The beginning

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
Trip End Nov 24, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oh what a crazy first couple of hours to my start in Italy!  First, I lug my two humongously packed suitcases, backpack, purse and loose items (pillow, hat, etc.) to the taxi pick-up location.  I thought I was doing everything right until finally, after several taxis drove past me without a second glance, I asked and found out that I had to go get one.  I told the driver the address and was quickly whisked away to my new apartment.  We piled everything outside the door, and I began the process of buzzing random people to let me in, because, strangely enough, my landlord's name was not on the list, and I didn't feel like sitting on the sidewalk like a free circus.  Finally someone let me in, and then I began the even more fun process of running up and down the dark, humid stairway, knocking on people's doors and asking them if I was supposed to be living there.  Let's say I got a lot of weird looks.  Keep in mind that I do not have a phone.  Eventually I asked a man if I could use his phone, and called the number of the landlord that I had (luckily) written down.  He told me I was in the wrong place.  He gave me the name of a taxi service, told me the new address, and let me know he'd be waiting for me.  I had the kind Italian (who, the first time I rang his doorbell, had answered in a shirt and boxers...why I came back to him to ask to use his phone I'll never know.  Good thing he only looked like a creeper and was actualy a really nice guy) call the taxi for me, and we began the ordeal of lugging my bags back into the car.  A short drive later we arrived at the correct place.  My landlord helped me bring everything in, and almost broke his back in the process (he's a tiny old Italian, and my bags are very very heavy).  My room is up a few steps and opens into a huge, sparsely decorated room.  There are two twin beds, of which my landlord said I could choose from.  ("Does this mean I'm sharing a room?  I'm paying a fortune to have my OWN room!  I thought there were 6 bedrooms here!  I'M NOT SHARING A ROOM!")  Fortunately, there are just two beds in each room.  I do in fact have my own room.  And it's about the size of my apartment in Boulder!  It has a huge door/window that opens onto the garden below.  The garden is ours alone, and surrounded by tall buildings, so it's very secluded and peaceful.  I met my roommate Michael, who is from Liverpool.  We unpacked our bags and then wandered around our new town, looking for a restaurant he had found in a tour book that was supposed to be good and cheap.  The streets in Florence are extremely confusing and the street we were searching for was hidden behind others, labelled only by a piece of paper with the name hastily written on it.  When we finally found it, it was closed, so we ate at another one only a few feet from it.  We had (red!) wine and the pasta was delicious.  I was still feeling queasy from my plane ride in, so I didn't eat much.  Afterwards we went on a mission to find gelato and ate in front of Santa Maria Novella, a big, beautiful building that I remember seeing in my history books.  A man had a microphone and guitar and sang American songs and the whole expereince was so surreal.  I went to bed that night with my window open, listening to the buzz of the city and having the warmth sweep over me like a light blanket.  A busy and crazy day, but a fun way to start!
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