Names, Darling! Names!

Names, Darling! Names! Why do I feel like I’m in “Absolutely Fabulous”? The designer names in this town are astounding. On a per capita basis, I would say it is greater than Rome. But then, as a center for philosophical thought, a city that prides itself on a certain je ne said quois, this is to be expected.

So, you can understand my frustration last night after the arrival of a busload of high schoolers from Las Vegas descended upon (infected?) our quiet little Valhalla. I suppose I should have expected disruption when Barry and I returned from our ten mile hike into the hills across the Arno River. Exhausted but exhilarated, we walked down the Via Nazionale where our hotel is located.

At the precise location of our hotel an enormous bus had attempted something. What it attempted, I still don’t know. All I know is that the bus was either stalled or had hit something. It was now blocking our narrow street which is at an intersection. Cars were honking, people were milling about and we had to squeeze our way into our hotel where a couple dozen kids were hanging out with their chaperones.

Personally, I didn’t think too much of it, until last night. Around 8-9 these kids started yelling, slamming doors, laughing and running through the halls. I waited until about ten o’clock, figuring that kids will be kids. Once ten o’clock hit, though, this curmudgeon was running low on patience. After lying in bed, trying to get some shut-eye with all the noise, I had had enough. I got dressed and walked to the room that was creating all the noise.

Knocking loudly, a kid opened the door. Bleary-eyed I asked loudly if they knew what time it was and if they realized there were other people in the hotel. I waited until all eyes were fixated on me when I once again, and loudly, repeated my question. They all looked at me somewhat sheepishly, apologized and said they’d be quiet. That was all I wanted to hear.

As far as I know, quiet remained because I went back to my room and fell instantly asleep. They weren’t bad kids. Just regular kids. Probably excited to be in Italy. The rest of the day was energetic, to say the least. After crossing the Ponte Vecchio, we walked up to the Piazzale Michelangelo which is on a hill across the Arno River. The view from there is stunning and Barry and I both took numerous photos.

From there, Barry wanted to walk and walk we did. Now, I must tell you something about Barry. And, fortunately, he will agree with this (won’t you, Barry?) because it’s not bad at all. We have different philosophies about travel. Barry is all about relaxing and following an unknown path because that path will lead to an experience that will be forever remembered. I’m all about cramming as much stuff into a day as possible because I don’t know when I’ll be back.

Which philosophy is best? Guess it matters what you want. Since this is my third trip to Florence, I am completely willing to follow Barry wherever he wants to go. And I have to admit that I’m getting some great exercise (we probably walked a good ten miles yesterday, much of it uphill). I’m also slowing down.

We spent two hours today just sitting in the park relaxing and quietly chatting about whatever came to mind. I had to remark that we looked like the three old geezers (minus one) from the 1980 film Going in Style who would sit on the same bench in the same park every day watching the same ugly kids–until they finally decided to pull a bank job. I don’t think we’re there yet. But it did crack me up.

I was also gratified to hear Barry tell me that he has never seen me this relaxed in all the years he’s known me (thirty-eight and counting). Made me stop and think. I’ve already seen the Uffizi, the statue of David, the Ponte Vecchio and pretty much everything else there is to see in Florence. If Barry doesn’t necessarily want to see some of these things, why should I care? Frankly, I see Rome and Florence as Barry’s time. I’m not going to cram something down his throat because I feel it’s important. It feels good to slow down.

It feels good to listen to the exotic fall of the Italian accent, feel the breeze in my hair and the sun on my face. It felt good tonight to revel in a relaxing meal of tortellini and wild boar with a robust vino to wash it down. We’ll see what it’s like when we get to Bratislava and Budapest, though! LOL In the meantime, here’s a couple of pics that turned out better than I could have ever dreamed. You wanna talk relaxed?? And how often does one capture reflections like these??
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