On our way to Venezia

It’s been a hecktic week since the Assembly ended. I’m writing this post on the train going to Venezia. We should be there soon, maybe I won’t have to jump off the train this time ๐Ÿ™‚ [Last time we were here, two years ago, we almost missed the stop at Venice Mestre station. We got off the train at the last minute before it took off to the Venice Santa Lucia station, and I literally jumped off the train after it started moving!]

On Monday we were still in Roma, we were too tired to do anything, so we decided to stay with our friends (the De Cata family). Pia told them early on she would cook something Lebanese for them so she did just that. For the ingredients, Giulia (the daughter) took us by car to the nearest Supermercato (yeap, a supermarket). She was babysitting that day, so we took the young Alessia with us as well. Alessia is a 2 years old daughter of the columbian neighbors of the De Cata family. The girl is like the Energizer bunny, she just won’t stop moving. But she sat still in the car, and snuggled up to me when I asked her to sit still until we reached the supermarket. In the supermarket, she wanted to eat something. Giulia got her a chips bag that she finished to the last crumb! I never saw a kid that age eat the whole thing!
At the house, Pia and I made some Mjaddara (lentils and rice Lebanese dish) and then decided to make some Tawook as well. It turns out that the Romans don’t have anything to sqash the garlic with. I (the sous-chef) used a beat up electric blender to mix and mince some of the garlic cloves, then I mixed them with some mayonaise from the tube. (They buy it in tubes instead of jars because the fridge is not that good and mayo goes bad quickly).
Leo and Stefania were back noonish and were very impressed with the result! We were happy they liked it. The time we spent with them was truly enjoyable. Both parents were full time pioneers at one time, and the daughter and father will be starting regular pioneering this September again.
In the afternoon we went down to Roma Termini (train station) to get our tickets to Florence. We met up with our siblings in Rome near the Tiber, but went back quickly to the house to sleep early. At the De Cata’s we took some photos, and said our goodbyes, since we wouldn’t see them again in the morning.

The trip to Firenze (Florence) would have been uneventful, but Ghassan was stranded on the Fumicino train (from Airport) so we had to leave without him! He followed on a later train. We arrived noonish at Firenze S.M.N. (train station) and Simone (the friend we met in Roma) was waiting for us in his car! What a wonderful brotherhood we have!
Simone took our siblings’ bags to the hotel while we checked them in. Matia and Hanan were moved to another (better!?) hotel in the same street. Giuliano (Juliano) and Ghassan later took a room in another hotel (that had internet connectivity). Simone then took us to get the key to our house, drove us to the house and showed us around, then took us back to the center to eat at a “Lebanese” restaurant. We were not impressed with the quality of the food, but Simone sure liked it! He should taste Pia’s cooking for a change ๐Ÿ™‚
We spent the rest of the day touring the center of Firenze. There’s a lot to see there. We saw the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Di Sinioria. We also met many of the Lebanese delegates to the Roma International Convention. Later that evening we met at Zaza’s in the old marketplace. The food was good, and we had some of their house wine. I ate a wonderful dish of spaghetti and small mussels, Pia had a steak with truffle sauce. We both enjoyed it, even thought the service was a bit lacking, probably because we got stuck with a lazy waiter.
That night we tried for the first time to get home on our own, and that was … a mistake!

The next day in Firenze, we woke up a bit late. Noonish, we took off for Pisa. It was a nice trip, but I have to get off the train now. We almost missed Mestre station (again!)

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