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Report 454: Florence On My Own: Three Weeks of Studying Italian and Very Slow Travel

By Marian from New Jersey, Spring 2004

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Page 2 of 21: Sono Arrivata! Or, The Carmine and Me

photo by Marian

The View From My Window

Thursday 6 May: I arrive in Florence with ease — flights, luggage delivery, ATM all cooperate nicely — and I quickly find a taxi.

So, of course, I have to start out by creating a problem. This I accomplish by losing the address of my apartment at Residenza Il Carmine. I tell the driver that it is on Via d’Ardiglione, which we agree is a very short street. But I cannot give him the number, as apparently that does not appear on any of the e-mail I’ve exchanged with the management. He seems very concerned, and I cannot tell whether he thinks I’m yet another idiot tourist, or is justifiably annoyed at a delay in his busy day, or perhaps is actually worried for me.

So we pull up to the street, and I begin making inquiries; the first two people have no idea where it is. Then the man I soon learn is part of the owning family appears on the street and says “Marian?”. The driver backs up to the correct door, takes out my luggage, and very kindly wishes me a good stay. For some reason I am quite pleased that I have not begun my vacation with an angry taxi driver. And thus my wonderful stay begins.

My apartment is even better than I expected --- nothing worn or shabby in it. The interior garden is lovely. This will be a nice place to come “home” to.

Miriam, my landlady, tells me that “due signori” were asking for me --- they know me from the internet. So this must be Dan, AKA “JaketheDog” from ST, who is also staying here; we’ve been in contact through private messaging. But I am too confused about how to use the phone to be able to reach him. I am also confused because I thought he was here with his wife, but surely due signori means two men. We shall see.

After unpacking and showering, I go out to walk in my new “neighborhood.” So many food shops and so little time! I buy some strawberries and tomatoes. I also buy a phone card and try to reach ColleenK when I return to my apartment, but am unable --- she has a US cell phone. We have a plan to meet for dinner at Ristorante Ricchi in Piazza Santo Spirito, just a few blocks from my apartment.

Somehow we make contact and I meet her at the restaurant, which is great. My first meal this trip. And it’s terrific to meet Colleen after all this e-mailing to and fro. Delicious food, presentation and service, although Colleen and her friend Camilla both think it a bit more like a NY restaurant than an Italian one. Probably so, but I’m loving it. After dinner, a short walk back “home”. Except for the cold wet weather, all is wonderful!

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