Tuesday, July 12, 2011

White Night in Tuscany

After a few days of sunny weather, the gloomy gray clouds and chilly air have returned. It was nice while it lasted, and believe me, I took advantage of it. I went to a beautiful park down the road and discovered the prettiest creek I think I have ever seen. I watched families picnicking (that sounds kind of creepy, doesn’t it?) and little baby ducks bouncing around on some lily pads in a pond. I even ate my lunch outside, and this time on a bench and not in the middle of the street!

Since I’m dreaming about beautiful weather, I think this would be the perfect time to tell you about my experience in Tuscany.

If you ever visit Florence, I highly recommend staying at Hostel Plus Florence. We walked there from the train station and were immediately greeted by friendly staff members who gave us tons of helpful resources and ideas! The hostel even has its own reasonably-priced café and bar, and the view from the roof is incredible!

Our first night in Florence happened to fall on “white night”. We failed to ask what that actually means, but we discovered that on designated Saturdays all the markets stay open until very late and the streets are filled with vendors and live performances. Kelsey, Jenny, myself, and a kind of strange girl from Florida who happened to be sharing our room with us made our way across town to see what this “white night” business was all about.

The streets were full of tourists and locals. A group of people gathered to watch some old black and white film, which was being projected on the side of a building. Vendors were selling big cups of sweet, fruity sangria. An Italian hard rock band was screeching and head-banging in the street, drawing a large applauding, drunken crowd. Local artists were selling jewelry and little trinkets. A butcher was making made-to-order sandwiches with fresh ciabatta and thinly sliced pieces of meat, which he carved right before your eyes.

So I know this is a given, but kids, you really shouldn’t trust people you don’t know.

You also shouldn’t trust people with skunk tail-looking highlights.

The strange girl from Florida with the weird name I can’t remember, who seemed to know where she was going but actually didn’t have a clue, was leading us further and further away from the markets. By the time we realized this, it was midnight and we were lost in a city that we had been in for about half a day.

I guess they say that getting lost in a city is the best way to truly discover it, right?

By the time we reached the hostel, it was well after 1am and we were cranky and achy, but the night had been so incredible that it didn’t matter. As I lay in bed, all I could think about was this: I had woken up in Venice and I was falling asleep in Florence.

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