The open air markets in Padova are simply splendid. They are open Monday–Saturday mornings in downtown Padova and offer any sort of produce that one could want, just waiting to be bought, bright colors of fruits and vegetables in tidy heaps at each stand—even herb plants (this is where I got my superbly robust basil plant)! Also for sale are bolts of cloth, sewing notions, underwear, t-shirts, purses, and so on. And yet, curiously enough, if you walk by the Piazza Erbe or Frutta, which sit at the feet of the Palazzo del Ragione (Palace of Reason), all you see is a large open empty piazza with perhaps a few tables and lots of pigeons, and the famous palace front.
After the exertion of wandering around aimlessly, Dominic and I had worked up quite an appetite for something tasty. I chose two chocolate cannoli and a brioche (cream-filled roll, I found out, as I tried it). The cannoli were fabulous. I’m not sure why I bought cannoli, actually. I don’t really like them. But these were aaa-mazing. Flaky little pastries (think, very small croissants) with chocolate filling. Not gooey like pudding, not whipped like moose, not sweet like frosting, not hard like a chocolate bar, but just right. If you come to Padova, we will buy you chocolate cannoli. I simply cannot describe them. After I had my first bite of the cannoli, I selfishly decided that Dominic would not care if he had the brioche, and I ate both cannoli myself.
We’ve been in Padova for one week. Today, Saturday, much to Dominic’s supreme delight, we rode the bus to the “mall,” Brentelle. Brentelle houses the giant supermarket/Italian Wal-mart, Interspar (I believe some have actually called it a “hyper-market”), several clothing stores, and various other “mallish” type places. And, just like Wal-mart, going on a Saturday morning was a big mistake. In fact, Interspar might be even worse, since it’s not open on Sundays. But I needed Matt’s help to navigate the bus with the kids for the first time and to once again be the family hoss with all the purchases.
We were seeking an umbrella stroller, cell phones, an alarm clock, sundry kitchen items, and more groceries. I’m sure any new home owners or apartment dwellers can sympathize, but it seems like all we’ve done this first week is shop! We had some success at Interspar, but were limited by deteriorating happiness of the children, wildly chaotic store, and, despite what most think, a limit to my husband’s strength. We did, however, find an umbrella stroller. It wasn’t as cheap as I had hoped it would be. In fact, it was the only one there, so we were lucky to find one at all. It very mod-pod looking, and I have begun to refer to it as Cate’s rickshaw. Seriously, take a look at the picture. Am I wrong?
While we gave up on Interspar before we got everything, I did manage to snag an awesome cheese grater, one of those white ones that fancy Italian restaurants use, and I purchased some authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano (I had to do some research on this, that’ll be a post for later) to make my pasta sauce. It grates cheese like a dream. This will be a great souvenir, I tell myself as I shell out more euro for kitchen “essentials” (grated cheese is not very common here).
Here are a few Dominic Stories from the last week:
1) We stopped by the church near us to see if it was open. It was not. After Dominic sees me unsuccessfully try to open it, he announces, “I need keys.” And then asks me, “You have ‘em, Mommy?”
2) Dominic loves to press the elevator buttons. We live on floor 6 and the ground floor, is “zeerio.”
3) Preface: in our home, we refer to kisses as “power,” a practice I started to make good night and good morning kisses more exciting when Dominic was losing interest.
Now, Dominic wanted to watch Jimminy Cricket on Mommy’s computer. I told him that we couldn’t because my computer needed power. He proceeded, without any prompting, to kiss the computer. J