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Are the men in Florence REALLY this desperate?!

To follow up from yesterday's post - Ok, so I'm two for two as far as two evenings spent in Florence and twice been invited for drinks by strange men. Yikes, surely there are more attractive prospects than 44 year old, married woman without a trace of outward fashion sense (loose jeans, t-shirt and fleece zip-up just don't compare to the incredibly stylish Italians!) I'm walking back from supper at Trattoria del Carmine (about a 15 or so minute walk from my apartment). A man goes past, and says buona sera (good evening)...I reply with the same because really that is a very innocuous remark...and he carries on his way. A few steps and he turns back, asking if I speak francaise or English...English, I say, thinking he must want to ask directions or something (really, I am too naive for my own good sometimes...) No French? He repeats. English only, I say (although this is not entirely true.) He carries on, I assume he must speak only French and wonder why he even asked about English. And then back he turns again "a little French?" "un tres petite peux" I say (why I do not know!) Ah, he says, a little...and informs me he speaks a little English. He walks along with me...he seems polite enough so I don't mind, and besides there are a few other people around so I figure I can call for help if need be. (I was not sensing any danger with my awesome psychic powers!) He was from Senegal, where I assume they must speak French. Although when he started talking about going for a drink, I starting wondering how to resume my solo walk. Anyway, we come to the end of Borgo San Jacobo by the Ponte Vecchio. Which way are you going, he asks. Uh oh...split second crisis in my brain - do I say toward the ponte Vecchio, in which case it will likely seem that I am up for his offer? Or do I say the other direction, and risk him following and finding out where my apartment is? I definitely do NOT want to give any vibes that I am up for drinks, so I head away. Oh, but a drink first? Ah no..."arrivederci" (good-bye), I say firmly and head away. "Ok, ciao bella, grazie" he says. I walk around the block to make sure he did in fact go over the Ponte Vecchio (he did, or at least no sign of him as I turned on to my street and went to the apartment.) Goodness...let's hope this is the last of the drink invitations!

This morning I had breakfast of apricot pastry (sort of a shortbread affair knotted around an apricot paste...quite tasty, but not as good as the lemon or chocolate ones.) And a banana and clementine (good thing I stocked up yesterday - is nice not to have to go out for breakfast, although I did have to pop out for espresso.)

I went to St. James Episcopalian Church just beyond the train station. The (English) service was wonderful, and cool to feel the connection of familiarity with the service. It was more ritualized than my own church, but much was the same and I actually did know some of the hymns! The children went out singing "we are marching in the love of God, we are marching, we are marching..." and the opening hymn was "all things bright and beautiful" (although that is not one I particularly care for, but I know it well.) I think the Reverend (a woman) said it was the feast day of St. Francis...which would explain the fact that people brought their cats and dogs to be blessed! There were also two tiny twin baby girls baptized, and a guest choir - the Cameroon English choir from Pisa. They were great, very animated and lots of drums and hand clapping...yes, I was clapping right along (no dancing though! haha) I went up for communion. This church has the communion wine in cups, from which everyone drinks. I drank from the communal cup when we went to church in England, but was none too thrilled about it (so thank Valerie for the tip about taking the wafer in my hand and dipping it into the communion cup instead...that is much more to my liking!)

And that's what has been going on with me...more tomorrow. (hopefully I will have NO more drink offers to tell you about after supper tonight!)

I have to say it is SO convenient to have an internet point so close to my apartment, now that I have discovered the tiny alley that connects my street with Borgo San Jacobo, it is literally a few seconds walk, loads of terminals, and not too busy so always can find an open one.

Comments (8)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Anne, I think you're handling yourself really well. It's always best to trust your instincts when they alert you, so you did really good.

Your experience at the St. James Episcopalian Church sounds wonderful. And I am very happy that you have a nearby internet cafe. I get to enjoy all your great posts.

Keep on enjoying yourself and I look forward to your next interesting entry!

Mom:

Keep up the good work staving off those Italian flirts! Much relieved when I heard that were safe and sound in your apartment in Florence. I dug out my Florence calendar to remember the fabulous skyline within view of your windows. I'm really envious and wish I was there. But glad you are having such a wonderful time, Italian studs notwithstanding! Thanks to Muriel and Lynn I keep up with your adventures. Ciao.

Thanks so much for these very entertaining updates! How does it feel to be a femme fatale? I say be flattered and keep chasing them away. The church service sounds wonderful - I love animal blessings.

Ciao and have fun!

Kelly:

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! Are you travelling outside of Florence too?

sandrac:

Yikes! I hate to say this, but brace yourself -- men in Florence really can be pretty pesky. (And definitely not desperate -- you are lovely!) But you may have to become rude and not even acknowledge men when they say hello. At least, random men on the street.

(If they do grind you down, have a coffee with my friend Jim. He is extraordinarily mild-mannered and easy going, maybe a bit of a counterbalance to the more aggressive guys!)

Today is the feast day of St. Francis, so that explains the blessing of the animals.

Hope you're having fun and getting your daily gelato!

Anne:

Annie - kinda cool actually, who knew? ;)

Kel, I plan to spend most of my time in Florence, but will probably take the train to a couple nearby places like Bologna, Lucca, Pistoia, Arezzo...plus going to Venice for a few days to meet my blogging friend Maria (she is renting an apartment there so I am going to stay with her - how fantastic is that?!!)

I can't believe he was so insistent to get you to speak French! Glad you found a great church to attend!

Must be tiresome to be so drop dead gorgeous! :) Sounds like you are handling it well, though!

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