My European Adventure…Part 6 

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Friday morning brought another scorcher.  Italy in August is a hot one!  That is why so many of the locals go elsewhere this time of year but we were committed to seeing as much as we could, so we headed out.

We had planned to go to the Farmers market, before catching an afternoon train to Rome.  This was something I was really looking forward to.  The wonderful thing about Florence is you can walk to everything.  We wandered around a bit in the outdoor open marketplace that sells t-shirts, leather goods, replicas of famous paintings etc.  We each purchased a few souvenirs.

We then ventured into the large indoor market.  What a place….There were beautiful fruits and vegetables, every kind of cheese you could think of, olive oil, pastas, olives, dried peppers and so on. 

The merchants were very friendly and many attempted to speak to us in English.  We asked a lot of questions and met some real characters.  I started to realize the great bonus of taking the flip video camera was recording these characters.  The three of us have watched them numerous times and are still laughing (or crying).  The butcher was really wild…the things he says in this video are outrageous…our mouths just dropped.

After walking the market for a few hours we were starving.  We found a nice restaurant close by, the main draw being, even more so than the food, the AIR CONDITIONING!!

After stuffing ourselves with another great meal, including our now ritual mixed cheese plate (our decedent indulgence), we headed back out for a couple more hours of walking the streets and taking in the local flavor.

At one point Carolyn stopped and chatted with a street artist. The woman started talking with us about doing Carolyn’s portrait and from there the conversation just got more and more interesting.  I want you to know this video is one of the real highlights of this trip for me…I love her spirit, her take on artists and on life.  If you take the time to talk with people you don’t know, oh the riches you can gain.

At this junction of the trip, we were to leave Carolyn.  She had planned to stay a few more days and then head to Prague, while Katie and I were going to spend a few days in Rome.  What fun we all had together and we owed her a big thank you for encouraging us to go on this trip.

We hopped on the 4:00 train to Rome.  It was a comfortable ride and we sat with three American college boys that were doing a whirlwind, budget trip, staying all three to a bed.  They were cute and funny and we enjoyed hearing about their adventures.

We arrived in Rome, easily caught a taxi to take us to The Locarno hotel.  My friend Carrie and her family had recently stayed there and she highly recommended it.  What a great place…Old and quaint with a cage elevator in the middle of the lobby.  I wish I had a video of the bellhop, Katie and me with all of our bags in this TINY elevator…it was so funny but he acted as if this was absolutely normal – so we did too.

The room was very unique, with gold brocade fabric on the walls, the bed and the curtains.  It all seemed so “Rome”…

We showered and headed out to grab a bite, close to the hotel.  It was nothing remarkable, but did the trick.  The next day would be a big day of site-seeing and we wanted to be rested and ready.  One small glitch that we were not aware of ahead of time was that it was a major Italian holiday weekend – Mary’s assumption…

Assumption of Mary: The feast day of the Assumption of Mary, also known as Assumption Day, celebrates the day that the Virgin Mary ascended into Heaven following her death, according to popular Christian belief. It is the principal feast day of the Virgin Mother.  It is celebrated annually on or around August 15 by many countries, particularly in parts of Europe and South America.

This meant that many people would be out of town and shops would be closed…oops! Oh well this would not deter us, we would still see as much as we could.

We went to bed excited with anticipation of what we would see the next day.