City I'd live in: Rome
City I'd vacation in: Venice
Heiress I'd marry: the San Benedetto water empire
Nationality I'd marry: British
Best meal: Aquila Nera, both nights
Worst meal: BA food on the flight to Seattle. After 3 weeks of fresh, simple and real, this tasted like "food". Like sandals in Byzantine paintings, or Venetian artists trying to depict England.
Best repeat visit restaurant: La Grotta di Leo, which also had the cutest waitress
Best service: London, everywhere.
Worst service: Italian supermarkets. One checker threatened to kill Nick if he paid for his wine with a 50.
Best wine: Aquila Nera house wine, though any cheap Tuscan Red was wonderful.
Worst wine: British Airways, but that's unfair because their tea was delicious.
Best gelato: Vivoli in Florence, though Gioletti's in Rome was a close second.
Worst gelato: Some rather average places in Venice, although they were usually 1 euro, so whatever.
Most annoying small thing: Exact change: everybody wants it and hates you if you don't have it.
Most flattering small thing: Being mistaken for an italian by both store staff and italians in the street asking me directions.
Toughest mark of pride: calloused feet
Annoying mark of pride: sunburned shoulders
Single of the trip: Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy". This was inescapable.
Video of the trip: Shakira, "Hips Don't Lie". The room was suddenly, rapturously silent every time this video came on MTV Italia. It gets lonely out there, but Shakira knew how we felt.
Song of the trip: Bob Sinclair, "World Hold On". This was everywhere, in ringtones, cars, whistling on the street. It'd be in your head for days.
Worst song of the trip: Jamie Foxx, "One Night Extravaganza". Stick to acting, Jamie. At least the mediocre italian bands you were queued next to were bad in ways we didn't understand.
Non-song of the trip: Ambulanzia sirens, a constant background in Rome. Their monotonic siren sound would whine in your ears long after they left.
Best hotel: Croce di Malta, Florence
Best water: Rome
Best hotel perks: Room view in Venice, pool in Florence, rooftop in Rome. Sorry, can't pick one. An imaginary hotel with a room view and a full pool on the roof would be the most incredible thing ever. I think the pricy hotel in Venice has a pool, but I never saw it.
Worst beds: Croce di Malta, Florence
Best breakfast: NH Harrington Hall, London
Best graffiti: Sadly I was not able to get a picture, but across from the Croce di Malta someone had penned "pity the beautiful" on a garage door.
Worst graffiti: Anything in Venice. What a shame.:
Most comprehensive graffitti: Old Met.Ro. trains are totally covered in it. Many second-class Trenitalia coaches have it as well.
Best "there is no ice in europe" moment:
Best ridiculous store name:
Worst industrial design:
Best feeling: freedom.