Carte Blanche at the Gelato Factory

I’ve been ridiculously excited about today’s tour ever since I heard about it in early April, but have been too scared to blog about it just in case something awful occurred to stop it from happening. What if the visit fell through/I fell through a hole in the street/all the gelato fell on the floor? But, thank goodness, none of those eventualities occurred, and today, I had the time of my life visiting the G7 Gelato Factory in Bentivoglio, Italy.

Before I get to the gelato part, though (I know, I know, hang on), I want to thank everyone involved in the process of getting me there today. One of the incredible Goliard board members (name not mentioned to protect him from an onslaught of gelato factory requests) contacted a friend at HEB (my absolute favorite grocery store…all the samples!), who then talked to Francesco, the wonderful export manager at G7 Gelato, who set up the tour. All of the staff were incredibly kind to me, and I also want to thank them, and the Visani family, for the tour today.

Now, onto the gelato! We arrived at G7 Gelato in the morning, and quickly suited up for the factory tour.

Me and Francesco – don’t we look dashing?

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All By Myself? What it Means to Travel Alone

I have never traveled by myself before this trip. Well, fine, I’ve flown by myself, driven a car by myself, the list goes on. But I’m talking about traveling in a foreign country, exploring unknown streets, not having someone to read the map with me, or watch my stuff while I go to the bathroom, or especially to triple check the lock so strangers won’t burst into the room at night.

What’s it like? I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but in today’s post, I’ll tell you what this experience has been like for me.

#1: Freedom. So much freedom. I set my own schedule, decide when to visit and leave museums, shops, restaurants…most of the time. Read on.

Today, for example, I stared at Michelangelo’s Statue of David for at least 20 minutes. I could have stayed a whole hour. I couldn’t get over it – the painstakingly carved veins in his arms, the changes in his expression from one angle to the next, the deceptively relaxed stance as he sizes up an invisible Goliath. Though the Gallerie dell Accademia doesn’t allow photographs inside, I did get one picture for y’all.

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The Largest Pizza in the World

…is what I promised myself, whispered while also making a whole host of promises to God (to be more selfless, to attend church twice a week), if ever I escaped the hellish aluminum contraption known as an airplane. I really hate flying. No, like really, really hate flying. If you ever suffer the misfortune of flying have the chance to fly with me, you’ll likely experience one of three outcomes:

1) If it’s a smooth flight from takeoff to landing, I’ll put on a brave face and you’ll think that I am just another normal person.
2) If there’s light turbulence, I’ll probably look up in alarm from my book and whisper “I really don’t like flying.” You’ll probably still think I’m pretty normal, if a bit prone to anxiety.
3) If there is moderate turbulence for a prolonged period of time (>5 min), or severe turbulence for any amount if time, I will sink down into my seat, grab the arm rests on either side, look wildly about, and tell you, “I hate flying,” over and over again. Then, I will start cursing the incompetent pilot (because, really, shouldn’t they be able to avoid turbulence and other unforeseeable events?) and probably start praying. You’ll think I’m a crazy person. And you’ll probably be right. Continue reading