Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No stress here.........RIGHT!

Downtown Florence....beautiful, beautiful city - driver hell......

Gelato makes the world a brighter place........

These little cars get lots of stares and pictures. Toooo fun!!!!

This is me in the formal garden at the villa. I could live there for 16 million!

Alex, our guide, telling us about our little car...........

Happy 23rd anniversary to us!
We started out the day with a delicious buffet breakfast here at the resort. Lots of yummy pastries, hot tea, and croissants with cheese and ham. There were also three little kitties begging and of course, we had to toss them some of our breakfast. (We were eating on their patio) Then we left around 10:30am for an 11:30 eta at the Fiat Tour garage. Thinking this would be PLENTY of time but no. The traffic in Florence is absolutely unreal. It actually took us an hour and a half and thank goodness I had the foresight to rent a phone because I must have called them 5 times! I told her, we are in Florence but we are stuck in traffic! We had no idea what street we were on and she said they would wait until 12 - there was another family there. It was 11:45 and there was absolutely no place to park. People on scooters whiz past and go down the center lines between cars, they think lines on the road are there for decorative purposes only, and the people will just walk out in front of you. They will stick the nose of the car into your front fender trying to squeeze into a bumper to bumper lane full of cars. Never have we seen this insanity before and between the two of us, I think every curse word was used at least a dozen times!! All the while the clock was ticking and we were trying to find a place to park the car. Dennis threatened to leave it on the sidewalk at one point! Finally, I called her back and she said to go to a parking garage, we found it and were so happy then it said FULL. I thought we were going to cry. We fought our way back around the block to the next one and got in. It was 12. We called her running down the street, sweaty, and exhausted and she said they would wait. We met her at the Santa Croce church and made it in 5 minutes after 12! It was sooo amazing race. She couldn't believe we had driven in! And the sad part is we have to go back tomorrow! On the bright side, the Fiat 500 tour was awesome! We met a family from Chicago and had a wonderful dinner in a Tuscan villa, complete with a pool and winery. We got to sample their wines and see some of the Florence sights. Afterward, we walked to a shop to get some gelato and it was great. I just wished there was a bus from Il Castelluccio (where we are staying) to Florence! The main highway is a toll road and we had trouble figuring out which lane gives you the ticket. At the end, you are supposed to put your ticket into the machine and pay, the gate goes up and you go on. We managed to screw this up twice! The gate wouldn't go up and some dude behind us got out of his car to see if we were dead or what. He spoke no English but managed to retrieve the fine slip from the machine for us. 47,00 euros! We are rackin' em up! The second one was actually the Garmins fault because it led us straight through an EZPass lane with no ticket option! Hopefully, tomorrow's driving will be improved from the lessons we learned today. All part of the different culture experience! Let's just hope we just get those darn tickets tomorrow!!!!

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