Annie asked if I was all packed and ready...I've only two days left and my answer is still: "no, I haven't even brought my suitcase up from the basement". Oops...did I mention that I am a horrible procrastinator?! From the moment I spontaneously bought my air ticket a few months ago, I have been floating along in some kind of "everything will miraculously fall into place without much effort on my part" state for this trip. And, I have to say, so far this is working out ok for me! And is exactly what I need right now...not much planning, just time away, in beautiful Florence. There is much I want to see and do...but this journey is about relaxing and rejuvenating my weary soul, not rushing from sight to sight. I might spend all my days wandering through Florence, or I might take a few daytrips to places such as Arezzo, Pistoia, Lucca, Bologna. I won't know until I get there and let the impulses flow through me!
And I'm really looking forward to my time in Venice too! Maria graciously said "you probably have things you want to see" in case I wanted to venture off on my own...but I said I'm happy to just wander around and explore whatever we come across. I haven't got my heart irrevocably set on any "must sees"...it's all about being there. Although I'm all for her Obama gondolier project - that could be too much fun, if we can manage it!
It suddenly hit me this weekend that there are only three business days left before I leave, and I haven't any euro to bring with me. They have bank machines in Italy, why is that a big problem, you ask? Well I'll tell you...I have to pay for my apartment up front, on arrival...in cash...800 euro. The ATMs in Italy that I have used have a daily limit of 200 euro per day, so it would take me quite a while to extract enough to pay Franco (the apartment owner) and have spending money. Off to the bank I went yesterday. The teller asks how much I want to purchase. I tell her my amount. Oh, she says, did you order it in advance? Um, no...I reply. "Okaaay, I'll go see if she has any", says the teller, sounding rather dubious about the chance of this out of sight "she" having such a quantity of euro. A few minutes later, she comes back with good news - I'm in luck, someone had just turned in a bunch of euro today! The teller apologies because they are mostly 20 euro bills...I said, no problem, I'll take what I can get! So my procrastinating ways have not yet sunk my trip! (At least I wasn't cashing in a ton of coin this time!)