Saturday, September 6, 2014

On The Way

"On this flight there is absolutely no smocking," the flight attendant announces.  So those of you who had planned to do a little hand sewing, perhaps something for your granddaughter?  You're out of luck.  

Love that A380.  It can take up  to 853 passengers, but with all the business class seats this one is more like 500.  And that's plenty.  Especially at the baggage carousel.

Upstairs it's so quiet you can hear your seat mate's motor as he reclines.  And in business class, reclining is not an act of aggression toward your neighbor.

The next leg of our trip: not so much.  The only amenity in this business class is an empty seat next to you.  Good thing, because the seats are the size of kiddie booster seats, with about as much charm - and leg room, and the seats don't recline.  At all.  That would solve the current controversy raging in the US about reclining your seat.

As we land in Florence and taxi toward the terminal, there is a turbo-prop sitting just off the runway at a drunken angle, wings tilted and nose slightly down.  As we get closer you can see the taxiway ends about 50 feet short of where the plane sits - oops - and grass is growing around the plane.  I'd love to know the story behind that.
 The window in our hotel is small, but the view is spectacular.  I expect to see Brunelleschi sticking his head out a nearby window to admire his dome.  This could be 500 years ago.

Except for the crowds.  And their costumes.  
And the tourists on Segways.  With e-cigarettes.  Doesn't get more modern than this.
And of course there are all the touristy things.  Pickpockets and policemen working the crowds.  The pickpockets are much more active than the police, but the police are better dressed.
There are horse drawn carriages that look more like Dickens' London than Michelangelo's Firenze.  
Flower decked bicycles
and swirled towers of gelato.
 And the most beautiful leather goods.
Wally and I are rocking our Italian, gaining more confidence - until I ask in a restaurant in my best Italian for a table for two outside, and the hostess is off to the races.  I get that I should ask the boys outside; the rest is lost.  But the next day, walking down the street, a couple passes, and we hear him say (in Italian) "Not if you gave me a sack of money!"  We understand the idiom thanks to Gina and her fabulous Italian class.  And we've discovered we're not afraid to speak, to try, to laugh when we mess up.  

We find a florist selling weird and wonderful seeds:
And see the long and short of driving in medieval Florence.  
Safety tip:  pick the car that's easier to park.   It will also fit down the narrow streets without having to use the sidewalk.  Not that they don't all use the sidewalk as an extra lane....

We cross the river to eat at Camillo on Borgo San Iacopo, and besides the best meal we've had, we meet the most interesting people.  She is a classical Indian dancer; he is a handbag designer and has an atelier in Florence.  Corto Moltedo handbags.  Fabulous, and yes you can buy them on line.  

There are little boys learning how to row:
And skilled scullers, so fast they are beneath you almost before you can fire up your camera.

It's a magical modern medieval zoo.

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