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Monday Part Two: Birthday Gelato + a Perfect Firenze Sunset

PHOTO: Sunset from Piazzale di Michelangelo (c) Sery Kim

After lunch at ZEB, I took a rather roundabout way back to the other side of the Ponte Vecchio towards my hotel for a much deserve break for my feet. I meandered through for some gelato because, honestly, can you get enough gelato while in Italy. Of course, it's not like I had a dearth of options to find gelato. Like men (ha!), there are a tremendous range of choices and quality. Of course, being high maintenance me, I always want the perfect one (man or gelato) in the perfect location with the perfect situation. This is why I found myself, on a brilliant afternoon, with the most perfect weather, the slightest of breezes, at Gelateria La Carraia.

PHOTO: five gelato flavors in my afternoon gelato break (c) Sery Kim

I found Gelateria La Carraia through a serious amount of research. Allegedly, this is "the best" gelato in all of Firenze -- from a combo of Trip Advisor to this great blog called "Visit Florence," written by a girl who moved to Firenze and has lived there (my dream!). For five euros, you can get get five scoops of ice cream. I had the toughest time picking what flavors to get but I am thankful I picked hazelnut because it was the best of the strong flavors I picked: coffee, caramel, hazelnut, stracciatella, and dark chocolate.

I suppose I liked the hazelnut best because it was "light" yet still filling. I don't know why I picked so many flavors because I was ridiculous full after the five, but I considered it a birthday treat to myself, especially having walked almost 12 miles Monday!

I took the cone to the side of the Ponte Vecchio to power through and to my great surprise I discovered that Gelateria La Carraia is literally caddy-corner from my hotel. So when I had been sleeping at night with my balcony doors open it was to the sight of this very gelateria! Irony!

PHOTO: A gelato selfie is always necessary! (c) Sery Kim

Then, after a quick break for my feet at the St. Regis with a very late afternoon cappuccino pick-me-up, I headed back out for a final evening in Firenze.

PHOTO: Afternoon cappuccino at the St. Regis (c) Sery Kim

Until about 6:30 pm Monday, I had not had a chance to really explore the area around the Pitti Palace and the Piazzale di Michelangelo. The other side has all the really famous tourist spots but the Pitti Palace itself is, naturally, worth visiting. Again, I rue the fact I went luxury shopping on Sunday rather than Monday because I could have gone inside the Pitti Palace instead of just walking around outside of it.

I took a quick hike some steps to take what I thought would be a short cut to the Piazzale di Michelangelo; however, again because it's a Monday, the grounds of Giardino Bardini was closed. I didn't realize this until I had already hiked up a very steep hill -- great exercise -- so I climbed back down eyeing my watch since sunset was scheduled at 7:44 pm.

By the time I reached the bottom of the other steep climb to Piazzale di Michelangelo I was cutting it close to sunset. Little did I realize but the restaurant I had lunch at, ZEB, was literally at right at the entry/exit to climb up the hill! What a fortuitous coincidence! No wonder the lunch spot was a easy find for tourists.

I booked it up the hill in no time, leaving all the other tourists in the dust. Thank goodness for 6 mile walk/runs every day plus spin classes at Flywheel plus hot yoga at Down Dog Yoga. Even though I am not thin, I am very fit and getting up was no problem at all. Actually, the only person beating me up was an incredibly fashionable older gentlemen which totally impressed me! So I warn you, the climb is not for the faint of heart. Several folks had to pause repeatedly to get up -- I only know this because on my way down I saw one couple who was still trying to get up (and they were young!).

The entire area is packed as this is the place where you see the panoramic views of Firenze. It's definitely worth it to go at either sunrise or sunset. I think you really get a sense of how beautiful and splendid this city is. My sole regret, in all of this, is that I never studied abroad while I was in college -- or that I didn't live in Europe when I was young and poor. I know I would have excelled at being an European. Now, I'm so used to the luxury life, I couldn't live in Italy (or my first choice France) without living a certain way. Still it is possible for me to have a second home in Europe and I am certainly aspiring to it!

Dinner, for me, was just some chamoille tea but I spent the better part of the night just walking around the streets of Florence looking at various restaurants and their menus. I was actually taking good notes for my next visit to Italy in May, and I can only hope my fourth (!) time to Italy in three months will be as spectacular as my third visit has been.

Until again Firenze! XOXO!

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