Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Once Upon a Time in Europe

Firenze, Pt1

“Florence is full,” we were told, and the No Vacancy signs displayed in every pensione between the train station and the Arno confirmed this uncomfortable truth: we had arrived without reservations and now had no place to stay.

When Ivano, with his long black hair and shirt open to the fourth button, called out to us – two young American travelers wearing backpacks and expressions of mild panic – offering us beds in his sparsely furnished, make-shift hostel, advertised only by a piece of masking tape over the door buzzer which read (in faint pencil font) “The Backpack Shack,” we agreed, fearing our only other option was camping on a hard bench back at the train station.

In postcards home, we wrote our parents about the art-full Uffizi gallery, the shop near the Duomo that sold fifty flavors of gelato, and the surrounding Tuscan countryside, but we tactfully omitted mention of our lodgings, the unctuous proprietor, and the police raid that (may or may not have) happened there that night we had no reservations in Florence.

Florence, Pt2

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