Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cambiaaaa tutto cambia.

This weekend was my first introduction to the Dolomites. Mountains. Snow. Ski. Mountain food. Mountain grog.

The View from our apartment- before snow.
The ski slope in view of our apartment- that I didn't attempt.
The View from our apartment- after snow. 

Together with Lorenzos cousins Erika and Cristiana, Cristianas husband Giovanni and Giovanni's son Lorenzo we rented apartments in La Villa, a small ski town in the Dolomites, for 4 nights. My ski teacher (Lorenzo) was tough but fair, and at the end of my second day I was skiing and falling with confidence. Perhaps somewhat ambitiously we took the ski lift up to a higher slope where I fell numerous times, bruising my hand and legs and drawing blood under my chin... spectacular fall if I do say so myself.

The professionals!

 The owners of the apartments were saying that this year is the worst year they have seen in terms of snow, obviously enough to ski on- because they make it at night, but the snow was very sparse on the surrounding hills. However Monday afternoon the snow came and it was just beautiful! Better late than never right!

The Girly Weekend

Remember the girls from my Italian class? Well a couple of weekends ago Amelia (American) and I went to visit Sofia (German) at her house in Dusseldorf!

We arrived late Friday night and stayed up stayed up to the wee hours catching up and drinking bubbles, which consequently meant it was a very relaxed start to Saturday. Sofia treated us to a good hearty German breakfast before taking us into Dusseldorf center to see the sights.

Together we saw the city, drank some gluhwein, took a walk along the Rhein, tried reibekuchen (potato cakes, something like hashbrowns or rosti... but made fresh infront of you and served with apple sauce... strange, but amazing), walked through the Christmas markets, ate currywurst and pommes, went to the top of the Burgplatz tower... to get a coffee... went to the port to see the crazy architecture by Frank Gehry, had more gluhwein, tried alt bier (at this point I'm giving up trying to discuise the fact that all we did was eat and drink) went out for sushi (because Dusseldorf has a huge Japanese population and therefore some amazing Japanese restaurants) followed by a glass of wine... then a movie at home with a big bowl of icecream, chocolate and more bubbles...


Although different from the party weekend I had imagined with super late nights and a few too many to drink, it was a fantastic girly weekend that I haven't had in ages, thank you girls!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Photo-less updates

I know photo-less blogs are boring however my new camera is broken (hooray). SO no photos today, but because is has been some weeks since I posted I thought I should give you an update...

Nothing much has been happening at all in these weeks that I have felt the need to share, the weather is getting colder (1 degree last night) but the days are still (touch wood) beautiful and the sun makes everything ok.

My debit card got cloned last week and they took a nice hunk out of my bank account, so I'm in the process of disputing and hopefully getting my money back for that.

I went to about 6 different patisseries last week to try and land myself another stage (this time focusing on pastry alone) but turns out the laws have changed since my stage with the Hotel and now I need to go to a school for at least a month in order to participate in a stage... and considering I only have about 2 and a half months before I make my way back to Australia, there isn't a whole lot of point in that.

Hotel Brunelleschi have offered me a job from April next year as their patissiere, which depending on visas (which as always, nobody knows how to apply for let alone know what visa I actually need) I am seriously considering.

My time has freed up alot since I finished my stage at the hotel so I have been working at the pub more regularly in these weeks and consequently my daily routine has changed to exclude mornings and the days here have been slipping away. It's hard to belive it's nearly Christmas!!!

Anyway, I will leave it at that. Hopefully the next time I blog I will have a camera and photos!!

Friday, October 28, 2011


Yesterday was the 14th birthday of Rebecca (the girl I live with) so I decided to make a cake...
When I get an idea in my head that I really like I find it really hard to change, so even though Sesame Street is pretty well unknown here, when I saw a picture of this cookie monster cake... I had to make it! It was a bit of a hunt to find blue colouring, but all worked out in the end and Rebecca even knew the character!! Amazing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


As usual I don't have a great excuse for not posting for the last... month... but I will try and excuse myself as best I can....
Partially I haven't been doing much out of the ordinary lately, and therefore I don't have many photos- a post without photos is like no post at all!
Secondly, the weekend I did actually do something, the card for my camera decided to die and I lost all the photos...
And then I'm just going to throw in that I haven't had a whole lot of motivation to post... sorry.
So here is an update of the last month (breif and without photos, because I lost them).
After 3 months, my stage at Hotel Brunelleschi has come to an end. They have offered me a contract as pastry chef for next year starting April if I am so inclined, however at this stage it looks like visas may dictate this one rather than what I actually would like to do as it is not an easy process to hold a working visa.
The weather is getting alot colder. i was a little disappointed that there wasn't so much of an inbetween time, we seemed to go from hot hot days then a week of hot days with cold nights and then straight to cold. Now it's raining. Better get used to that though I spose because it's going to get alot colder!
With the changing of the seasons comes the changing of style of living here, all the outdoor dining is now moved inside, outdoorsy bars are closing and nightclubs are opening, the river is rising and hunting season is open.
This weekend with Lorenzo his Dad and his dog we went hunting. We were up at 6.30am to driving an hour out of Florence into the hills. We then walked up hill for about half an hour through the woods in order to reach their hunting... "hut" (which is more like the tree house every kids dreams about) where we spent the next few hours... without seeing a single bird (a part from the ones they set up).

In my opinion, this Caccia (hunting in Italian) is an excuse for boys to be boys. Hiking through beautiful woods, sitting in your tree house and holding a gun, then when you get hungry, lighting a fire, cooking and eating with your hands (then wiping your hands on your pants without complaint from anyone... because you're hunting). If you ask me... there are no birds.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Birthdays and Beer festivals

 My birthday this year conveniently coincided with munich’s famous Oktoberfest, so when I received an invitation to stay with and attend the festival with a mixture of Germans, Italians and Australians I figured it was the perfect way to spend my 23rd birthday.
I took the night train on Friday night, arriving in Munich at 6.30am Saturday morning, just in time to see the dirndl and lederhosen clad youngsters returning home from the previous nights festivities.
After spending the day equipping myself with a Dirdle, we went to a historical section of the festival that was started last year to commemorate the 200th year of Oktoberfest. Last year the 6 Munich breweries came together to produce the beer that was brewed and drunk 200 years ago, it’s stronger, sweeter and was so popular last year that they decided to repeat the “historical Oktoberfest” again this year. So I happily washed down my giant pork knuckle with a stein of old fashion beer.

Sunday morning we had a traditional Baverian breakfast of weisswurst and beer followed by a lazy day before the big nights events.
Together with another 2 Australians, 2 Austrians, 1 Brit, 3 Italians, 4 Germans and 5 half German half Italians (one who lives in the UK), we had 2 tables booked in the Gallery level of the Augustine tent. Our tickets bought us the table from 5pm til 10pm, 2 beers (1L pints), half a roast chook each and a looot of fun.
I have to admit that although I wanted to go to Oktoberfest- more to say I had been and to see what all the hype was about... I really just expected that it would be a lot of sitting at a table drinking (or more likely on my part- struggling to drink) litres of beer whilst surrounded by drunk tourists. Yet I was really suprised... Yes, there were many many drunks, but I really didn't notice! Nor did I notice the 2 and a half litres of good German beer I drank that night (which may have something to do with the not noticing the drunks...) But Oktoberfest is full of history and tradition (which I learnt from one of the locals at my table) and apart from being primarily about the beer, it is still a festival with rides, sideshow games, candied almonds, music and costumes.

And whilst sitting at your table, drinking your beer and eating half a chook, the band on the ground floor is playing songs that everyone knows the words and actions to, so you find yourself straddling the bench seat rocking back and forth with the rest of people at your table, singing a mixture of eeeeeeee boo dii dddddaaaaaah lo li lah to the tune to make it look like you too know the song.

  The waiters are amazing, carring up to 14 beers at a time, through the hall and up the stairs to the tables!

It really was alot of fun. My birthday was shared with one of the other Australians in the group, and the group even organised a birthday treat for us, getting personalised lebkuchenherzen for us both. Thanks guys!

On monday night after spending the day in the beautiful English Gardens in Munich, I took another night train back to Florence arriving at 6.30am, ready to start work at 9am. Back to reality :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Festa Medievale

Last weekend, along with Lorenzo and his cousins, we made our way to Monttevettolini. A small walled fortress town perched on top of a hill, where once a year the whole town pitches in to throw a big medieval party.
When the idea was mentioned, the images that came to mind related back to the movie Role Models, where they all dress up and fight each other with fake swords in a forest, talking in old english about maidens and kings.

Luckily for me, it wasn't like that at all.
All of the participants were indeed in costume and although I don't speak Italian well enough yet to know whether or not they were talking in an old dialect, there certainly wasn't any fighting, nor was there space for a forest...

You have to remember that here in Italy they don't bother with fighting in forests when there are feasts and entertainment to be had! Walking through the giant wooden doors into the fortress we were greeted with a belly dancing, fire breathing trio, who had accrued a huge crowd. We made our way through the town, trying anchovie sandwiches, fried seafood cones, old fashioned wine, roast pork sandwiches, apple focaccia, peasant spice cake and peasant almond cake and watching a range of jesters, jugglers, fire throwers, falcon and owl tamers (not so sure about this one, I didn't really like the chains attached to their legs), candle makers, mushroom hunters and the list goes on...

Unfortunately I got a little wrapped up in the atmosphere of it all (or was constantly eating, making it hard to use my camera) and didn't get many photos of the costumes. But it was a really cool experience and not nearly as geeky as it is in American television!