Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Tips for Eating the Best Gelato

Ok. So I love gelato. Is that news? No. I have seen a lot of tourists eating gelato and I have noticed some common mistakes in picking and consuming the correct gelato. I hope that this post will clear all of that up. Not be pretentious or anything...

Tip #1: Be in Italy. I know that there is gelato elsewhere and I know that sometimes you're going to indulge because you miss it, but really gelato is best in its homeland. So go. Eat. Enjoy.

Tip #2: If at all possible go to San Gimignano. The gelato there won the world championship. Seriously  . It is so good.

Tip #3: Avoid gelato shops that have giant mounds of gelato. If it is piled a foot high in the container it means it's not fresh. Trust me. Don't eat it. There is better out there.

Tip #4: Avoid gelato shops that overly decorate their gelato. The strawberry does not need to be covered in strawberries. If it's good gelato it will stand on its own and doesn't need extra attention.

Tip #5: For flavor go with a cone. The cones provide a lovely crunch and savory flavor to balance out the gelato.

Tip #6: For quantity go with the cup. They tend to have more in them.

Tip #7: Eat it with a spoon. You'll eat slower and enjoy it more. I understand though that sometimes it is just so dang good that you want to shove it in your mouth as fast as possible. Don't feel guilty if you can't hold back.

Tip #8: Try it in hot chocolate. Life changing!

Tip #9: When in doubt Grom it out. If you can't find a local shop that looks appealing Grom is always good and it is in a lot of cities. (They even have one in Malibu. Road trip?)

Tip #10: While in Italy eat whenever you get the chance. You'll miss it. I guarantee.

Tip #11: Don't worry about the weight you'll gain. It is healthier than ice cream after all!

This is what you should look like while eating the right gelato.

I hope this fills you with the joy that can only come from gelato.
Buon appetito.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The One Where I Finally Wrote About London

I've been putting writing this post off. Maybe it's because I really don't want to be done blogging about my European adventures because that would mean admitting they're over. Or maybe I am just lazy. You choose.

Anyways! I went London and it was AWESOME! Like really awesome. I have dreamed of going to England my entire life. I have always loved everything about it. Italy was a new dream and it was wonderful, but London was a lifetime of anticipation. It definitely lived up to the hype!

We landed in London after a short two hour flight from Venice. However, the journey to the airport Italy forced us to get up at 6 so the journey still seemed long. After getting our bags we all drained our bank accounts of a few pounds and got a taxi. The poor taxi driver didn't know what he was in for. 5 girls. 3 months of luggage. I'd say that is a hefty load. Luckily it all fit and we made it to our apartment in Greenwich. It was SUPER windy. I was actually worried that I might blow away and that was considering the extra 20 pounds (no joke) I put on in Italy. After settling into our place (which was super cute) we headed into the city.

Eating my first Mexican in months on the plane over.

We took a train into Waterloo Station to get on the tube. Let me just say that Waterloo Station is packed at 5:00 in the evening. Everyone was rushing everywhere. Things were so fast and I was shocked. It's safe to say that we were NOT in Italy anymore. Then we boarded the tube and got off at some station that I don't remember. And of course we minded the gap as we got on and off!

I think we fell in love with London the minute we stepped off the tube. Ok, maybe the falling had started after getting off the plane, but at this point I was head over heels for the city. It is just so alive and old and new and fashionable and just plain awesome. Also, the people are REALLY nice. I don't know why everyone says they are stuffy and cold. Everyone we talked to was so helpful and kind.

We made a bee line for the London Eye. It was kind of pricy (we're talking almost $40), but the view was awesome. I am so glad we did it at night because it was so fun to see all of the lights. If I were doing London on a budget again I would probably spend the money elsewhere, but it was still really great. Then we headed to a pub for some fish and chips. We had a little bit of confusion about silverware (note: Brits say "cutlery" and will not understand you if you say silverware). However, after we sorted that business out ("you know forks and knives?") we were served some delicious food. The fish was HUGE! It took up my entire plate. The fries were great too and surprisingly the mashed peas were also most excellent. After that we wandered to Trafalgar Square and then called it a night.

The London Eye

The view from the top. It was STUNNING.

Just a view from along the river. I love London.

Eating my fish and chips.

Trafalgar Square. The National Gallery is in the background.

Ok. I am starting to realize that I can't be too detailed because I did a LOT in London. So I think I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking. Also, I need to give a huge thanks to the people we stayed with in West Ham. My friend, Cora, knew a family going to school there and they were kind enough to find places for all of us. Brittany and I stayed with a woman named Gloria. She was SO nice and we had so much fun with her and her granddaughter, Penny. I owe it to them for teaching me that bangs are actually fringe and the proper way to pronounce aluminum.

M&M World= 4 stories of bite size chocolate delight.

The only royal guard I saw in London.

This chocolate themed rock band has plans to release their first album in the next few months.

Obligatory phone booth photo.

The National Gallery. It has the most comprehensive collection I have seen. 
From Michelangelo to Monet it's all there. GO! It is art heaven.

Trafalgar Square in the daylight. 

We dreamed the dream and the dream was so good. I am converted to the Les Mis fan club.

Big Ben.

Westminster Abbey. It costs $40 to go in so this is about as much as I saw.

Cora and me in front of Westminster.

Buckingham Palace! Note: Changing of the guard is only every other day.

Fall in St. Jame's Park. The leaves were gorgeous in London.

On top of a double decker bus!

I wrote lyrics from Penny Lane on the wall at Abbey Road.

Imitating the Beatles at Abbey Road. What they don't tell you is that the cars don't stop.

At the British National Museum. SO many historic things it
was overwhelming. The Rosetta stone was the highlight for me.

Fist pounding an ancient Egyptian statue.
It was probably against the rules.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Pret a Manger. I love that place!

The Tower of London.

The beautiful Tower Bridge.

The Globe. My English Major dream come true.

You know what this is.

I was in Harry Potter heaven.

Until the portal closed.

We went to a Christmas Fair in Hyde Park.

We braved this sketchy German roller coaster. Not sure it was up to regulation.
Are there regulations on those sort of things in the UK?

The Natural History Museum. Lots of cool dinosaurs.

Hyde Park.

A swan there. There were so many. It was a nice change to pigeons.

Looking back at the carnival.

Someday I will go back when I am not broke!

Well I guess this is my official goodbye to Europe :( NOOOOOOOOO! I've been home for a few weeks and I already want to go back. Sometimes I wake up in a panic because I realize that I am not going back in the foreseeable future. I wish I could go on another study abroad in January! Just kidding... Sort of... I do need to get to work on my actual life. 

Ciao Europa! Mi manca!