We met in front of the Santa Maria Novella church, and I had no problem spotting her through the crowd. My Swedish aunt insists that in each country, people have a distinct walk. Many times she has shown me the difference between a Swedish walk and a Danish walk. I have no idea if this theory would hold up under scientific testing, but when I saw the Swedish Ilva walking, I new immediately it was her. Maybe it was instinct.
I instantly felt like I had found a long, lost and very delightful friend. She has a bright mind with a natural curiosity about everything. Our conversation covered so many topics, from illuminated texts to food to Alzheimer's. (We have both lost parents to that disease.)
We strolled through Florence, spending quite a bit of time in the San Lorenzo market - the great food hall. It was a feast for the eyes and senses. I was drooling over the products that are available there that we cannot get in the U.S., like these lovely porcinis:
...and capretto, or goat (tail and all!):
...and wild strawberries:Of course there are some items I could certainly live without, like all parts of the cow and pig that I couldn't imagine eating! (No pictures necessary here.)
Ilva took me to a quiet lunch spot above the crowds with this incredible view:
I took a couple of photos of Ilva, but somehow I think the one of her behind the camera captures her spirit (and I think she is a bit shy of showing her face.)
Thanks Ilva for a great afternoon, and I look forward to our next meeting!