Florence – the last post …

20181012_110431I love Italy.  I love the people and the piazzas.  I love the food and, as far as I can manage it, the language.  I love the history and the culture.  We’ve been here four times in the last ten years and will probably come back very soon.  However, right now, at this moment, I’d pay serious money for a Wendy’s drive-thru bacon burger, fries, a coke and the surly kid that hands it to me.  I’m a North American – and it’s time to go home.  Besides, I’m starting to look like my passport picture.

Florence – a little further

20181007_130936.jpgA medieval night

20181015_025847A Christian dìscussing it wìth a lion

20181014_022011.jpgThe Wall Of Soles

20181014_030859.jpgKay and a Medici cookie jar

20181015_022812.jpgThe Art of the Street

20181008_095144Madonna

Europe Is Different (from North America)

Europe

Europe is different from North America.  Here are a few things you need to remember.

Waiter (server in North America) is a respected profession in Europe.  It’s not just a stopover for university students and wannabe actors.  These people know what they’re doing.  Take advantage of it.

Criminal is also a profession (although not actually respected.)  There are people who get up every morning and head to the tourist attractions with the sole purpose of robbing you – or somebody else.  There’s no need to be paranoid, but you need to practice a little due diligence to make sure it’s somebody else.

There are two seasons in Europe.  Tourist season, when hordes of foreigners descend on the continent like an army of battle-hardened Assyrians — crowding the streets, cluttering up the restaurants and driving up the prices.  And Season #2 – October 22nd.

I hate to say it, but the days of the super bargains in Europe are over.  Armani suits are Armani suits all over the world, and you’re not going to get a discount just because they’re making them down the street.  Go for the small shops rather than the big labels.

Public transportation is the way to go.  In North America, we get in our cars; in Europe, people get on the bus, tram or subway.  Taxis are fine, once in a while (like from the airport) but if you want to see the real Europe, get on the bus.

European time is not North American time — adapt.

And finally:

The reason you crossed the big pond in the first place is you wanted to try something completely different.  Most times it’s fun but sometimes it’s a pain in the ass.  The truth is, on any vacation something is going to suck (it always does) but when that happens the best thing to do is don’t sweat the details – and keep on moving.