Under the Tuscan Sun: Part II July 17 – 21

After reuniting with Jillian, the four of us settled into our 6 bed dorm room at Plus Florence, where we stayed on the ‘plus girls’ floor- formally a female dorm, complete with hot pink walls and scented toilet paper. On the first day, we took a walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo, where we sipped wine and watched the most beautiful sunset- so beautiful that as the sun disappeared beyond the hills, all who watched, broke out into applause. It was a perfect moment. The next day we took a tour through a Tuscan market where we sampled fresh olives (which I still abhor, but ate anyway because I’m a trooper), dried tomatoes, cheese and wine- (yes, wine, at 10am..that was a first, but not a last!). After the market, we took a walk to the Galleria del Academia where we saw the majestic David- even more impressive than the copy we saw at the Piazzale the night before. The following day, Maria and Rosimara went to Rimini and Jillian and I took a day trip to Venice. Ah, beautiful Venice. We took a ferry ride down the Grand Canal- in the wrong direction and ended up in some town called Lido. We eventually found the correct boat and headed back into Venice where we had a lovely Italian lunch consisting of Gnocci Bolognese and Fragiolo, some of the best wine I have ever tasted. We then took a walk through the Jewish Ghetto which fueled my desire to visit Germany and Poland. Rosimara and I will be doing that in October. After lunch we met a very well toned Gondolier who introduced himself as Johnba, as in John the Baptist, who offered us a free gondola ride after his shift (which was tempting considering a gondola ride costs 75 Euros- that’s over $100), but sadly we had to turn him down, as the last train back to Florence was leaving at 6:30pm. Next time Jonba! On the train ride home we realized that our tickets were ‘sin guarantia’, or something like that, meaning that we did not have guaranteed seats, meaning that we would either be standing or sitting on the floor for the 3 hour train ride. Just when we began to almost feel sorry for ourselves, we met Mary from Ohio who was travelling with her 20 year old daughter (who was sleeping in the luggage rack… apparently they got screwed out of seats as well). Mary was a hoot! And she happened to have a bottle of wine with her which we cracked open and ended up having a blast! Thank you Mary from Ohio! We eventually made it back to Florence where we would say our goodbyes to each other and to beautiful Italia.


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