffalo mozzarella pizza to be my lawfully wedded husband. Until I eat it. Double that, if there’s prosciutto on it.


(when I do find The One, maybe I’ll avoid writing my own vows)


Seriously, between the delicious pasta, the plethora of cheese, the citrus fruits that tasted and smelled like sunshine, the tomatoes that still smelled like the vine even when they sat in the middle of the table, the pizza (the pizza.), the gelato (oh my god what is it made with? is it made with magic? actually, don’t tell me the actual ingredients, because I know that “unpasteurized milk” is a big part of it, but “magic” is a suitable explanation), and the wondrous concoction of ricotta and pastry dough that is a sfogliatella, I could just live there and die there eating way too much, way too often, and wash it down with espresso and wine. Horrifically hedonistic, perhaps. Whatever. Just call me Bacchus.


And then, it was over. Just like that. It’s crazy to think that it went so fast? But, I knew I had left the land of rhetorical milk and honey when the first flight returning home gave me a cheese and mayo sandwich for breakfast, and, little known fact, I have avoided mayo (because I think it tastes gross unless it is thoroughly drowned out by other things) since my early teens. The illusion was shattered.


But, life goes on. It was a thoroughly needed, thoroughly wonderful trip.

8 thoughts on “Vacation Thoughts (ps Hello Again!)

  1. Welcome back Shannon, looks like you had a great time.

    I’ve never been to Florence myself, the most I learned about it was from reading Dan Brown’s “Inferno” I think. I think I recognize some of the names of places you rattled of from that book.

    The Italians sure do know their food and wine though, something you definatly seem to have discovered. If gelato isn’t made with magic there must be rainbows in the recipe, or possibly unicorns. The fruit that actually smells like it’s supposed to is indeed divine as well.

    While Vikings is as crazy as ever this season, the lack of your uniquely hillarious viewpoint on the show has definatly been felt. So I’ll definatly still be here once you start catching up on episodes.

    And the show isn’t going anywhere. Just the other day it was renewed for another supersized season. Season 5 will be 20 episodes as well.

  2. Gaah. You went to Florence. FLORENCE ? The city of the Medici family ?

    I’m insanely jealous. And was that frescoed ceiling in the *study* of your CONDO ? Tell me that’s so.

    And yeah I can understand how gelato can be so heavenly. There’s this Italian restaurant called Trattoria Lisinia about 15 miles out. The people who run it are from Italy, originally…so they have honest to goodness gelatos there…but their dessert crown jewel absolutely is the tiramasu. I always have that whenever I go there.


  3. In my humble opinion, Firenze must be the most beautiful city in the world. I go to Italy several times every year, both for work and other reasons. I therefore so understand you fell in love with it; it truly is a place like no other. And although I love all historical eras, those few decades from 1470 until 1520 in the heart of the Renaissance with its world famous historical people such as Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Cesare Borgia, Lucrezia Borgia, Isabel of Castile, Brunelleschi, Lorenzo il Magnifico, Colombus (the list is long…) stole my heart completely. I am looking forward to your reviews again – I missed them! Ciao!

  4. Hello Shannon!
    I’ve been stalking your blog for Viking reviews for years now, so it’s about time I left a comment! I completely agree with what Jon said, the lack of your hilarious viewpoints have been felt. Vikings without your reviews is sorta like pizza without cheese.

    Glad you had such an amazing trip!

  5. Oh welcome back. I love your reviews,. we are watching series four now and just finished episode three. I am liking this series much more than the last one. Your holiday sounds utterly scrumptious, like music for all the senses. I can’t wait to read your reviews again. We live in Melbourne Australia, a great foodie place with many brilliant italian restaurants and cafes run by italians, but I have heard that NOTHING tastes like italian food in italy, their produce is ripened in the ground for a start and fresh as can be…

  6. Pingback: Review: ‘Vikings,’ Season 4, Episode 1, ‘Kill The Queen’ | hot diggity daffodil!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s