Showing posts from 2011

Rise & fall, rage & grace

"If you’re going through hell, keep going."
-- Winston Churchill

Before Mom & I set off for the city of Siena, we dined on the Hotel Della Signoria’s sunny rooftop terrace. Like déjà vu, the elderly woman with the warm smile greeted us sweetly with "buongiorno". Streganonna (not her real name, she just reminded me of the character from my childhood) was the only server and brought us the same "continental breakfast" which consisted of rolls, condiments and a carafe of arancia rossa juice.

We returned to Stazione di Santa Maria Novella (Firenze’s main train hub) in search of SITA – the regional bus depot. As reported by Lonely Planet it was located "on the western side". On Via Luigi Alamanni we passed a flower shop and a closed general store, but only found another platform – this one for electric trains. Nothing on this road resembled a bus depot. Mom & I wanted to solicit help but after the fiasco in Roma at Stazione Termini we needed t…

The same but different

"TheFire,Air,Earth &Waterdid contest
Which was the strongest, noblest and the best,
Who was of greatest use and might’est force..

That Fire should first begin, the rest consent,
The noblest and most active element..

I'le say no more, but this thing add I must
Remember Sons, your mould is of my dust..

Ever in craving from the other three
But thou art bound to me [Water] above the rest,
Who am thy drink, thy blood, thy Sap, and best..

I am the breath of every living soul
Mortals, what one of you that loves not me
abundantly more than my Sisters three?
And though you loveFire,Earth &Water well
Yet Air beyond all these you know t' excell.."

-- Anne Bradstreet from The Four Elements

Mom & I awoke to another day with ideal weather. As part of our daily routine we descended a floor to the garden terrace of Hotel Della Signoria. The same, friendly, older woman greeted "Buongiorno." She wore the same blue dress, white apron, black sneakers and white nylon soc…

...& night

"Here’s to the crazy ones; the misfits; the rebels; the troublemakers; the round pegs in the square holes; the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing that you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
-- Jack Kerouac from On The Road

Now we were starting to see the less glamorous parts of Firenze.

As Mom & I walked back to the Hotel Della Signora for a nap and snacks, we walked through Piazza della Repubblica alongside its towering arch. Sadly, there was a merry-go-round that stuck out like a sore thumb and little seating in the wide-open piazza.

When we awoke, we explored another different subset of the city. On the street now n…


Mom & I were up early according to Greek/Italian standards. At 7:00 we moseyed onto the garden terrace of Hotel Della Signoria for the complimentary breakfast. There were around ten tables outside on the garden rooftop and eight more inside the albergo a.k.a. hotel, all with pink tablecloths. Lush plants -- some potted and some growing in a box – lined the railing. The awning was retracted, letting the morning sun graze the tops of our heads. Atop, Mom & I watched storeowners wipe down their windows and brush off the sidewalk/entranceway before Firenze started to crawl with tourists.
A short lady in a pastel blue dress (that stopped at her shins) and black sneakers approached our two-top and – in the absolute sweetest voice – greeted us "Buongiorno" and asked "café?" "No, grazie" a.k.a. "No, thank you" was our synchronized reply. She set down a covered basket. Inside were pastries and breads, along with individual jam, butter and Nutell…


"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."-- Chris McCandless

Partiamo aggi a.k.a. We're leaving today for Firenze a.k.a. Florence! It was now 23 June 2011 and we could tell we had been in Europa a while as we emerged from the air conditioned lobby of the Royal Marcella Hotel. The days no longer were sunny with a refreshing breeze… they had become sweltering with stagnant air.

Mom & I were headed to Stazi…

Art & architecture

Today is your day,
You’re off to great places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head,
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose
You’re on your own, and you know what you know"

-- Dr. Seuss from Oh, The Places You'll Go

Sadly, it was time to wrap up Roma. Five days flew by and now Mom & I were trying to squeeze every attraction into one last day. After our complimentary breakfast (courtesy of Royal Marcella Hotel), Mom & I made a pit stop at the gelateria recommended and near by our hotel. I ordered "Cassata" although I had no clue what was in it since the young woman spoke broken English with a thick Italian accent. It ended up being one of my favorite flavors of gelato that I tried because it was similar to a sweet cream base with chocolate chips and different, fruit gummies. The dessert really hit the spot in the midday heat!

Afterward, Mom & I strolled hopped on the bus (we were more…