“I learned that the richness of life is found in adventure. . . . It develops self-reliance and independence. Life then teems with excitement. There is stagnation only in security.” – William Orville Douglas
Florence, one of the cities I have most wanted to visit as long as I can remember!
On our way from Venice our two hour train ride turned into three because we missed our train stop and had to ride all the way to Arezzo. The train on the way back took us through all the Tuscan villages. I was anxious to get to Florence, but could still appreciate the beauty. I am finally in the Tuscan region!
Like every city, we checked in and hit the streets. We are only a couple blocks from the Duomo! Fantastic! Strolling through the streets I immediately note that Florence is a shopping mecca. There are trendy stores everywhere. We enjoy a late lunch and then do a little shopping since we haven’t been getting souvenirs up until now. (At least I haven’t been…Arlene has been all over the shopping situation).
Shopping done-check, necessary internet time-check, bottles of wine purchased-check…we are ready to head back to the hotel. At 10pm we went out to explore Florence at night. An American born, resident of Florence recommended a couple bars and “discotheques” for us to choose from. After a couple drinks in a small bar, we wandered to the disco “Twice.” I suddenly felt like I was back in San Diego. American music with the standard San Diego club decor combined with my tried and true vodka Redbulls in favor of the wine I’ve opted for the whole trip…and I’m suddenly back home. Our night is great until we all somehow end up heading home alone!
All three of us made the mistake of thinking the other two left us, so we all ended up alone after being separated in the club. Since we had just arrived, Arlene and I hadn’t taken the time to learn our address! Oh no! Long story short…we both figured we could find our way home from the Duomo. Well the Duomo intersects what feels like 16 streets, so that alone doesn’t help one find their way home in the similar looking streets of Florence! A very nice Greek guy walked me home, phew! At that point my options were roll the dice and walk alone or roll the dice and let him escort me home. Oy. It was very embarrassing telling him (after arriving at the Duomo) that I didn’t know my street name! We circle blocks and finally, after having the train station pointed out, I got my bearings and knew my position. He was very patient and in hindsight, I was very lucky he wasn’t some creep! I did enjoy a quiet moment in front of the Duomo at night with absolutely no crowds and very few people. I was suddenly sucked into the Medici era in my mind. It was beautiful. Arlene, however, had a longer, more traumatic walk home only to realize she didn’t have a key! Luckily, I arrived home MOMENTS after her so it all worked out. Suffice to say, after that night, we all made better plans for if we get separated at night and ALWAYS carry the hotel/hostel business card with us!
Oh yeah, what happened to Ryan that night…he was asleep in bed after just opting to take a cab!