Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Florence--Only Two Days Left!!!

June 20, 2005, 4:50 PM, Florence, Italy

And so…the adventure continues. We arrived in Florence around two o’clock. Everything had gone smoothly up until the point where the taxi driver dropped us off in front of our hotel, The Castri. Just as he pulled off, and just as we got to the glass doors, Kathy realized she didn’t have her red cosmetic bag. Apparently, the taxi driver had missed it when he took our bags out of the back. We immediately had the front desk people call the taxi people about it, but it hasn’t turned up. And Kathy has pretty much accepted that it’s lost. But she’s bummed about it, all the same. She had some pretty expensive cosmetics and hair stuff in there. Luckily, though, the medicine she had to buy in Austria was in her other bag.

After we got our luggage to the room—it’s not a spectacular room, but the entire ceiling is painted with a gorgeous mural of flowers, cherubs and faces of grim-looking people from the past. I’ve already stubbed my toe twice, though, on the raised floor into the bathroom. Why on earth do they do that????

June 20th, 10:08 PM, Florence, Italy

Good news! Kathy’s bag arrived at the hotel. I guess the taxi driver brought it back. She’s just thrilled, and all is right with the world again.

We just got back to the hotel, and we’re ready to call it an early night. After we checked in, we went out to walk around, and right away, found ourselves at the famous open air market. There is a lot of stuff for sale, for sure, but I wasn’t greatly impressed with the prices. They certainly weren’t as good as the prices at the Athens open air market. But Kathy found a leather wallet for Vince for 15 Euros, and I bought a purse for a Bunco prize, and almost immediately wished I hadn’t because the ones I really liked in Siena were only 12 Euros, and I paid 13 for this one. Kathy got a great deal there in Siena with her red leather belt bag for 26 Euros. The same ones were 58 at the Florence open air market. I saw an olive green skirt I liked at one of the stalls, and she took credit cards, but I couldn’t talk her down to 15; she wanted 18, but said if I could pay cash, she’d sell it to me for 15. (Kathy told me you were supposed to haggle at this market, so I did.) Of course, I don’t have any cash to spare. But I think I’m going to change my last $32 tomorrow to make sure we have enough cash for taxis. (NOTE: Ha!!! Or so I thought.) Maybe I’ll go ahead and get it for 18. It’s really cute, and it would be cool to have a skirt from Italy. Hmmmm…I’ll sleep on it.

Dinner was pretty good. We found an outdoor trattoria, and since I decided I wasn’t drinking tonight, I ordered pizza and a Coke. The pizza was really good—at least the crust and sauce were. I didn’t like the way they dropped chunks of mozzarella over it, though, and it was really soggy and greasy in the middle. Still, it was the third best pizza we’ve had, I think.

Tomorrow we have to check out of the Hotel Castri by noon, but we’re going to have them keep our luggage, and we’re going to walk around the city some more, and hopefully be able to kill enough time to have dinner at this trattoria where they have a set menu for a four or five-course dinner for 14 Euros. And they take credit cards!!! Then we’ll come back to the hotel, call for a taxi and head for the hotel near the airport. We’ll have to make it an early night because we have to be at the airport by five in the morning. Ugggh!!! That’s just way too early!


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