It’s been criminally long since I blogged–I am going to blame it on my post-vacation malaise. You know, that time after you get back from vacation where your mind just replays whole days of the trip and you spend hours staring at pictures. As you probably deduced, I had a fantastic trip to France and Italy. It would be hard to describe every aspect of the trip in detail so I am going to break it down by some of my favorite/weirdest/funniest moments.
- Montpellier France was as inspiring as I remembered it being several years ago. Isn’t it strange that you can be away from a place for so long yet once you are placed in those streets once again, you know the way? I got to discover all new places as well. Despite it being named after my least favorite writer, Papa Doble provided my Mom and me drinks that were sinfully good. Good enough to make me forget that I was enjoying myself at a place named after Papa. Puke. Speaking of which, after eating only a baguette and some cheese all day, I may have vomited all over the bathroom. I’m blaming it on Hemingway, not the very attractive French bartender who my mom coerced into taking a picture with me.
- We hit a little train hiccup on the way from Nice to Florence. When we got off at the Italian border, we were told that the train tracks that we were supposed to take to our connection in Milan were “not there” (thanks for the detail, train station lady!). The solution was to shuttle us on to another train (going to a city that we had not heard of) where we would get off and then hop on a bus which would take us to another train. Easy, huh? If you are confused reading that, imagine having to follow those instructions in broken English while your head feels mildly squishy from a hangover. Luckily we were not the only ones forced into an unwanted adventured–my mom took under her wing an Asian girl who was equally lost (and traveling alone! If I was doing so, I would have ended up in England instead of Italy). I thought my mom’s concern for this girl quite heroic until she turned to me and said, “At least if we don’t end up in Milan, we’re bringing someone down with us.” Oh mom…Once we got off our first train, we were herded in the direction of several buses. Only one was loading so we assumed that was our guy. Cut to an overcrowded bus with people sitting the aisles weaving through tiny roads with a large drop to the Mediterranean on the other side. We were not told how long we would be on this bus or where it was even going. Note to self: bring a map of the place you are going to next time. Anyways, after being on the bus for about an hour and a half, we got off at this tiny, grungy train station where another train was not, in fact, waiting for us as the train station lady had suggested. Instead, we had to wait another two hours, which also meant there was no way that we were going to make our connecting train in Milan to Florence. Somehow we managed to get to Florence that night and I think our pitiful tale got us an upgrade to a junior suite at our amazing hotel!
- Mom and I fell in love with Florence. There is something magical about it. I now understand Dante’s love for the city from which he was exiled. From the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo to the Palazzo Vecchio…each place left me breathless as if I was discovering Europe for the first time. I could have spent my whole life there and never bore of the city. On one of my favorite nights, we had a spectacular dinner of pumpkin ravioli, Floretine steak, and glasses of wine. The restaurant was on the smaller side, intimate, near the Palazzo Vecchio. I am sure I have dreamed of places less atmospheric than this place. A table of six or so middle aged Italian men sat at the table next to us, buying a few bottles of wine. During our meal, the men sent over a glass of wine each for Mom and me. Oh those Italian men, quite suave. They know the way to a lady’s heart is wine. But it didn’t end there. As they were leaving, one of the men blew me a kiss. I am not sure that I have ever seen anyone over the age of five blow someone a kiss, but he certainly made a case for it.
If you made it through those long paragraphs, congratulations! Can you believe that this is the edited version?