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Report 926: My Dream Trip To Italy and France

By BGE from Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada, Spring 2005

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Page 10 of 38: Once More, With Feelin’

photo by BGE

Lunch today

I wake up, realize I’ve slept 7 ½ hours, still in the same position that I was in when I curled up last night. I must have been totally exhausted, ’cause I didn’t move. After a breakfast of ginger tea, grapefruit and my hot cereal, I am determined to find M. & D. today and make up for the distress of yesterday.

The thing is, can I walk?

My feet HURT!

I have blisters.

I have very, very sore feet. I also know that I have very, very little stamina left for today, and I’d better not take on anything too tiring. Only short walks, with lots of good food every 2 hours. That is what works, that is what I have to do today... take the day in little bites.

The weather is cloudy, cool, rainy... perfetto! I have all the windows open and all the shutters closed, so I have a lovely flow of fresh, crisp, rain-soaked air moving through my apartment.

Church bell are ringing in the distance.

I’m still reacting to yesterday, to being hollered at in Esselunga, and then missing spending the day with M. & D. I'm still reacting to missing my lunch and then having my blood sugar drop like a stone. Only now do I feel it coming back up to near-normal.

Later today...

I try to use a payphone on the corner to call my son, and realize it does not take coins. I have no phone card and don’t know where to buy one.

I walk to the café around the corner, Caffe Principe on via Giovanni Matteotti, and stumbling through my poor Italian, ask the non-English-speaking owner if she has a payphone. She doesn’t understand me, asks the WHOLE restaurant full of people, “Anyone speak English?” Someone does, steps forward and translates for me. The owner directs me to her payphone, and after several attempts to get it right, one of the customers takes pity on me and helps me.

I deposit my first .20E coin, finally speak to M. at his hotel, and after a few seconds, the phone goes dead. I call again, deposit another .20E coin and after we say hello and a few more sentences, the phone goes dead again!

I finally get it.

One .20E coin is not enough! I’m from the land of put-50 cents-in-a-payphone-and-talk-for-3-minutes phone calls…this Italian payphone is a whole different deal.

I call AGAIN, deposit 2E in change this time, and finally am allowed to finish a sentence! I invite them for dinner tonight. I have no way of reaching them other than this payphone, I have no cell phone number yet and the cell phone that I have with me will not charge. I’ve bought a new SIM card at Vodaphone, and it makes no difference.

Communication with my son here is almost impossible. It better get better soon, ’cause this sucks big-time. I'm not good at being in unfamiliar territory and not knowing what to do or who to ask for help... or how to ask, for that matter. My little smattering of Italian is not helping me one little bit. I'm feeling really out of my comfort zone.

After making my phone calls, I need a cup of tea. I order tea with lemon and a dolci from the nice owner of the caffe. She brings it to me, smiles and then asks in Italian, s-l-o-w-l-y... “You are calling your son, signora?”


I understand her!

My pathetic Italian must have been good enough for her to understand me, when I said I needed to “telefoni il mio figlio…” and I probably pronounced it totally wrong, but she got it.

Before paying the bill, I grab a bag of fresh biscotti and a small box of Baci chocolates from the display rack. I'll serve them with espresso later, after dinner.

The owner gives me a counting lesson when she hands me my change, "Uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei…” and I repeat after her. All of this, my tea with lemon, a dolci, a bag of biscotti, a box of Baci and an Italian lesson, accompanied with her incredible patience and kindness, for only 5E! A good deal at triple the price. AND, by the way, I might mention that she didn’t yell and scream at me and pound the crap out of her cash register! Things are lookin’ waaaaay up, Wally-o!

I take a walk around Piazza Liberta in the cool rain-wet air. There are loads of shops, pharmacies, clothing stores, luggage shops, a leather store... I must come back and really take a good look. This is an interesting area I'm living in, I think!

It is windy, rainy, cool. The wind turns my brolly inside out, several times! Good thing it is a cheapo throwaway. The fresh, cold wet air is really good for me, and it clears the cobwebs out of my head.

I’m still really jet-lagged and suffering from the after-effects of that lousy Lufthansa flight and a really bad bout of low blood sugar.

I want to sleep so badly this afternoon, and so I do, just to get it over with. I sleep from 2:30 to 5:00 P.M. and now I feel a little better.

My feet hurt!

My feet hurt!

I need to find some “comfortable walking shoes” somewhere (yeah, I know, Slowtrav, you toooold me!).

Finally, finally, I have a very nice evening with M. & D. I cook dinner, fresh roasted chicken from Esselunga, oven-roasted vegetables, salad, ciabatte, biscotti and espresso… along with a gorgeous bottle of red wine and a perfectly chilled white wine from the cafe around the corner.

I cannot find a corkscrew, so I take the elevator downstairs to the lobby, walk across the lobby and up one flight of stairs to the Golden Door Hostel, and ask the managers for a corkscrew.

They have one.


Back in my apartment, we open the wines, pour a glass for each of us and toast to this wonderful trip we are taking. We visit for a few good hours, and then they go home.

This apartment is truly beautiful. I’m sitting in this kitchen and I cannot believe I am here. I’ve looked at this place for so long on the internet, and here I am, sitting at that marble-topped kitchen table, drinking tea and writing in my journal. I simply can’t quite wrap my mind around it. I’m sleeping here, showering here, living here. I cannot believe it.

This day is looking better than yesterday. I am feeling a little more clear-headed. A rest, some good food and a walk seem to help. Time for bed, here at 104 via Cavour, Firenze, Italia!

Best Things Today:

~ waking after a dead-to-the-world sleep, feeling rested

~ the feel of the damp, cool air on my face

~ walking in the rain with my umbrella open and hearing the rain pelting down

~ the darling, patient owner of Caffe Principe

~ falling asleep in the afternoon, instead of fighting it

~ FINALLY speaking with my son

~ FINALLY having a meal together with M. and D.

Worst Things Today:

~ There is no worst... today was a pretty good one, all things considered!

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