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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 9
Europe 2007
London, Tuscany, Paris


Day 8

We slept until 8:30. I slept well, but Carol had troubled due to street noise.


Quick continental breakfast at the hotel. The hotel is packed with young, noisy British kids.


This morning's mission is to locate a nice leather jacket por moi. We wandered the stalls at the leather market and had a good vibe at a shop called Remo2 Leather Factory (Via S. Antonino.) We spent at least an hour with the charismatic and soft selling Paolo, who patiently waited on me. I tried on many jackets and then Paolo said "Aha. I've got just the thing for you..." He disappeared for a few minutes and returned with a perfect soft black three-quarter length leather jacket. It was as if it had been made for me. After Paolo had his seamstress fix a couple of minor things that Carol had noticed, we bargained/negotiated a price for several minutes until all parties were satisfied. We stayed in the shop talking politics and economics with charming Paolo, took some photos, then headed back into the throngs of market-goers. We felt pleased with the purchase and Paolo made the experience quite enjoyable. Mission accomplished.


At Remo2
Paolo and David at Remo2

Back to the hotel to stow our goodies. A short visit with beautiful Eleni and her charming and humorous husband Guiseppe. We made plans to go out to dinner with them and their children later tonight.


We then walked back to Piazza Signorini, where we had a lunch of pizza and salad at a cool shady café in the square.


After lunch we walked to the Straw Market, rubbed the pig's nose for good luck and browsed.

Rubbing the pig's nose for good luck at the Straw Market

Then we walked across busy Ponte Vecchio, past the gold sellers, and up along the bank of the Arno until we came to the Tower de Niccoli. There we started to climb switchbacks until we were at the top of Piazzola Michelangelo, with a terrific view Firenze, and Fiesole beyond.


At Piazzola Michelangelo
The climb up/down Piazzola Michelangelo knocked me out

We rested in the shade for a while, then slowly wound our way down the hill and along narrow alleyways back past Piazzolla Signorini, past the Duomo, to the indoor market, which was unfortunately closed for the day.


We have plans to have dinner with our friends Eleni and Giuseppe and their children, Riccardo and Francesca, at 8:30, so we walked back to the hotel for a nap at four o'clock. At six we awoke and took a shower. Then plugged in the hotel's hairdryer and immediately blew out the power in the entire hotel. Once that problem was solved, we finished dressing and joined our friends in the hotel lobby.


We joined our friends and walked a few blocks to I Centro Poveri, where we sat in a small intimate setting and enjoyed a wonderful evening of delicious wine, food and conversation. Eleni is from Cyprus and speaks fluent Greek, Italian and English (perhaps more.) Guiseppe speaks very little English, so Eleni was our translator. Guiseppe's son Ricardo joined us. He plans to visit the US soon and we hope he is able to make it to Tucson. After a thoroughly enjoyable dinner of fresh mushrooms, squid, vegetables, pasta, delicious pastry for dessert and two different kinds of vino rosso, one of which Guiseppe called "an insult to nature."


Dinner with our friends Riccardo, Giuseppe (Beppe) and beautiful Eleni
Eleni about to enjoy a delicious Florentine dinner
Riccardo is ready to rock and roll
Beppe getting ready to attack desert
Everyone loves Beppe

After dinner, Eleni and Giuseppe walked us just around the corner to their top floor home in a building built in the 1400s. We were astounded at their accommodations, the lovely wooden floors, the ancient stone archways, the modern furnishings - molto bene!


Eleni and Giuseppe at their spectacular home

We much enjoyed visiting with our friends, and at 11 p.m. it was time to bid them "buono notte." We walked a few blocks to the hotel and fell into bed after another fun-filled day.

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