Yesterday was our day in Firenze, otherwise known as Florence. After a lot of snot letting which felt like I was excising an evil spirit through my nostrils, I arrived at breakfast. Yogurt, cheese, croissant, apple. My typical European breakfast.

Meine Schwester und Rocket Man were no where to be seen, so I knocked on their door. They were grateful since they had slept through the wake up call. They also berated me for not waking them up earlier. Geez.

We boarded the bus by quarter past eight. Firenze was only a forty minute ride, so we were there by nine. We walked along the river for a bit and then into the old part of the city. It was exactly the kind of small stone street that I expected to see. Classic Italy.

We stopped to look at the statues by the old Medici palace. There were a lot of statues. The ones that stuck out were the fountain of Neptune and the statue where some guy is holding Mesusa’s head. There is a replica of David there, but the original has been moved to a new location so you have to pay to see it. They claim it is to protect it because someone smashed David’s toes, but I’m pretty sure it is for the money.

Next we went to the museum that is keeping David. The statue is incredible. Miraculously carved from one block of marble, he is gorgeous. I didn’t expect to be as amazed as I was, but thinking about how hard it is to chisel marble, how perfect the proportions are and how hard it must have been to get it right, I was stunned.

Next, we walked back to the square we had started from with the tour guide. I don’t know what she said because we could hardly hear her. I’m sure there was fascinating history I should have learned. Instead, I took photos. Quaint little streets, door knockers, a doorbell with the label “viceversa”.

We all broke off for lunch. Meine Schwester, Rocket Man, and I wandered through side streets until we found a cute little cafe with outdoor seating. I had a fabulous salad, a glass of house red, and an espresso. The wine helped my cough and the espresso helped my headache. A perfect little Italian lunch.

We went to the leather store that our tour guide, Super Mario, suggested. He probably gets kickbacks. I almost got talked into a long, reversible, leather and suede coat. It really was beautiful. But the price tag said €1450. The guy talked himself down eventually to €300, but I had set an imaginary limit in my head of €250. Even that would have been too much. I told them they had to negotiate with Meine Schwester. Eventually we walked out. Besides, as a vegetarian, it felt wrong to buy leather.

We went back to the bus and arrived fairly early at the hotel, so Meine Schwester and I went to the grocery store for cheap water and wine. Rocket Man went for a run to the top of the big hill.

We then went to the bar with Roomie and JD. JD stands for Jack Daniels, since that is her favorite drink. JD has a couple decades on me and could drink me under the bus any day. The bar tender was straight out of a horror film. He was older, shaking, dressed well, very slow and deliberate.

We went with wine. I spent most of the time trying to delete photos and get the hotel Internet working. They eventually had to reset something.

We were then treated to a Tuscan candlelight dinner which started with a plate of meat and ended my recent vegetarianism temporarily. It is hard to be a vegetarian with preset meals.

At dinner, we noticed our tour guide and bus driver had left with half a bottle of wine on the table, so Meine Schwester snatched it. Then we passed it around. The waitstaff did give her a dirty look since I think they had been eyeing it.

We adjourned to the large, shared veranda outside our rooms. I brought the bottle of wine we’d bought down to the bar in hopes that the bartender would graciously open it for us. He said he would, but had to finish making a drink and serve it first. It took him a while, then he said he’d be right back and left the room.

An older gentleman with an Irish accent sidled up to me and said, “They don’t call him Speedy for nothing.” I giggled. A woman decided she couldn’t wait and walked behind the bar. Before she could do anything, Speedy returned and scolded her. I believe he might also have cursed her and she was visited by great evil as she slept. Speedy opened my bottle of wine and I joined the crew on the veranda where we drank and talked and viewed photos from the day.


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