Well, our goal for Sunday had been to provision the apartment with the basics – milk, paper towels, laundry soap, etc. Being savvy travelers, we smugly packed our shopping bags (you bring your own here), wrote out our list, and set out.
The first place we found was Eataly – which is like a very expensive Italian Whole Foods (they have one in New York, too). We were in awe of the amazing looking food but realized that, while this may be a good place for special items, it wasn’t for everyday shopping, at least not on OUR budget.
Next we stumbled upon an inviting place that had cheese and promised samples. That sounded good. They were so charming that they served us truffle salami, aged pecorino cheese, tuscan red wine, and even limoncello. It was even more expensive that Eataly, but we got caught up in the moment and bought some stuff anyway. Then we forgot all about our list and decided to just walk around. So much for toilet paper and butter.
So today – we had to face the music and actually buy groceries. We again packed our shopping bags and this time stuck to our mission, not even walking by the tempting gourmet shops. This time, we were going to the Mercato Centrale, which is a huge farmer’s market selling everything from fresh fish and meats from parts of animals you don’t want to know to vegetables and pasta. Stall after stall. We walked around even more dazed than in Eataly. Finally, we found a place that served coffee and tea and decided to take a break and build up the courage to actually buy something. I am proud to say we bought a mezza kilo of pasta fresca (a half kilo of fresh pasta) for dinner tonight and something green that looked good for dessert – we’re not sure what it is (I am assuming pistachio).
But we still had our big list. So on the way home, we found a real market that was quite big and seemed to have all we needed. We happily filled up our basket with vegetables, eggs, and staples. They even had wine for as little as 3 Euro – awesome. We felt ready for the check-out, armed with our bags and knowing we had to fill them ourselves. We were ready. Only to find out that we were supposed to weigh our vegetables and put the sticker on ourselves back where they were sold. Oh no. The line behind us was long and a little grumbly, so we bought the groceries we had, and Frank stood by with our bags as I waded back into the store to find the vegetable scale. Whew – with that done, we successfully were able to buy our lettuce and tomatoes. A shaky start, but ok. We said “Arriverderci” and headed out – only to set off the store alarms. Goodness. The flustered cashier didn’t know what to do so called the store policeman, who came and very seriously upended all of our carefully loaded bags, inspecting each item one by one while the crowd looked on. (They were kind of big-eyed, so this must not happen a lot.) Finally, the policeman determined that something we had bought at the other market set it off, so we were cleared.
So we are back home and decided we’ll just stay in for the rest of the day. We have provisions for our pasta dinner tonight and our bottle of 3 Euro wine, so we are happy.
PS – We STILL have not figured out where to take the trash. That will be Frank’s job tomorrow while I have my first day of work in Italy.