Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Firenze Frenzy

Nicola & I - Florence, Italy

Ah, Florence. How I wish I had more time with you. Two days was nowhere near enough. 

One of my favorite things about Italy (other than the laundry that's always strung like ornaments across peoples homes) is how easily accessible fresh, mouthwatering sandwiches are. There are so many good places to eat scattered throughout the adorable little streets of this place that it's hard to not find something delicious everywhere you go.

We visited the Bardini Gardens instead of going to the more popular, Boboli. The Bardini Gardens have just recently been open to the public, so I thought it would be cool to check it out. Definitely go to both if you have time, I can never get enough of gardens or parks while I am traveling. It was an incredible day, paired with the unreal panoramic view of Florence from the balcony and strolling through the garden itself easily made this a highlight of Florence.

Neptune's Butt - Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy

While planning for Florence I had intended on Couchsurfing with a fellow named Niccoló. I ended up traveling with Nicola (hehe), who was working with me in Montefegatesi. He didn't have room for us both, but we still decided to hang out! 

It's a funny thing, waiting to meet someone you don't know in a foreign country when all you've ever seen is an image of them online. From afar I thought I spotted him, simply because there was a guy by himself that seemed to be looking for someone. I goofily tried waving to this man. Thankfully my attempt went unnoticed because not long after the guy's friend (who he was supposedly looking for) showed up and they walked off. 

A few minutes later Niccolò came into view. He took us to his favorite local bar, Eby's. It was obvious he had frequented this place a lot, Eby seemed to know him quite well. We had a few drinks, got hooked up with a few specialty shots and made our way to Niccolò's where he made us a delicious dinner. You can not ever go wrong with home cooked meals in Italy, especially when followed by affogatto (ice cream topped with espresso) - which this particular dinner happened to include.

Niccolò, being the gentleman he is, walked us back to our hotel. I was also slightly intoxicated at this point, so I was thankful that he humored me as I tried to learn Italian by pointing to words and guessing what they meant. Surprisingly I wasn't too bad and Niccolò helped me learn some new vocabulary. 

The next day was a holiday, which we had no idea about until arriving in Florence. It was St. Giovanni's or something, and as we were walking up to visit the Duomo there was a procession leading into the church with music and banners and guys all dressed up. Needless to say, I got excited. I pulled my phone out of my wallet and was simultaneously snapping shots with both my phone and camera. We walked into the church and quickly walked back out, it was very crowded and a ceremony was about to start. I wanted to go to the top of the tower and as I went to grab a few euros I realized my wallet was gone. The only logical explanation is that it got pick pocketed after I pulled my phone out of my purse, because I never zipped it back up.

The picture of the Duomo above was taken moments before my wallet was stolen. No pictures can do this thing justice. To the right is a photo of a mask shop I stumbled into while walking around. I managed to save a postcard like business card, which is the only reason I remember it is called Alice Masks. The man at the desk was diligently working away at masks, all of which had so much character.


Moral of the story: It CAN happen to you, all those horror stories about having things stolen or lost while traveling abroad. BUT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A HORROR STORY. There are tips and tricks to avoid this, or at least worsen the blow. I'll write a post about this eventually :)

Luckily, I had Nicola with me and she covered me till we got back home. Luckily, I had absolutely no expenses while workingaway so not having access to my money until by debit card arrived wasn't that big of a deal. I could survive, that's all that mattered. LUCKILY, I was able to maintain a positive attitude and stay calm while sorting my situation out - that's the key to avoiding horror stories. Remember, YOU'RE the one writing the story - it could turn out however you want, really. It's all about your reaction. Things aren't always going to go as planned, especially while traveling. That's why it's important to take it as it comes, and appreciate it for all that it is. 

So next time you get lost or something gets stolen - react a bit happier. It will make a difference.

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