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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 20, 2009

I Arrive in Florence!

The plane landed in Florence earlier than scheduled and I was so stunned at being there, finding my luggage, not having to go through customs, and basically being out of the nice small airport in probably 15 minutes or so that I forgot to call the contact guy at my “hotel” before I got a taxi. The taxi got me to the hotel through ever narrower streets and I called the man (Antonio) who was here already and he came to let me in. Up two flights + a short flight to my room which quite honestly was pretty disappointing. But I always say, I'm only going to sleep there...But, Chris, this bathroom makes the London bathroom look pretty darned good!

Antonio is quite a good host and got out a map to show me where I am and where a few restaurants and such are around here. I did more unpacking than I probably should have, because I got hot, even tireder than I had been and hungry. So, I set off for Piazza Santo Spirito where some of his recommended eating places were. I got there and looked at the places and also went in the Chiesa (church) di Santo Spirito. Couldn't seem to make up my mind where to eat and at some point ended up on a street some distance from the piazza. By now starving and kind of staggering from lack of sleep, I passed an art shop that was opened and felt compelled to go in. He had real nice pencil type prints of Florence and I was all excited about going back and getting a couple some other day. Went out to go back to S. Spirito and immediately managed to stumble off a curb, badly and painfully twisting my ankle. Hobbled back to the piazza, sat and decided that I could manage not to start bawling and finally stopped at one of the eateries, ordered an appetizer that turned out to be a selection of lovely Italian cold cuts with some Parmesan that didn't really seem like Parmesan, and black olives. They also give you a complementary glass of white sparkling wine and a basket of their unsalted bread. And I boldly ordered a ¼ liter of wine, figuring I probably needed it.

I was really hurting by now, hobbled back home, fought my way through the three "locks of mystery" and into my room and then did have a little breakdown. I had no ice, of course, needed an elastic bandage, needed to have my head examined for ever starting on this adventure, knew that the entire trip was ruined, wondered what I could possibly do for the next 15 days, since obviously, I was now crippled, etc., etc., ad nauseum. I finally got real bold (and desperate), called Antonio who lives somewhere right close by, told him my problem, and he ended up finding some place to buy me a bandage, So I wrapped myself up, sniffling all the while,  and finally got my poor hurting self into bed by around 10 or 10:30 (which would be 4:30 p.m. home time meaning I had been up probably around 32 hours or so). So, in my own defense, is it any wonder I was being pitiful? I felt pitiful!

Don't get too distraught - I'll be posting my first full-day results next.  Bit I only seem to have two photos to show for arrival day.  One is inside Chiesa di S. Spirito and the other is of Piazza S. Spirito.


Anonymous said...

The first day is always the roughest and then you get into the rhythm.The Europeans have never quite "gotten" bathrooms but it is a small price to pay for all the other wonderful things they have to ofer.
Sorry about the ankle. Hope when you wake up tomorrow it feels better. Lots of wine usually helps!

Christopher said...

I hope a good nights sleep makes the next day better... That first day is always a challenge! Hopefully the ankle will be fine... Keep an eye out on those ancient streets and cobblestones! Looking forward to more updates; I'm so happy you're finally there and starting this great adventure!

Christopher said...

PS---so how was that unsalted bread?? ;)

Mary Lynne said...

The unsalted bread was about how I thought it would be - unsalted! But tonight (Sunday) I went back to the same place cause I remembered they had ribollita (a very Tuscan reheated bean type soup/stew) that I've wanted to try and I got the bread again, of course, and with the stew it was wonderful. Probably because the ribbolita was so good itself! I whipped a little "molto bene" on him when I was leaving,..

vrmichie said...

I hope this comment comes thru -- I seem to be doing something wrong or else as blog author you're not regarding them as eligible (jeez). Anyway, I've been saying how relieved I am you're there (Paris), how eager I am to hear you're in Florence (whew, I was getting worried) and now I'll say the Spirito is lovely, I hope your ankle is much improved, I'm glad the ribbolita was tasty (I hate unsalted bread too) and I think you're a plucky ducky and I send much love and good wishes that from now on all will be well.

Heather said...

Hi Mama! I am SO happy to hear from you and that you arrived safely. Now, just be careful to remember to watch where you're stepping when gazing in wonderment at the lovely scenery around you! Sorry to hear about your ankle. I'm sure rest will do you and it wonders! I can't wait to see more pictures and to hear of more (hopefully less painful) adventures!!!

Love you!


January said...

I'm glad you've mostly survived so far...but no more stumbling around art shops when you know you're exhausted and starving. Food then stumbling :)

Stephanie said...

My jealousy is running rampant right now. Except for the twisted ankle issue.

Corinne said...

Mary Lynne,
You will look back on your first day and laugh. There is no place like Italy for having fun, seeing beauty every where, eating amazing food and just generally being in a haze of wonderment. I am looking forward to hearing about amazing adventures and having a wonderful time.

PS, there is nothing like european bathrooms to make your own seem like a palace!

Smiles, Corky

Anonymous said...

Oh ML!!! I hope you are better now and continuing on your adventures with gusto. Antonio sounds like he is handy to have around. Looking forward to reading more...without any mishaps of any kind, I hope. I love how you are putting all your studies & preparation into finding the right things to see, visit, and eat. Take care. -cb

Jamie said...

OMG! You poor thing! I bet you are glad I wasn't there - you know I would have been rolling in the streets at your fall. :) I sure hope it is feeling better. Too bad your apartment is not on the ground floor. Just take it easy and keep the messages coming. We miss you and are so proud of you. I like what your sister calls you - plucky ducky!

Love ya,


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