Greetings from Italy :)

Trip Start Sep 12, 2007
Trip End Dec 16, 2007

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Buona sera (Good afternoon/evening),
Ben and I arrived in Pisa, Italy yesterday morning. After a few failed attempts at getting a taxi, we finally found one that ended up being a little more pricey than we had expected. However, we made it to our hotel safely thank goodness. Our driver clearly did not have any rest recently, which resulted in numerous times driving in the middle of the lane and getting honked at a million different times.
Once arriving at the hotel, we had yet another task...At first we thought the one guy (who we think is the Manager) could speak English; however, it ended up that all the more we could make out of him was "I'll be with you in a moment". The other could not speak English at all. Finally we made it to our room and I think getting there made up for all the recent events. Of course it is nothing spectacular, but it's clean and "Tuscany" and the best part of all, there are two doors that lead out to a little terrace that overlooks some houses. Needless to say, we have the doors open and we're soaking it all in.
Last night after taking a 5 hour nap, we went into a little town called Pontedera for supper. We ate at a little pizzeria and it was THE best. We each had a pizza (Ben had a mushroom pizza and I just had a cheese one.) For all the more we paid, it was great quality. Thank goodness for the taxi driver's recommendation.
This morning we woke up early and had breakfast. We each had a crossiant and then a waiter asked what we wanted to drink--coffee, espresso, or cappucino. We said espresso. When he brought it out, I was amazed at how small our glasses were. They looked as if they belonged to a child's teaset. Well then we took a drink. I would've loved to have seen our faces. It was so strong...No wonder they were in such small glasses..We each had about four spoonfuls of sugar added to them and it didn't help much. We know now what NOT to order as a drink tomorow morning. We then took a taxi back to Pontedera to catch a train to Florence...We were almost to Florence when the "ticket checker" came through. Ben and I thought that since we had bought the tickets from the ticket booth that everything was done. We were wrong. I guess you have to get the tickets "validated" at a little machine. He just ripped them up and reminded us "for next time." Lesson learned.
We had already thought Italy was great from the little we had seen, but Florence was amazing. Once we had left the train station, we just started wondering around. We ended up in a market. There were tons of things there, it was great. Food, clothes, etc. You name it, they had it. We spent a good bit of time there before heading through town to the Palazzo Pitti. It is Florence's largest and most luxurious palazzo. Our first part at the museum was spent outside at the Giardino Di Boboli. It is a huge garden in the middle of Florence right behind the Palazzo Pitti. There were paths and gorgeous fountains all through the place.
Once it was too hot and we were quite thirsty, we decided it was best to head back indoors to the other parts of the museum. We went into the Museo degli Argenti which featured gold and jewelry from the Medici collections. We had access to two other museums but one was at the top of this garden (we figured that out once we were already down the hill and we were too tired to climb back up) and the second one was the Museo del Costume which showed off clothes from the early 18th to mid-20th centuries; however, food was calling us and we decided that it was time to go.
We had lunch at little outside restaurant and had some very good pasta. Ben had penne with bacon and onion and I had penne with tomato and basil. Afterwards, we decided we would head back towards the train station and made a pit-stop for some gelato. It's a good thing we don't live here, I think we both would weigh a little more from eating that all the time. It's DELICIOUS!!
So we're back at the room relaxing from a very long day watching the sun set and we're soon going for some supper. We're off in the morning to Siena.
If there is any Italian that I have learned quickest in the past 36 hours it is "Non parlo italiano" which means "I don't speak Italian". I hope our vocabulary broadens in the next 3 days at least a little. It is very hard trying to communicate but it's all worth it in the end. Things could be a lot worse.
We hope all is well :)

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