What happened to my post?!?! I wrote about my experiences yesterday, but it apparently got lost in the ether…so I will try to remember what I wrote…
Yesterday I decided to hop a train to Florence, in an attempt to Michelangelo’s David. In my typical fashion, I waited until the very last minute to purchase my ticket (an entire 5 minutes before departure) and had to buy a first class ticket, since all of the 2nd class tickets had been sold. Not an entirely bad thing, but after that $75 salad, I’ve been trying to keep my expenditures down.
The train ride through Tuscany was beautiful and after a quick 90 minute ride, I arrived in Florence, a city very different from Rome. My first stop was the church of Santa Maria Novella – – that one, I could not miss, as it was right next to the train station. Again…stunningly beautiful but again…no cameras. So after a short time, I headed out and tried to find my way to the Duomo.
I have to say, that it is really quite amazing that I have been able to get myself as lost as I have been in the past few days. I’ve always been pretty good with directions…but this…THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I felt like I’d been walking in circles and finally stopped at a cafe for my first food of the day (at 3pm!). After walking through some areas that didn’t seem too safe, I was feeling like I should just stay in the cafe for the remainder of the day. But a British gentleman sat next to me and helped me figure out where I was and where I was headed. So after my sandwich, I headed back out to the spectacular Duomo. I finally broke down and bought a pair of gloves at the street market…too bad I had to endure 4 days of cold hands before I did it, but these ones were only 3 Euro and while they are already falling apart, they are cute!
I did make it to Accademia and thanks to a helpful Italian in the street, I avoided the line (which I would have assumed that I needed to wait in since I did not have a reservation) and went right in. Accademia is a very small museum, but it houses the David, which is the most widely recognized statue in the history of art. Again…no photos, but being able to view such an incredible and historically significant piece of art was worth the $130 round trip train ticket.
After sitting in first class on the way to Florence, the trip back in 2nd class seemed almost comical. It was complete with a crying baby, a cat meowing in its carrier the entire time, and an elderly man having a panic attack. But for a short 90 minute ride, a few annoyances were not a problem. Feeling a need to connect with American culture a bit, I decided to stop at the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. Blasphemy, I know. But it was great to be in a rowdy atmosphere with loud music, fun people (many of whom spoke fluent English!) and heavy American food. The little pastisserie across the street from my hotel was once again, my last stop for the night. Instead of selecting my own two little cookies, I asked the clerk to select what he thought were the best two. He then proceeded to make up an entire tray of about 6 little pastries. How could I refuse! I’m beginning to regard Nutella as one of the basic food groups…
I miss a lot of things…and I will be ready to go back home. Mainly, I miss my children. I cried yesterday…sobbed actually…on the train to Florence, because I missed them so much. And I didn’t even care about the looks that I got from the other passengers. So last night, when I finally got to hear their voices for the first time in 3 days (the time difference has made it difficult for me to catch them at home when I’m actually at the hotel and able to call), it was the sweetest sound I’d heard in quite some time.
Oh…and coffee. I miss American coffee. Don’t get me wrong…the coffee here is delicious, and I know Italians pride themselves on their coffee. But my goodness…how much enjoyment can you get out of a tiny little shot of espresso? Even the cappuccinos are small! So you can bet that I will be looking forward to a nice big cup of Starbucks coffee when I return, so that I can carry it along with me, gradually sipping it over an hour or so. This is one case where Americans are right – – bigger IS better!
Many things are closed on Mondays, so today…I will be visiting the ancient sites. You know…the colosseum and all that jazz. I’ll be a tourist…with my camera hanging around my neck and my guidebook in hand. But first, I am going to get my running shoes on and go for a run in the Borghese gardens. It is back to reality and back to the fact that my 1/2 marathon is in less than 2 months.