Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back to Florence

I hate Florence! It's so boring. There's noting to do. It's all just endless streets, and urban waste. You know – if you feel like skipping a city, skip Florence. Honestly – there's nothing here.

Oh – you mean that the old town is actually fifteen minutes to the east of me? Oh, and I should be walking around there? Why – what is there to see there? What could possibly...

Oh – my – god. Would you look at that building! Yes, it's another church – but... What a beautiful church. And look at the way the late day sun is catching it. And if I keep walking that way I'll get to an outdoor sculpture exhibit?

Is that a replica of David? And look at all those others. And is that statue holding a severed head in his hand? Oh he is. And isn't that spectacular.

Wait – keep walking that way? Why what will I get...

Look at that river! Look at how it reflects the mountains in the distance, and the brightly coloured buildings hidden amongst the trees. Dare I say nestled securely amongst them?

I think I'd like to just go back to that church now, and watch as it changes from white, to yellow, to orange, as the sun fully sets behind the horizon.

You know – forget what I said. Florence, it's pretty fantastic. Sure it's mostly just a church, and a river, and some museums – but have you seen the church? I'm glad that I only have a few more hours in this town, otherwise it could become the lure that Victoria harbour was in British Columbia. I might just have had to sit there and look at it all day.

And I'm coming from the Vatican here – there's no need to see another church once you've been there – and yet...

Florence is the type of city that if I hadn't been at the Vatican, and Brugge recently would have been oh so impressive. As it was, I am still most impressed by what it has to offer. Yeah, they know it's a tourist town, and all the market stalls and expensive restaurants are put up to catch you when you are right there. But that's O.K. Because it really is that pretty.

I think one day is all that you need to spend wandering and exploring the city, and that's just the amount of time that I had. So in I came, and out I went. Florence – it was lovely. Glad we met. Sorry we got off to such a bad start there – you understand how it is, I was in the wrong part of your expanse. An easy mistake. Maybe a sign here, a free map there, some boards at the train station – that's all I'm saying. Just make it a bit easier. But thanks, it was great.

And to be sure, that was Florence for me. A nice little collection of buildings, streets, and shops. Right in the heart of all those other places you'd like to see outside the city centre itself.

Back in the hostel, I spent another hour or so switching between the 80 degree Celsius sauna, the most beloved steam room, and the pool. I could have spent so much more time there, but there were things to do – bull fight videos to upload.

Back in the hostel I saw a Tom Clancy novel sitting around. Whose could it be? would they trade it. When I finish Rainbow Six, I'll need another book, and why not make it a third Clancy?

I systematically asked everyone in the room, as they came and left, if it was theirs. No one answered. Mine now, I guess.

I also picked up another more girly book – I'm not sure of the title, I just grabbed it because I will require it at some point.

Here's the problem. Books are heavy. Books take up a lot of room. And I am not trading – I am just amassing. Something needs to give. I'll have to drop some, whenever I get a chance to repack everything. I think I'm also about ready to gut my copy of Let's Go Europe – ripping out all the pages I no longer need. I'll leave myself the Switzerland, Germany, and Poland sections. For the other nine hundred pages – their time has come. There's just no way to bring this soldier back from the front.

Also – I have a few flights to catch, and my bag was dangerously close to costing extra last time I flew. So time to cull the texts. Goodbye Sophie's World – you were a real joy.

The Tom Clancy books will be harder to part with, though they're the biggest and heaviest. They are stamped inside showing that they were bought at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, and Point Zero. I'll try hard to rescue them, but, outlook is grim.

Two of the people in my hostel were from America. One was watching recaps of yesterday's baseball game, showing that New York will be going to the World Series. What a god awful series this will be, with them against the Phillies. It must be so delightful being a New York fan – every few years your love is rewarded. As a Toronto fan, I know only pain and sorrow.

His girlfriend was in school to be a teacher, doing her practice teaching in Luxembourg of all places. And they turned out to be delightful people. We headed down to the hostel's bar – three euro for a bottle of wine. Perfect for sharing?

I should not drink wine. I understand beer. I like beer. But one beer cost more than the bottle of wine. Let it be said that drinking before a travel day should never be done. I had stuck to this rule, but then it fell apart here – I had just met these people, and I was only here for tonight – so why not?

Down in the bar we played card games with Australians – and I believe there were card related drinking games as well. Children. In Canada we don't need games to drink. Unless it's beer pong. I've never played – never even seen it played – but the pictures make it look interesting.

Ten minutes later on the dance floor, I relized why it was that I don't enjoy being on the dance floor, and after being called ZZ Top (I had wondered when I'd get called that in Italy... Honestly – I didn't hear it in Rome, and so I've been counting the days – I get called that in every country. I wonder if they realize just how well known they are?) and other such things by the previously mentioned Australians, I made my exit and proceeded to put myself to sleep. After all, I had a train to catch in the morning.

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