The day started as all our days in Tuscany did, at the hotel. Only this morning we woke up extra early, ate a fast breakfast and hit the road. Well, we caught the bus anyway… only this time we actually made it on instead of our bus driver telling us to get off the bus because he just didn’t want to stop where we needed to get off, even though it was a scheduled stop. (Yes, this actually did happen to us just a couple days prior).
We arrived in Poggibonsi around 8:30a to catch the 9:10a bus to Florence, plenty of time. We stood there waiting for the bus, and we weren’t sure exactly where to wait for the bus, but a lovely woman told me, “A qui!” Well through some muddled confusion and lack of understanding we did, in fact, miss the bus. As it turns out we weren’t in the right spot, and we weren’t sure which bus to take. This lovely woman, who I quickly realized didn’t know any English, had mistakenly thought we were headed to the same town she was headed to rather than where we were intending to go…Firenze.
Somehow or another, I managed to strike up a conversation with this woman. We stumbled through our language barrier with the grace of a couple drunken elephants. Our conversation was dominated with a lot of, “Mi dispiace,” and “non capisco.” Still in the end it was a wonderful encounter, there is nothing more beautiful than two people who don’t understand the other trying desperately to get to know one another.
It was a matter of minutes after discovering this lovely woman has two sons that she then put me on the phone with one of them… (yes you read correctly, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed her son’s number, then hands it over to me). I have had a few moms in my day try to introduce me to their sons but this was a first for me. It was a fun encounter nonetheless, and one that is truly thanks to her. Had she not misinformed me, I would not have had the pleasure of meeting her beyond asking for directions. At this point, I politely let her get on her way because her bus had arrived. I rejoined my mother inside the station, and we met a family from Wales who were on holiday. They had missed the train to Firenze, and decided to take the next bus instead of waiting for another train. I couldn’t know then that this would set the tone for the rest of my day, it was a day of chance meetings.
From the second we stepped outside the bus station in Firenze the city overwhelmed me. The architecture conveys the beauty of history and modernity in a peculiar way within the walls of this gorgeous city. I’ve never seen a city that could be both so busy and peaceful at the same time. Churches and ancient buildings on my right, 99 cent store and a McDonalds on my left, what a lovely dichotomy.
We had so much fun walking through the market. Then we walked around the ever famous duomo, we went from there to Piazza della Signoria. It was just a short jaunt to the Ponte Vecchio.
My only regret is that we didn’t get to spend more time in the actual city. Next time I visit Florence I would certainly make sure I spend at least three days exploring this lovely city. All in all we only stayed in Florence for about 6 hours. But, we got to see a lot, shop a lot, and meet some cool strangers.