Friday, May 28, 2010

Time for Change

I'm in Florence today.  Got in last night after a flight to Milan and a 3.5 hour train ride to Florence.  I’m glad to be leaving Germany.  I feel like I’m ready for a new country, a new city, a new language.  Granted I don’t speak a lick of Italian, at least I have my boyfriend and a Bianchi road bike here

Recap of my German experience:
I didn’t like Berlin at first:  the architecture is just plain ugly, the weather was bad the first few days (cold and windy) and I don’t speak German.  The last complaint isn’t really any fault of the city but of my own.  The city didn’t appeal to me the first week I was there, but I have to admit that it grew on me the last few days of the trip.  Once I started chatting to people on the tram or in pubs, I realized that Berliners or its ex-pats are pretty interesting and nice people.  The more I ventured into dark, practically hidden bars, the more I understood the charm of the city—it’s such an alternative place to live and it has a “badass” feel to it.

Wednesday night, we had dinner atop the giant TV tower in the middle of the city.  It was nice to have a long dinner with a bunch of journalism students while rotating (the floor rotates while you eat) around the city.  I’ll miss the group for sure.  Two of the students from the group will passing through Florence in a few days, though, and we’re planning on meeting up.

Tuesday night was more of a last hurrah for me.  I sipped on a bottle of Chianti until it was empty, and we headed over to a shady bar called Dr.Pong’s.  Here’s what’s in Dr.Pong’s:  one ping-pong table, a few lights, gray walls and a small bar that serves maybe two types of beer. 

Now usually I would boast about my great table tennis skills at this point in the blog post, however, the wine was getting the best of me.  I tried playing two or three times and missed the ball every time I attempted to return it.  Awful.  Really poor.  But I’m going to steal a line from Jamie Foxx and “blame it on the alcohol.” 

So, yeah.  Berlin is cool.  But now it’s time for the beautiful, smaller city of Florence. 

The exercise regimen has definitely been slacking these last two weeks, not to mention the diet.  To be honest, I’ve strayed from the vegan diet many a time during the short-lived study abroad program.  It is 99 percent impossible to be vegan during a study abroad trip with non-vegans.  Group dinners usually happen at places where meat is the staple of the menu, and the reason I say it’s 99 percent impossible to be vegan in these instances is because there is that 1 percent where you could just order water with lemon.  Yeah, it’s that bad. 

While I would never eat meat, I did order dishes that contained some type of dairy product:  aubergine with cheese in tomato sauce, margherita pizza, etc.  My body was not liking the cheese at first and put me through hell the next day, but it eventually adapted once I tried cheese again.  So I was basically vegetarian for the past two weeks.  And I’ve been eating way too much processed food.  You can bet that the ingredient lists of the crap I’ve been eating have been long (and in German).  I felt guilty at first for eating some with dairy in it, but I told myself that it was just a bump in the road and that beating myself up about it would be useless.

And now that I’ll have more choice of where and what I eat in Italy, you can be sure that I’ll be back on the vegan train.  I feel so much better when I don’t eat dairy.  Mentally and physically.

As far as exercise, walking around the city’s streets has pretty much been the extent of it.  I visited the gym two floors below our hostel a few times, but with so many tours, exploring and project stuff to do, I didn’t really have time for a strict gym schedule. 

WARNING:  New bike alert!

But that is about to change, my friends.  The Boyfriend has just alerted me of a used Bianchi for a couple hundred euro in a nearby bike shop in Florence.  Aluminum frame, carbon fork…  yum.   I’m dreading the hills surrounding Florence, but gimme a month and I’ll be riding with some force again.

Here's a sneak peak of what I'll be test riding a few hours:

So what’s in store for future posts?  Clean eating, intense cycling and all-around good times!

Over and out.


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