Thursday, July 12, 2012

Saying Yes to Adventure

We were about to head to Florance to return to Il Vegetariano when a friend of a friend offered us to stay in a villa in Tuscany with his parents. This resulted in one of the two craziest transportation experiences of the trip. The other I will tell you about later. For now, know that we rode the fast train from Rome to Florence, with two other travelling couples and one angry lady shouting in Italian as we boarded. We ignored our seat assignments and wisely took refuge in the nearest seats. In Florence, we ignored Google's directions to wait for a train and got on the first train towards Livorno, unsure how to navigate the next two steps, two bus rides. I wasn't even sure we boarded the right train, since we rushed from the closest gelateria trying to cool our burning heads. On board, about to leave, I confirmed the train's direction with the man next to me, a sunburnt, smiling, pony-tailed fella who reminded me of a certain movie character. Later, I realized he was reading a book whose title may have been "we are brothers in time and space". For now, we traveled towards the sea, leaving the famous Firenze cupola to see another time. Meanwhile, a girl from Chicago sat with us. I imagined she was finishing a summer art class in Florence, perhaps even with my own professor from home who had just finished a class there. Despite the families standing in the aisles, she quickly got up in search of a better seat. A man traveling with the families sat down and began friendly conversation with my friendly neighbor. The families were from southern India. Our friend began talking about yoga, specifically mind yoga. And indian food. That fellow left to sit with his wife and baby, replaced by a young boy with pretty green eyes. He asked politely but without self-consciousness where we were going. All this was viewed by a man across the aisle whose arm was in a sling. I thought it was prosthetic until I noticed the long fingernails and realized it was instead was a painfully swollen limb. He seemed understandably unhappy the entire ride. Our miserable train arrived in the city of the Vespa, and our friendly set neighbor offered us a ride up to the villa where our friend awaited our arrival. Knowing it would spare us two long uncertain bus trips, we accepted and twenty minutes later we disrupted Lari's main Piazza with our rowdiness. The ride had been fast, dust and spotted with conversation. Vocabulary was limited but we knew that the driver worked in a vineyard and rightfully believes Tuscany is beautiful. At every stomach-churning turn he would exclain "la vista!" leaving us to appreciate the view as he sped on.   Minutes later, our friend arrived and we were whisked to the villa for homemade vegan pizza and long talks by the pool. In the morning, the light in our room looked like this:
Then we went to Venice where everything is picturesque. We managed to find enough empty streets for breathing room and took lots of photos. Here are a few.