The rest of the Florence adventure kind of kicked our asses. After lounging in the hostel for a bit, showering, and changing, we headed out for dinner and a night on the town. We happened upon a delicious looking restaurant where we devoured food and befriended our waitress, Fatima. She was a 21 year old student and she really really liked us, so she gave us three liters of wine and a shot of limoncello each, all for free. That would have been a perfect ending to the night, but then she offered to take us out for some dancing.
After a pit stop at a bar near her house so she could go home and change, Fatima (above on the right) escorted us over the velvet robes at a fancy dance club near the Duomo called Yab. There were dancers on platforms, fruity drinks, and plenty of Italian men looking for dancing partners. It was fun but became overwhelming fairly quickly, especially with all that free wine in our systems.
Stacy (above) and I ended up gathering up Beth and Abby and getting them home safely. It would have been a simple matter of walking out, but the club had a complex card system which Fatima didn’t explain to us, so we had to pay a mysterious (and only somewhat absurd) amount tallied on our cards before we could even exit the club. I’ve never experienced that before. Also, Abby’s card had been misplaced so she had to beg for a discount. All in all, it was quite a lot for them to handle so I basically took control and got us out of there. Luckily, our hostel was about 2.5 minutes from the bar so that made things easier. Once we had forced the others to drink plenty of water and put them to bed, Stacy and I ended up staying up talking until about 5am. She is strong in her religious beliefs so we ended up talking about homosexuality and religion for a long time. She is a wonderful girl and we are the more moderate drinkers of the four. I’m glad I had her help that night and that I have her on this trip.
In the morning, we walked to the Ponte Vecchio (a famous bridge that was very close to our hostel) and walked around the South side of the Arno river. We were all pretty exhausted from the night before so we only walked for an hour or two but I’m so glad we did. The South side of the river, away from the touristy center, was the Florence I had imagined. Unlike Perugia with it’s bright houses, orange and pink with green accents, the buildings were creamy and tan with dark brown window frames and shutters. It was airy and the day was bright and the sky had a beautiful tapestry of clouds instead of the constant bright grey it has been almost every day since we arrived in Italy.
After that, we boarded a train and headed home. When we arrived, it really felt like home too, and that was perfect. Stacy had to pee for the entire 2 hour train ride so she ran into McDonalds immediately after getting off the train. Somehow after the adventure and exhaustion it seemed like a good idea to stay and eat there, so we did. It was actually the perfect end to the trip, something American and bright and greasy and fake to cap off our Italian adventure. It was a brilliant time and a great first traveling weekend.