Thursday, July 14, 2005

Cramming in the Last Hours in Florence

June 21, 2005, 11:33 AM, Florence

We’ve got about twenty-five minutes before we have to check out of the Hotel Castri. Kathy is taking a quick shower before we go. We’ve already been through the open air market this morning, and I’ve spent more money. God help me when that credit card bill comes in. (NOTE: It was worse than I imagined it would be.) But I wanted to get Frank an Italian wallet, and I decided to go ahead and get me a leather travel purse and the guy made me a deal, so I added on a smaller travel purse for a Bunco gift. I’m going to give Leah that purse I bought yesterday. I’m still looking for that olive green skirt, though. If I find it, that’s the last thing I’m going to charge on this trip—except for dinner, of course. God, can I spend money or what??? (Money I don’t actually have, in this case.)

We’re going to explore more of Florence before we leave for the airport hotel tonight, and we’ll definitely eat a late lunch/early dinner here because we don’t know what’s available there. I can’t believe our adventure is almost over, and tomorrow at this time, we’ll be flying across the Atlantic.

The breakfast buffet was exceptional this morning. The bread on the table was delicious. I guess I’m a little “croissanted” out, just as I’m a little “pizza’d” out, so I passed on that and just went for the rolls. We got lots of great pictures in the garden behind the hotel—of the statues, fish pond and from the solarium terrace above.

Well, the shower just went off, and it’s 11:40. We’re sucking every bit of time out of this hotel stay that we possibly can, since we’ll be “homeless” until we get to the airport hotel tonight.

June 22, 9:00 AM, Somewhere Over Northern Italy or Austria

Well, we’re on the second leg of our flight back home to America. I thought we only had two legs, but after we got to the Florence Airport this morning, we saw that our plane would stop in Bologna. It was a twenty-minute flight—the shortest one ever for me, I think. Now, we’re on our way to Vienna, and should be landing in about a half-hour.

I wish I could write about how wonderful yesterday—our last day in Italy—was. And parts of it were wonderful, and I’ll tell you about them. But it ended on a very unpleasant note. I’ll get to that in a minute.

We headed back to the open air markets in search of my skirt. I had three criteria—olive green, 20 Euro maximum, and being able to use a credit card. It wasn’t looking good. I couldn’t find the same stall I’d seen the day before—the one where the girl would take a credit card, but wouldn’t reduce her price of 18 Euros. Now, that deal was looking good.

We walked through the market—several times, and then decided to make our way to Ponte Vecchio, the bridge over the Arno River. On the way, we stopped at the Uffizi Museum and got some pictures of some really grotesque statues—one man held another man by the hair and had a club in his other hand, so it didn’t take a rocket science to figure out the poor guy was about to be killed. Another one—and this one was so awful, I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of it—was of a man who’d just killed the woman at his feet. This was rather obvious because her body was headless, and he held the dripping head in his hands like it was a trophy. Disgusting! (And I knew it was a woman because of her naked boobs.) What on earth had she done to deserve such a horrible death? And the acts of cruelty man has inflicted on each other. It sure makes you wonder about life and God and eternity.


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