Tip of the Day-
When in Firenze…Never Cry Over Spilled Wine…there’s always more to be found.
I am sure you are familiar with Clet Abraham’s manipulation of street signs. This was a new one to me.
Again..A slow start to the day after spending the morning documenting the previous day. I am learning this rhythm is not so bad…I miss much of the morning heat, head out, and am ready for lunch…the meal of the day.
Again, today, no agenda. I just enjoy roaming about. It is fun (and more relaxing) to imagine I live here…let’s say I am a writer for a living…or better yet, am independently comfortable…and I just go where the Firenze breeze (thank goodness for it) blows me.
Today, I actually started out looking for a place I like that has this wonderful, sugar coated, donut of sorts…couldn’t find it (even though I passed it last night) and decided it was more like lunch time.
My usual “go-to” panino shop is just down the block a bit, but after hearing a few locals kinda dis it, saying they cannot keep up the quality with all they serve, I decide to go to La Prosciutteria. Looking back at 2015 posts, we will see this is the first place I met Elisa and Paola.
I choose schiacciata (and yes…I stumbled over saying it), prosciutto, crema di ricotta and pomodoro freschi. The only reason the lettuce is on there is because I thought the girl was calling me “lady”…but she was really saying “lettuce?”…See, the language issue goes both ways.
It was buono, but…now don’t think I am all uppity here… the prosciutto was shaved a bit thick. She adjusted the slicer right before me and I wondered about it…I have now tried La Proscuitteria for panino and will return…to judge…cuz’ it’s been due anni, All’Antico Vinaio.
Roaming brought me in front of the Salvatore Ferragamo store. Although I have never purchased anything there except for a few post cards and a mouse pad…I am a patron of his wonderfully curated Museo. Each year I visit, it is a highlight. This year’s exhibition marks the 90th anniversary of Salvatore’s return to Italy from America. The entire Museo gives the feel of boarding a luxury liner as you sail with Salvatore.
Around 18:00, I return to the appartamento to consider my plan for visiting Elisa and her famiglia. Elisa was the girl I found through the Florentine in 2015. I have many very special memories including her, her family and friends. I know memories like that cannot be duplicated, but we’ve planned to see each other for an evening.
When I look at the address Elisa shared with me, at first I think, no problem. Then, as the time draws nearer, I look closer and it is about 3 miles away. I do not mind walking there, but returning late at night…makes me uncomfortable. I share my concerns with Elisa and she shares the bus schedule with me.
Seems easy enough, right? I decide to give it a go, but of course, head out super early. I am expected at the office of Elisa’s mother at 8:30 pm. I head to the train/bus station at about 7:00.
Elisa instructions said Santa Maria Novella Station. When I get there, I look at the bus schedules but do not see 1A. The next bus that pulls up, I put one foot in and ask, “Dove bus uno – ah?” Pointing is good and all when you’re talking feet…with no obstructions, but as I mentioned earlier, the stazione is under construction…so I head in the vancinity of the point.
So now I am across the street from SMN stazione…bus pulls up, I put one foot in, “Dove bus uno–ah?” Again, I follow the point around the corner on Via Nazionale. Bus pulls up, this time I show him the address I am wanting. God bless him…he give me sign language for “Una- Ah” (One finger, two fingers making a triangle) as he says, “U-N-A…A-aa-H-hhh.” like I am…impaired…which I guess I am.
Next Una-Ahh (1A) bus that pulls up…I get in…only to be asked off. “Nessus biglietto.” Ok…”Dove biglietto?!”
Why oh Why do I make it so hard?
With my 1.20 euro biglietto in hand…I wait with all the other bus riders, moving to dodge the fumo di sigaretta as much as I can without appearing rude.
Bus Una-Ah arrives, I show the address I am wanting to go to on my phone to the driver as she exits the bus to…you guessed it, fumo. I ask her, “Will I know Che si fermano?” She glares at me through the fumo and says, “Si.”
As I enter the bus, I jockey for a position that allows me quick contact with my driver amica, but also a clear view of what the stops are.
As we drive, I am ticking off the stops Elisa shared with me. All seems to be going as planned…until it isn’t.
If you refer to your scheduled stops, you will notice that after Modanna Della Querce comes Caracciolo…but it didn’t. The next stop was Maffei. Let me tell you, I was not the only bus rider concerned. The entire group started hurling…Italian words…at my amica the bus driver. I turned around to look at the Filipino/Italian woman behind me, and she just rants and shakes her head…I nod like, “I know…I’m with you!” But infatti, I am confused as all getout and a bit concerned. At the next unscheduled stop, Boccaccio, EVERYONE exits. EVERYONE but me. I just sit there, bus idling while I look around…unsure of how to proceed.
My bus driving amica exits the bus, lights up, picks some tabacco from her tongue and motions for me to see her.
She once again asks to see the address I am attempting to find. She looks for a bit…looks around the area and then says through the Fumo, “theesa eeessa bus-a uno-b.” I say, “No, no it isn’t…it’s bus una-ah”. She doesn’t speak but points up to the digital readout above the bus window…sure enough…it says 1B. A bit frantic now, I tell her, “But it said Una-Ah when I got on.” She said with a straight face, “Eettta Changed-a”.
I am fortunate enough that she showed me the way to find the path I wanted…over a small bridge, through some trees…
At this point I know I do look disabled because I cannot quit audibly saying “Eetta Changed-a” as I laugh and walk away.
Moral of THIS story…I’m paying for a taxi on the way home.
Over the footbridge and through the trees, I do indeed find the via I am searching for. I find Mara’a ufficio building, ring, and am let in.
Although this is where Mara works, it was originally the home she grew up in, hence the kitchen and all.
It was wonderful to see Mara. She looks the same as she did two years ago. Elisa has matured over the time and Angela is now pregnant.
We enjoy a light meal all’aperto as we talk about what is going on in our lives.
Simple meal, simple conversation, simply lovely evening.
As darkness falls, I’ll admit, I get a bit nervous about my trek home. I am being very clear that taking the bus home, which Elisa recommends, is not going to happen. She tells me this is a very safe neighborhood. I share that safe or not, I have no clue to where I am. So Elisa calls a taxi for me. We say our arrivederci’s and share well wishes and in no time, my cab is here.
I am not thrilled about spending how ever many euros this taxi is going to cost, but as we speed through neighborhood after neighborhood, I tell myself it is money well spent. I had told the driver my destination was Piazza Santa Trinita, this would allow me a short stroll over the Arno to my appartamento. I began to recognize the area when the cab came to an abrupt stop and the driver fussed about a small crowd blocking the street. I told him that this would be fine for my stop. I paid my 17.5 euro (ouch!) and hopped out.
I was greeted with a serendipitous end to my evening.
Dolce musica, dolce sogni…