Friday, October 31, 2008

Florence, with some thoughts

It's midafternoon in Florence. We've been walking since this am, and Linda is back at the apartment with her feet up. We like Florence A LOT! Tiny little streets filled with motor scooters, bikes, and teeny tiny cars. We found a car that makes a Smart car look big! photos coming.

I got the best night's sleep since we left Calgary. There's a bit of street noise, but the apartment is quiet. So with a nice breakfast, and a shower that is at least the size of the two previous showers put together, with some water pressure, I was ready to rock.

Imagine a bridge with gold and silver smiths on both sides. There have to be two dozen shops with incredible displays of gold and silver jewellry. I'm sure they compete. In one small square, there are more handbags for sale than in all of Calgary. I'd put money on it. All styles. All colours of the rainbow. All sizes.

Purple is still in, in a big way. Lots of purple stuff. Saw one purple dress that Susi wouldn't have liked, since it shows off too much leg, and too much bust, even on her, and it was on a girl much taller than Susi. Everything is available in purple, all shades of it. Saw a black and grey outfit that Becky would sell her soul for. Cheerfully. I think it was only 700 euros...

Seriously girls, the shopping here is to die for. Fabric, scarves, handbags, gloves out the wazoo, dresses, coats, accessories, hats, and I don't know what else.

You have to keep an eye on the traffic. The streets are tiny. A major road has one lane for parking, one lane for driving one way, enough extra space for two scooter lanes, with sidewalks on either side that are at best 18 inches wide. In North America the biggest streets would be one way alleys with no parking. Each scooter driver is acting out their belief in reincarnation. As in, they are Mario Andretti, and if they die in traffic they'll be reborn a real race car driver. In other words, if there is space on the street, in a few seconds a scooter will be in it. You cross the streets here with a spring in your step. The few stoplights and traffic signs are advisory only. Honking is a language of it's own.

We had a late morning snack in a newly opened store that sells north american coffee!!! Coffee here is in teeny tiny little cups, cappucino and expresso, and that's about it. There are pastry's galore, and fancy little cookies, but no muffins, bagels or other stuff. This cafe had them, and it was nice to hear colloquial english.

The apartment has satellite tv, so we even get english there. Watching Starsky and Hutch, Gunsmoke, McGyver, and Stargate in dubbed Italian is an interesting experience. They rarely mention the weather on tv.

The end of our vacation is coming up fast. Not sure what our plans are, but tomorrow is probably some of the tourista stuff. Then side trips to Pisa, Sienna, and Rome. I think Wed night we leave on the overnight train to Paris, then the Chunnel train to London. We'll stay in my brother's flat for another night, (thanks Rick!) then back to Calgary the next day.

Overall this has been wonderful. Not a quiet relaxing vacation like previous ones in Nova Scotia, but except for Torino, lots of fun. I expect by the end I will be thoroughly arted out. We toured one building in Torino that had more gilt picture frames, gilt furniture, gilt crusting on decorations, gilt everything, to the extent I probably tripled the gilt exposure in my lifetime to date. There's fancy art everywhere. You can't avoid it.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to get in another run. I was hoping for a path along the river, but haven't seen one. There have been some runners in the street, but I'm not up to dodging traffic, watching out for loose or raised paving stones, and trying not to get lost, all while running. My arm is feeling better, with the weakest part being my wrist. Perhaps I broke something there after all.



  1. can't wait to have you home, but so glad you guys are having such a wonderful time! when's the slide show???

    i can see it now, food, wine and slide show, haha.

  2. LMAO!! I just read your post about the fashion police..."If sir will wear that in public..." Priceless, Keith!! What did Linda say? Hahahahaha!

    Can't wait to see the pics -- and I bet Susi is going to have to have to travel there just for all the purple!! :) :)

  3. is there an ironman italy??? then julie, you and i NEED to go! haha.


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