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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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October 12, 2010

Sunday - A No Picture Day But a Good Day

I already e-mailed you on Sunday to announce my arrival in Florence - so I'll just enlarge on that a little.  I don't have a single picture to post cause it was a busy day until I got to Florence and then for some strange reason I went out walking without my camera.

Before I went to the train station and actually left Bologna, I decided to see if the Vodaphone store and the store where I bought my heavy sweater would be open on Sundays.  The Vodaphone store wasn't going to be (so I remain ripped off but probably would have even if they had opened) and the clothing store was going to open at 12 so I had to just kind of wander aimless around til then.  I wanted to return the sweater but it turns out most stores in Bologna don't do returns - just exchanges.  Fortunately there was that other sweater I had liked so I got that but I was disappointed not to get my money back because while I was wandering around aimlessly, I heard two American women talking, struck up a little conversation with them and almost wished I hadn't because they told me that the exchange rate had really gotten bad - since I had come over here.  At one point, it was $1.56 to buy a Euro, according to them.  It was about $1.29 when I left home and, of course, had gone down as low as $1.18 or $1.19 in the summer.  But, hey easy come, easy go I guess and the next time I looked at least it was back down in the $1.30's.

So, after I got that done, I went back to my place, got my cases, Maria called me a cab and walked me downstairs, we said our goodbyes and off I went to the train station.

And then, as stated in the e-mail...

I got my ticket

Remembered to get it validated (mainly because I saw another woman validating hers)

Got to the right train gate (granted I got on the wrong car, but still...) - and in my own defense it was mainly because I had asked a very nice Spanish lady who spoke excellent English if she knew anything about a TV screen that was supposed to tell us where our car (this train had assigned cars and seats).  She didn't, but came back in a bit to tell me that yes, there it was and it was saying we had to be waaaaay down "there", so off we went and the train came in and she said this is our car  and was pointing to the place on our tickets where it said "2" which is what the train car had on it.  But, having had an assigned car once before I knew that the 2 she was pointing to was "class" and not "car" and that my car number was 11.  But at that point we all got on - I don't know about them, but I could never have made it back down to car 11 in time - and, sure enough I was in the first class section.  Very nice by the way.  But I didn't want to get kicked off, so I started trekking down and when I got to the second class section, I managed to pull my suitcase through the very narrow row of one car and then gave up and sat on the little stairs between the cars the rest of the way.  It was only half an hour - it was one of the fast, snazzy trains.  So that was all fine.

Got off at Florence and walked straight to my hotel (looking at the map once)

Got my 3-ton suitcase up the stairs by myself!

Discovered they had changed my room (uh-oh)

I was really tickled when she showed me my new room - it's a nice amount larger, the bathroom is inside instead of down the hall and the light is brighter in here.  I was worried it wouldn't be the same rate and asked and it is, so that's nice too.  I think maybe the reason why, though, is because this room faces the street where as my old one didn't.  My old one was nice and quiet, this one is pretty insanely noisy until at least midnight.  But I'm headed home Wednesday so that's all right too. 

Just a few things left to tell about "after the e-mail".  I missed an incredible photo op with the duomo today - don't know why I didn't take my camera except that all I had on my mind was gelato and finding a bancomat.  But, as usual, got to the end of a street, was staring around trying to figure out if I was supposed to be where I was, turned around and BAM! there it was.  And it was SO magnificent.  The sky was exceptionally blue today, the duomo seemed exceptionally white and sparkling and it just positively thrills me when I see it.  It is SO huge and appears so suddenly.  Walking back, it was a quarter to five and all of a sudden, the bells in the campanile started ringing like crazy.  Probably went on for 5 minutes or more and was just beautiful.  I stopped at a good vantage point to look way, way up and sure enough - I could see one of the bells swinging back and forth.  Have I said that I love the duomo? :)  I do...I wish I could be with any of you making a first trip to Italy and watch you discover it.

The little place on my street where I had stopped in for a pot of tea in the afternoon is where I went for dinner.  Turns out they do that "buy a drink, eat along with it" thing for 6E so I was happy about that.  Oh, and I had asked the woman here where she liked to get gelato and that was the reason I had taken such a walk.  I had to walk down past the duomo and on a little side street right across from Orsammichele was her gelato shop called "Perche No" which she told me means "why not?" which I think is a perfect name for an ice cream store and which has now become a favorite phrase with me.  (Did I already tell everyone this or only Chris?)  If I only told Chris, the FYI it's pronounced pear-kay no and I find myself saying it to myself now whenever I'm deciding to do something (like spend money - perche no? I say and I spend it).

While I was in that area, I noticed down the next tiny little street a place with a big throng of people outside it and went to investigate and it's a tiny, minute little spot that sells sandwiches for 2.50E and glasses of wine - 3 sizes, 1.30, 1.60 and 3.00E (which must be a beer mug!) so I'm going to go there tomorrow and see how it is.

On the way back to the hotel from dinner, I bought a yogurt and banana at a tiny market for my breakfast in the morning, cause my room has a fridge.  I also bought a scarf because I've been just sort of freezing in the evenings and plus which, every woman in Italy wears one.

And that was Sunday and I'm sorry there wasn't a picture anywhere.  But no bad news either! :)

1 comment:

Christopher said...

A nice 'breather' for you, not to have to edit a bunch of photos... Sounds like a lovely little "ad hoc" kind of day, out and about.

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