Firenze Rain

I woke up early this morning, ready to explore Florence. It was a bit chillier than I had expected, and I wasn’t wearing many layers. I stopped at the first cafe I saw for breakfast, thinking it would be cheapest since I’m outside the central tourist area. This turned out to be correct I had a cappuccino and croissant for only a couple euro.

By the time

That café it started to rain so I turned to back to the hotel. I was glad I hadn’t gotten very far. I added a few extra layers and went back out on my way. I was tempted to try to go back to bed and wait it out, but I was I want to take the most of my time in florence. My original plan was to go to the Pitti Palace.

I was far enough from everything that I was going to get wet no matter where I went, so I saw no reason to hold alter my plans. The Pitti Palace was built by the Medici family as their home and headquarters. It nownhouses the considerable art collection of thr family. they recruiting many of the most influential renaissance artists and sponsored their early careers.

It was easy to get to the Pitti Palace. I have gotten a lot better in navigating over the course my travels, and had no problem finding it. I bought an umbrella from a street vendor which made the rain less miserable, but the real problem was my shoes. I only packed one pair, flats, and soon I was swimming in them.

At the Pitti Palace, I was delighted to find that art students get free tickets. I didn’t realize this right away and I was confused when the lady at the ticket desk asked me what i studied and whether I had proof. I thought there would just be a general student discount.

Now, I have to preface the next part of my story: Italian men have been getting on my nerves. I don’t care if it’s supposed to be “cultural,” what it really is is rude. It’s funny for the first hour or two, then it’s boring, and now it’s getting real old.

So I’m at the coat check to deposit my umbrella, and the guy working the thing keeps me there much longer than he needs to. Small talk is not charming when there is a language barrier, and when I have no option to leave since I need a service from you. This I could have let go, but when he finally handed me the ticket for retrieving my things, he made a point to caress the palm of my hand.

It might not sound like a big deal, but think of it as the straw that broke the camel’s back. I know it’s an overreaction, but even thinking of it now makes me want to puke. I didn’t say anything to him because it took me a few seconds to realize what had just happened. What a horribly repulsive thing to do. I was unbelievably angry. I spent the next hour trying to scrape the disgusting man off my palm as I walked about. I feel like I would have used acid if I’d had it.

I feel guilty because I could not very well enjoy what I was looking at for the next hour or so. Eventually, the art distracted me, and I did have quite a good time there.

It had finally stopped raining, so I grabbed a sandwich from the museum cafe and headed into the gardens. Who builds a garden with no benches? The Medicis, that’s who. I eventually found a fountain with a ledge to sit on, and then the rain started to come back.

Up to that point, I had been seriously considering letting Coat Check Creeper keep my umbrella. I was still considering it: after all, it was only €3. In the end, though, I decided it was best to go pick it up.

Fortune was smiling upon me. By some miracle, there was an older lady in the coat check at that moment who I’d met on the train to Florence. I did not speak one word to or even glance at Creeper. I know it was rude, but I don’t even care. I think he tried to stall and wasn’t too happy, but I had a nice little chat with the lady that carried us all the way out of the room.

I wasn’t really sure what to do next. Since I actually have plenty of time in Florence, I thought I’d just walk around and soak up the city. It’s nice to have a chance to just enjoy a new place, people watch, and window shop.

I have a pretty tight budget, but an even tighter suitcase. It’s dubious whether I can zip it now, so buying anything more is out of the question. I’m grateful for that limitation. Without it, I’d try to rationalize skipping meals to buy clothes or shoes. And since I only have the budget for €6/meal, I’d have to have been buying clothing a size down (since I’d have to skip so many meals… Right? Don’t worry, Mom. Non-issue)

At around mid-afternoon, I decided to do something a little different. In direct opposition to my usual travel style, I returned to the hostel. My shoes were wet, my camera was out of batteries, and I knew I’d be much happier if I took the time to fix these issues. I also bought a big bag of oranges on the way home, which will be nice to have.

I’m skeptical about the electricity output of my hostel. After a full night of charging, my iPad had only gone up about 20%… And after a couple hours of being connected, my camera still said the battery was exhausted. But although all the laundromats had refused to let me put my tiny ballet flats in their dryers, they were a bit better off.

I started walking around some more, thinking I’d like to find the market. Then, suddenly, someone calls my name. I find myself face to face with Tess. She goes to KCAI with me and we’ve had studio together for the past few years. She’s a totally gorgeous girl who I’ve always really liked. She and her mom always came into Aixois and I loved seeing them, and since I left Tess has actually started hostessing there.

I knew that the KCAI Florence trip was arriving soon, but it was so unexpected to just run in to her. She was on her way to a sort of welcome dinner, to which I tagged along.

We met up with Kit and Blaze at the dinner. Kit and I have actually gone to school together since we were 5 and still do. We get along but have somehow never really been in the same friend group. Oddly, she too has started working at Aixois since I left. She actually filled in all the shifts I vacated. Blaze goes to KCAI, but I actually know her through Aixois… Where she worked until quite recently.

Funny small world.

It was so good to see all of these beautiful girls. There aren’t too many people from KCAI I’d be very happy to see, but these three are among them. While they’re in the Saatchi program in Florence for the next month they get to stay in flats around the city. We stopped by Tess’s so she could put on some more layers, then headed out for pizza and wine. Pizza and wine was followed by crepes and gelato, and it was a great night. I haggled down the price of our wine and talked a vendor into giving me a free rose.

At the very end, and it was not that late yet, there was a bit of a sour note. After we had brushed off some guy trying to sell us something, he followed us (about a 1/2 block behind) through several streets. I shouted at him to go away, and he said something in angry Italian. It was pretty scary, but at least there were four of us.

We turned the final corner to get to Tess’s apartment and dashed the rest of the way. After waiting a while and calming down, the rest of us began our own journeys homewards. Kit, Blaze, and I were a little turned around and set off in the wrong directions. I hope they were able to orient themselves and find their way home. It didn’t take me too long to realize my mistake, but I’ve been here longer and they’re tired from traveling.

Hopefully I’ll see them again before my journey takes me elsewhere, but tonight I need to dry my shoes and get some sleep. They were almost dry, but it started raining again right as I began to walk home. Not that it will matter much if it rains all day tomorrow, as the forecast currently says.


2 thoughts on “Firenze Rain

  1. Men harassing you and following you IS scary. Dave and I were talking about your blog and these stories…I was wondering why some men did the cat calling and the leering. He replied that it must work sometimes. Hit on 200 women per day and some one will take you up on it. If its any consolation, some day old age will protect you from that kind of attention.

    How cool that you ran into KCAI friends! It’s so nice to get to share that experience with people who share your frame of reference.

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