Thursday, June 20, 2013

Giving the Finger

I have been lagging behind in writing. Some brilliant ideas come with consequences. When we travel, I always have a battery recharger with me for my camera batteries. My particular camera requires rather particular batteries, which are not only hefty in weight, but in cost as well. The charger for them is duly expensive. After years of traveling, the charger had gotten knocked around my suitcase causing the protruding electric prongs to become wobbly and finally ineffective. Rather than be inserted into an outlet, they would rather retreat like man parts when entering freezing water.

Brainstorming, I thought it would be prudent to get some Styrofoam to cover the prongs, hence making them stable in the suitcase. After hunting down people who knew what Styrofoam was, I finally found some. When testing it out, it became apparent that little bits of white chemical balls were going to start sloughing off decorating everything else in the luggage. The next option was to try foam rubber. Finding a place that sold this was more of a challenge. I had suggestions, but before I could set out, someone mentioned a sponge. Eureka! This was the solution. Off I went to buy a sponge. Then to hold it on and in place, I bought 2 hair scrunchies. This keeps the prongs safe and the batteries in place while inside the suitcase.

Well all reasonable creations come a little blood, sweat, and tears. The sweat was hunting down the potential supplies from store to store in high heat. The blood and tears came later. While trying to cut into the cellulose sponge, the screwdriver that I thought would be sufficient was not. The next item was a knife. It slashed through the sponge quickly and easily, but unfortunately, my finger was in the way. It was a deep wound, bringing on the blood and tears. It actually bled for over 3 hours if I did not keep pressure on it. There was no way we could get a bandage tight enough to stop the bleeding, so it needed hand holding. For once, one hand knew what the other hand was doing.

Need I say how difficult it is to type with a left forefinger that looks like the end of a baton? The f-g-r-t-v and 5 keys were now vacationing due to my lack of dexterity. Adding to this is the knowledge that the negative Internet connection was not going to improve my cyber communication skills in any way. Strangely, I could surf the Internet, albeit at a snail’s pace, but I could not access our own website nor could I send e-mail from our own account So particularly strange.

In order to divert my attention away from my Internet issues, I had to content myself with our first afternoon into the evening walk in Florence. Poor me! We spent it wandering aimlessly as we looked at some of the ancient historic sites. This was my fourth time here and my second time with Ron. Our last visit was in 1993, so it was undeniably exciting to have a reason to return. Only two nights were allotted for this portion of the trip, and then we venture off to Tuscany for two nights, and then return here for three more nights.

We ventured to the Pitti Palace, the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, the outdoor museum of statues by the old city hall, and various churches that were open. This is undeniably a city where nightlife rules; throngs of people are milling around the piazzas and walking the narrow streets. Most streets are so slight in width that the sidewalk on each side of the centered one car lane only allows for single-file walking. There is no shortage of people in the plazas where restaurants circle the perimeter, generally a church sits on one side corner like a matriarch overseeing her clan, and a fountain adorns the center of the square complementing the scene as viewed in foreign movies.

People are eating late into the night. At 11pm, patrons are still arriving, looking for menus, and tipping back drinks. The restaurants are full of reserved tables still, at this late hour. Regardless of the mobs of people busily involved in social activity, the sound level was moderately static allowing residents in the apartments above to enjoy their television without having to blast the volume. There was a steady buzz so unlike the voluminous raucous sounds bringing to mind hooligans at a football match, which is what we hear outside our own windows.

Sticker shock hit us like a professional baseball pitcher’s fastball. Regardless of our diligence in hunting high and low, we could not find a budget eatery. We finally settled for a place in the piazza where we had been twice. It was only by sheer fortune that we were able to get a table, it was that busy and we had been refused by another restaurant that could not accommodate us. We chose Ricchi Pizzeria, where I had a pizza, Ron had risotto and each of us had a beer. The bill came to €54, which certainly churned my stomach more so than the pizza did.  If my pizza were delectable, I would not have been so upset, but it was essentially tasteless. I could have done better with cardboard, tomato juice, and skim milk cheese.

By 11:30, we finally wandered back to our B and B Casa di Annusca at Via dei Serragli 126- (+39-338-314-1076 This is a fabulously rich accommodation with artwork in every nook and granny. Even the interior doors are graced with murals.

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