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15 Hours and 4 Trains Later

I left Wurzburg early on the morning after the inauguration of President Obama.  Every newspaper had my President on the front page and even though I had been feeling a bit disconnected watching everything from Germany I also felt so proud of my country.  You see that guy; you see that, yea I voted for him, that’s my President!
Wurzburg to Munchen
The train was lovely, as all the German trains have been.  Automatic doors everywhere, signs in German, French, and English, and some of the nicest bathrooms I’ve ever seen on a train.  I settled in and read my book and a coffee, once we arrived in Munich I would switch to a train to Bologna and then another train for the short ride to Parma.
We stopped rather abruptly at a small town I don’t recall the name of; a woman got on and sat next to me.  Instead of starting again we stayed.  Twenty minutes passed.  They made a few announcements in German.  The nice woman next to me told me there was a problem with the “thing” and they were fixing it.  I’m pretty sure she meant the engine.  Forty minutes passed, another announcement, everyone grew still and no one made a sound.  I followed their lead and stared out my window wondering what the hell had just happened.
After a while the woman informed me a man had committed suicide by jumping in front of the train.  Oh.
We arrived at 11 instead of 9:30 and left the silent mourning for a stranger we all shared and tried not to think too much about it.  I had missed my connection so I went to get a new ticket and another coffee.
Munchen to Verona
They gave me new tickets and a voucher for 25 Euro off my next trip with them as an apology for the delay.  It felt weird to receive money because I was ‘inconvenienced’ by a man killing himself.
Verona to Milano
We were late arriving in Milan, I missed my connection but just took the next train heading there.  I had been feeling strange about going back to Italy while wanting to be in Berlin.  Would I get there and get sucked back into my love of everything Italian and not be able to leave? At that moment it didn’t seem so.  Compared to Germany the station was a mess, everyone seemed a bit more disheveled albeit in a very fashionable Italian way.  I knew I could just get on the next train to Milano without getting a new ticket, Italy didn’t care as much about that sort of thing.
The train was gross.  At one time this type of train was so exciting and new for me but now I just wondered what had ever appealed to me about it.  None of the three bathrooms I tried had toilet paper and instead of flushing there was just a giant hole where you could see the tracks whizzing by below.  And all the windows were smudged or had names carved into them.
Milano to Parma
I had been thinking and talking all about how great Italy was but once we were reunited it felt like an awkward car ride home from the airport where you start talking about the weather to someone who used to know everything about you.  Eavesdropping on conversations had lost it’s thrill and it was great to understand everyone again but something felt off.
Parma was warm compared to Germany.  I walked from the train station to my Sisters, with no need for directions.  Once I arrived it was hugs and stories, a plate of dinner ready for me, and a glass of wine before collapsing into bed with thoughts of what could come next flowing through my head.  Then I realized I hadn’t taken any photos today.

Primo Gita a Firenze; First trip to Florence

On Saturday after a perfect breakfast and a brief glimpse of the market that over takes San Giovanni Valdarno every Saturday Aneja and I headed to Florence (Anna went early to go to the Uffizi).

It only takes about 40 minutes from downtown SGV to downtown Florence.  Once we got there we decided to head to the Duomo, by way of Promod where I bought a dress.
There was a huge line to the inside of the church so we decided to climb to the top of the dome instead, blissfully ignoring the signs about no elevators. I didn’t take any photos on the way up but here’s one from the way down to give you an idea.

a little terrifying to have to hold on to the ceiling because the stairs are so steep

a little terrifying to have to hold on to the ceiling because the stairs are so steep

There were so many narrow flights of stairs that by the time we got to the top we were red faced and sweaty and not really in the mood to be photographed.  However the view was gorgeous and it felt like a grand accomplishment that we had climbed that high.

After this we met up with Anna and together went over Ponte Vecchio and into Palazzo Pitti to see the Boboli Gardens.  It was a very hot day and we stopped a few times during the climb to rest in the shade and take photos.

The view was gorgeous but we were exhausted, it was so hot and humid.  We went through the museum then back down the hill, indulging in the little breezes that cooled us off.

After wards we walked around Florence window shopping and dragging our sore feet.  This is when I snapped this photo of different types of tights named for different American states.  Who knew Oregon would be the choice for seam up the back tights.

Eventually we decided we’d had enough and headed home to SGV.

Aneja and I decided we were ready for a nice dinner out and headed to Osteria d’Angelo, which was perfect.  I had verdura alla griglia as an antipasto and Aneja had a salad then we shared the plate of fromaggi and two delicious desserts.  I had the pear tart with chocolate sauce and Aneja had the cheese cake with fresh berries and then half way through we swapped which, we think, is the best way to do dessert.