I’ve trained myself to sleep on public transportation so I had to struggle to keep my eyes open on our way in from Pisa. It started raining before the train pulled into Florence, which made it even more difficult to stay awake. (Those 4:30 am wake up calls are always brutal.)
Just as we were a few blocks from our Airbnb, the light rain became a downpour. It was a scramble to find some shelter under an overhang. We then waited out the worst of it before continuing on.
Our friendly host had a friend with him and introduced us. We accepted an offer of tea as we chatted for a moment.
He remembered I had used a little bit of Italian when I booked the room and asked me about it. I was excited to have an interested audience to practice my Italian on. He actually used to ride horses and we had a half English-half Italian discussion about it – if he didn’t know the English word, or I didn’t know the Italian, we would switch languages and figure it out.
After Kate and I rested and changed, we went out to pizza with our host and his friend. They took us to a local place with absolutely delicious pizza. As soon as we were seated I just had to sit back and listen to all the fast-paced Italian flying by me. Occasionally our host would laugh, look at me, and ask, “How much of that did you understand?” I’d repeat back to him the 5 words out of the last 3 minutes I had picked out. He’d nod and say, “Not too bad. That was fast.”
I was getting my bearings as our host led us back to his flat. So far, Florence seemed pretty easy to navigate. The buildings and streets were sparkling and clean after the rain, and tourists and locals alike were back out on the streets. The restaurants and bars were beginning to overflow with people spilling out onto the pavement. As we said goodbye and piacere to our host’s friend, I decided I liked Florence a lot. The people we had met so far were friendly and very patient with my language attempts, and the city’s vibes were much more small-town than the vast London we had just left.
(This is why I enjoy using Airbnb. Here’s my AirBnB referral code. You get $35 off your first booking!)