So here is an update on events of the last week or so in Florence. The first thing I want to mention actually took place a couple of weeks ago, however, it was not till recently that I managed to get my hands on some footage (thank you Catriona) of our flat supper and more importantly a game of ‘Zoomie Zoomay’. I couldn’t not include this video clip, firstly because this game is a bit of a big deal in certain circles up in Edinburgh and secondly because it is quite amusing seeing a foreigner try and play this game when even we English find it a bit difficult after a few drinks!
There’s still a lot of work to be done but I am optimistic that come the end of my time in Florence I will have all fellow flatmates coming through ‘Zoomie Zoomay’ and even ‘Slaps’ with as little damage as possible.
Last weekend I received a nice surprise as my Aunt and Uncle happened to be on holiday down near Cortona on the border of Tuscany and Umbria. Since they were flying out of Pisa on Saturday evening they thought it would be a good idea to get me to come out and see them for lunch at VillaMangiacane just outside of Florence before they went on to the airport. It was incredibly kind and generous of them and gave me the chance to relax by a pool and enjoy a wonderful lunch whilst getting away from the thousands of tourists and general humdrum that is Florence at the moment. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and the hotel itself was in a fantastic setting looking out onto the rolling hills of Tuscany with Florence tucked into the hills not too far off in the distance.
One reason in particular as to why Florence is so busy this week is because it is currently the host of the World Cycling Championships of 2013.
Now most locals have found this an absolute nightmare because it has completely ballsed up their day to day routine. Roads have been closed, buses have been cancelled and cyclists and tourists have flocked from far and wide to follow this event. I for one have not been too perturbed by the whole thing as it has done very little to affect me. On the contrary it’s been quite exciting and my flat is also ideally placed for part of the course. Indeed I just have to leave my front door, turn right and then again and instantly I find myself up against the barrier of the track with only a mile or two until the home straight.
I have a few video clips of the event and even managed to see Bradley Wiggins race past on his way to a silver medal on Wednesday. Alas, my recording ability was not quite up to scratch as I manage to almost completely miss Wiggins as he goes past since I was much more interested in watching him myself. But I do assure you that it is him! I'm really sorry also for the fact that I have not rotated the videos either.
Watching all this cycling has got me all eager to get back on a bike again. You may or may not know but I along with two other friends cycled from Kent to Cannes earlier this year and I am very keen to conquer Italy as my next challenge at some point during my Erasmus year. Hopefully with the help from my trusty two companions from the last adventure!
I went to The Old Stove (Check) last night, an Irish pub, to watch the football. It was Inter v Fiorentina, so a big game for all the locals. The bar was absolutely rammed for the game and I luckily got there early and grabbed myself a seat. They have a good little set up with a TV set up outside the bar with lots of tables and chairs so people can watch the game outside. I was quickly joined at my table by a trio of Italian guys probably around my age with whom I had a few chats throughout the game. I even managed to follow quite a lot of their conversations with each other, even when one was absolutely incredulous that Neto, the Fiorentina goalkeeper, was only a 73 on the new FIFA 14 player ratings! I found this quite amusing.
Fiorentina sadly lost the game 2-1 despite taking the lead. It was a shame but it was still good fun watching the match, especially when surrounded by so many passionate fans. One man would shout, without exception, every ten minutes or so the word ‘VIOLA!!’ at the top of his voice twice when he felt the mood in the bar was getting too settled! Crazy.
In other news I am battling my way through the first Harry Potter in Italian. It’s actually more difficult than I thought it would be since I know the story line pretty well. But that is good I suppose and hopefully it is doing some good for my language. Uni starts on Monday which is also pretty exciting as after three weeks out here I am definitely ready to get stuck into more stuff and hopefully meet a lot more people.
My phrase of the day, I say day, it’s more like post, is: ‘Chi se ne frega?!’ ‘Who gives a damn?!’ Very nice.