Monday, October 16, 2006

Ant Colonies

If I could make a sound for Florence it would be a lawn mower crunching bone.

The streets of Genoa seemed busy this morning as we waded through to the train station and Florence beyond but nothing could prepare us for the birthplace of the Renaissance. Swarms of tourists move as relocating colonies from one section of town to another. An American man pushed through a crowd calling out before him, "Coming through! Comig through!"At our lunch restaurant we were seated elbow to elbow at the same table as another group of Americans and handed menus in English. We guard our pockets like the guidebooks say. We avoid certain parks at night. This is the off season.

Architectually Florence is amazing (David and the Duomo) but it seems traveleres come here to shop. Store after store after store tempt leather and glass and stockings (hot comodity) to the tourists. Gelato drips to the ground as noses press to glass.

My travel companion and I spent most of the day grumpy. Hungry or claustrophobic or both. It wasn't until the evening when wind shifted a candle's flame into a woman's napkins and restaurant patrons jumped to the small blaze armed with water glasses and stamping napkins did we finaly relax. Maybe it was a fellow American's surprised, "Shit!"at seeing fire on a nearbye table. Maybe it was knowing we'd survived Florence day 1 and had a plan for day 2. Who knows. But we are feeling better. Guidebooks and maps drawn like jousting swords, we will join the throngs. Pusy Americans. Pushy Italians. And we will begin to explore the city anew.

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