Ciao, Everybody!

Location: Florence, Italy

Medical science would have us believe that no one ever dies of jet lag. I think it just might be possible. I thought I had it beat cause I had a great day yesterday, and I fell asleep promptly at 10 p.m., and I slept great…for 45 minutes. Then I stayed awake until almost 4 a.m. Naturally I fell into a stupor shortly before it was time to get up so we could catch our bus to Florence. At least we had (free!) room service for breakfast.

It’s been interesting to break free from tour groups for a bit to see how we fare as tourists in Italy. Our “tour” to Florence was really just a ride from the ship to the city, leaving us free to discover on our own. We muddled our way through some basic Italian and I was surprised at how much of it was familiar — “pollo” for chicken, “uscita” for exit, and of course “grazie” and “por favore.” We had three different maps of Florence, two of which were essentially useless, but the third one was a lifesaver as we managed to get lost on our way to (Palazzo
Vecchia/Ponte Vecchio/the Medici Chapels/the Pitti Palace). We easily walked three times as far as we needed to, but hey, the exercise kept us from falling asleep. (Now if only there was some way to keep from staying awake at night!)

I thought we’d have trouble filling the six hours of free time, cause I remembered Florence as being all about art (which doesn’t interest me), but there were plenty of historic sites I appreciated this time around that would’ve been lost on me on my last trip 12 years ago. So we really enjoyed our day, despite the fatigue and navigation challenges.

We’re certainly enjoying the ship, too. I’ve fallen in love with the observation deck, which has sweeping windows, a bar, a coffee shop, an incredibly extensive library and some kick-ass computer stations. There are board games available, too, so Chris and I played some ’80s Trivial Pursuit after dinner last night while Dave and Tanya went to the casino.

It’s neat travelling with other people. We met up with Dave and Tanya shortly before dinner last night and shared our travel tales while checking out the view from their verandah. At dinner, the four of us were seated together at a table of eight, but both of the other couples have since transferred to other tables (are we that bad?) so now we’re on our own. Chris’s tuxedo arrived in our stateroom today, so we’re all ready for our first formal night tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s hoping for a decent sleep tonight…on to Monaco!