Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Florence: Blowing a monumental wad



I did the Duomo from the front, from the rear, top, underneath and on the side. 


But it was the hotel that screwed me.


When I arrived in Florence, Italy, I thought I was lucky to have a hotel right near the train station. How convenient. How divine. Great planning. Nice job.


It was very expensive but all the hotels seemed to be expensive for the night I wanted them. At least this one was near the train station.


When I first walked in my über expensive room, I had one thought: Old age home.


Not the kind of luxury I was imagining for the price I was paying.


But that's not all folks. No no. That's not all. The internet in my room, which was an extra charge, didn't work. Nor did the television. When I went down to the front desk, they said it would be no problem to use the internet in the lobby. But that's an extra charge, too.


Why would I pay for the broken internet in my room AND pay for broken internet in the lobby? 


I wish Italians knew the expression, "Are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit?" But they just stare and say, "Madame?" which pisses me off further because I'm not a madame. I'm a mademoiselle, bitches. 


Anyway. I didn't go to Florence to just stay at the hotel, so I dropped my bag off in the hotel and off I went to traipse around the city to see what I really came to see. 


Impressive. But why is no one talking about the hand-to-penis ratio here?
I love that Florence has taken their best sculptures and made incredible replicas to display in a piazza for all to enjoy. It's as if they decided to blow their monumental wad in one courtyard. They said, "Here you go tourists. Take your photos all in one sheebang. No waiting in line. Get up close, too. Check 'em out. We don't mind. We're not going to charge you a cover to see them either. We figured we'd screw you on the hotel instead." 


The place was a madhouse of tourists and tour operators, all waddling around piazzas and bottle-necking sidewalks. 


Typical tour guides wave a long flower to be easily located. I didn't have a hard time finding the tour guides. I had a hard time avoiding them.


Tour people.


The moment I reached my limit.
You'd think I'd be used to this by now. I manned up when I went to the Royal Wedding in London. I dealt when Pope John Paul II was beatified in Rome. But something about Florence made me snap.


Maybe it was my expectations. 

My friend Alan said to me once, 
"Disenchantment is good. It wipes away all the nonsense and shows us the truth. I can always build something worthwhile on the truth."
Best. Quote. Ever.


So when I'm in situations of disenchantment, I remember his quote. I try to build something worthwhile on the truth. But the absent vine-covered walkways, the (bad kind of) shady streets devoid of mom and pop restaurants, the shops rammed full of tourist tchotchkes... all meant that disenchantment had arrived in Florence and it was going to take me out for a crappy expensive dinner. (Note to self: Do NOT take dinner suggestions from a guy with a black eye and his friend who is sporting 12 stitches in his hand from their bar fight the night before.)


Disappointed and disenchanted, I weaved through the line of bars filled with 20-something Americans who were in Europe for the first time getting wasted with the same 20-something friends they get wasted with back home. Then I ended up at my shit hole hotel.


Then I realized something.


I could leave.


I had an apartment that I paid for in Rome for the month. And the high-speed train was leaving in 40 minutes to go to my apartment that had high-speed internet. I could pay for this hotel, stay in it and leave on the train in the morning... or I could leave NOW. 


I called the front desk to whip up the paperwork. They asked why I was leaving. I told them there were a myriad of reasons that I couldn't get into. Just get the paperwork ready already, Massimo.


I grabbed my backpack, left my map of Florence and high-tailed it to the conveniently-located train station next door. 


I was back in Rome in just over an hour. And I was the happiest I'd been all day.


Now I love Rome more, for one more reason:

It's not Florence.
Florence was all a bit much.


9 comments:

  1. I can't remember if we tried to warn you about Florence. I am sad you didn't get to enjoy the food, though - it's actually really amazing. But I remember being disgusted by the sheer volume of English-speaking 20-something college kids there, too. Glad you were able to get back "home" so quickly.

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  2. Florence is totally a theme park for 20-something exchange students. It's Italy's Disneyland. Now you dipped your toe in. Go wash it -- then visit Bologna. Or Parma. That's Italy.

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  3. We were in Italy during August, when everyone was at the beach. We had Rome to ourselves. And then, Florence. Least fave part of my trip, although I did like the steak, and some of the churches.

    Venice is also devoid of locals, but it has that magical Harry Potter moving staircase charm. You'll pay $20 for a roll of duct tape, and the food is awful. But there's the Peggy Guggenheim museum, and gelato. Totally worth it.

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  4. worse than the Sistine chapel?

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  5. Brad & MaryMay 25, 2011

    Florence has some great art and we had some excellent food but the city has become shabby; we preferred Siena and Lucca for Tuscan flavour.

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  6. wow, doesn't sound like the Florence I know. But then I haven't been there in 14 years. Depressing!

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  7. It's all just a bit much. Viva Roma.

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  8. I loved Florence. Then again...I was an English speaking 20-something. I rented a bicycle at the train station and had a fabulous day exploring by myself. And I stayed at incredible hostel. I guess it's all in the experience.

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  9. That truly is. Best. Quote. Ever.

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