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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 21, 2009

My First Full Day (Sunday) and a good one...

Okay, folks, this is going to be "down and dirty".  I'm really getting behind and now I seem to have lost the pictures that I uploaded last night (Sunday night) to go with this post.  I think I may still have them on the memory card, but for right now, just my blah, blah, blah will have to suffice.

LATE BREAKING NEWS - I'VE RETRIEVED THE PICTURES  But I'm just going to kind of clump them together in a couple of spots.

So, I slept until 10:15 in the morning (bliss), got up and took the plastic bag of water I had frozen overnight and iced my ankle, then wrapped it and out I went.

I had breakfast at the cafe that Antonio gives “free” vouchers for and that consisted of a pretty and delicious strawberry tart type thing, and a nice hot little pot of tea.   There were a couple of interesting people to watch - particularly an American man wearing what looked like a very warm suit, a fedora that he put on at quite a rakish angle (and he didn't seem rakish at all), suspenders, and polished dress shoes.  I couldn't decide for sure about the woman – she might have been American or English?  He's never going back to the states – she's going for some reason.  He, especially, made me think of all the novels I've read about ex-patriates living in Italy and/or France. 

I then proceeded to walk and walk. Up the Via de SeIragli to the Arno River – where I got my first view of Ponte Vecchio bridge with little buildings along the sides. Think I also had my first peek at the duomo – just a bit of the top and the top of baptistery tower.  Then I walked along the river on Lungarno Soderini looking for Chiesa di S. Frediano in Cestello – found it but didn't find a way in. Decided to try Chiesa di Santa Maria del Carmine instead. walked along Borgo San Frediano (yes, I'm naming all the streets, I love the sound of Italian...) to Piazza del Carmine and sure enough there was the church, but completely covered with scaffolding and plastic. I thought maybe that was the back so I tried to find the front but never even saw the building again! I ended up at Piazza Torquato Tasso where there was some soccer going on, then down Via del Campuccio to my room where I picked up a pencil,a little  notebook, hit the bathroom, took 2 pain pills and left in search of something to eat and hopefully more walking if the pain pills worked.

Pictures from my morning walk:

In the afternoon, I started out following one of the walks on my card things with the house where the Brownings lived as a goal. Never found the house, but following Borgo Tegolaio I came to via Mazetti and at that intersection found a tiny bar where I had a pomodoro mozzarella with oregano sandwich, 2 glasses of wine and a very pleasant sit and watch time. What with the wine and the pain pills, it wasn't too long before I was walking along like a veteran tourist. I followed Via Maggio all the way up to the Arno, and now I was on the bridge right before the Ponte Vecchio. Took more pictures, crossed that bridge and went along the Lungarno Acciaioli, a street of very expensive shops. If I decide to splurge on an expensive souvenir for myself, I may have found what it will be. A nice visit with the person in that shop – in the more expensive, probably tourist-geared shops, they speak English fairly well (certainly better than I speak Italian) and that's nice when you're really interested in something. Had a woman take a picture of me with the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in the background.  It was getting darker and windier with some rain obviously coming, but I couldn't seem to make myself care.  I had a couple more stops for postcards and map checks, and it started – just sprinkling. Crossed the Ponte Vecchio Bridge and it is neat being totally lined with shops, but mostly jewelry which doesn't call to me at all. I got across and while trying to figure out where I should go next to get home before it really started coming down, I saw a gelato cafe and had my first one. Way too much – asked for small and it was huge, but the man waiting on me asked me in English “how are you?” and I was actually able to say “bene, e lei?” which is one of the very few phrases I remember from my little attempts to learn a little Italian. He was properly impressed. :)

I continued towards my room on the via Guicciccardini and found another shop where they were selling the same expensive but wonderful souvenir thing I had found before. That woman and I really had a nice visit – she tried first to sell me something right away, but I got her convinced it wasn't going to happen and then we talked about all sorts of things which was nice.

By now it was pretty much actually raining but sticking close to the buildings I at least didn't get drenched. Got down to via Campuccio which my street intersects with and went right by my street in the now fairly heavy rain. Turned around and found it right where it was supposed to be and after my continuing battle with 2 of the three locks between me and my room,was glad to get inside.

Pictures from my afternoon walk:

I went out for a fairly late dinner (around 8:30 or so) and since it was damp and cool, and I was tired (but not sore!), I had a bowl of ribollita soup and some bread to dip in it. And I think I'm going crazy - I feel sure I already wrote about the soup, but the last post on my blog before this one was for Saturday, so who knows?  All I know is, I'm going to bed.  And I'm still a day behind and I had quite an impressive Monday that I need to tell about.

Buona sera!


Christopher said...

Wow! Those names... I can just imagine the tangle of streets, making it challenging to keep one's bearings (and find the entrance of a church under repairs!) Glad the ankle is not slowing you down, and that you're out and about seeing it all! The food sounds good (salted bread or not) and you leave us wanting to read more with that "impressive Monday" teaser!

vrmichie said...

I am SOOOOOO relieved to hear that you can get around on your ankle. And obviously quite well. You did tell about the ribollita soup in a Sunday posting. Maybe your postings are going the way of my comments. I discovered I have to be signed in before they can show up for you to vet them. The weather appears to still be hot but maybe the rain is going to change that? Sure sounds like you're having fun -- keep it up!! Neat pics too. I'm in accord with your friend Stephanie -- lots of envy!! Looking forward to your Monday adventures.

Lisa-WV said...

Mary Lynne, your walks and meals sound wonderful. You are truly a veteran at traveling. Enjoy your time in Florence. Lisa-WV (PPers)

January said...

Way to go Mama! That sounds like an impressively great first day. Way to show that ankle who's boss - although I hope you iced it again once you got back into your room. It's also neat that you got a picture of yourself in there - it's nice to see you :)
Love you lots!

Christopher said...

I spent some time at lunch, Google-mapping your hotel and the surrounding area... so close to everything! (ie, the cathedral, the Orsanmichele, palaces, gardens...) Neato!

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