We ignored them, ordered vodka and blood orange juice, got vodka and orange juice. No big. Our drinks were accompanied by nice large bowls of cerignola olives and nuts. So pleasant to chill, away from the noise and chatter of the bustling city and allow ourselves to be pampered, if only for a day.
Dark clouds were rolling in from the north and we thought that rain would soon follow, our picnic was officially over, retiring back to our rooms as a matter of prudent caution.
We took a shuttle into town and walked around a bit, finally making our way to the jewelry shops on the Ponte Vecchio, where they were finishing up some business transactions with a local jeweler of note, Giovanni Melli.
He had an opal necklace that I was crazy for but that is another story, still unfinished.
Giovanni not only had beautiful material, the view from his shop window might just be the best in the world.
He told us that we had to try the place around the corner Cammillo. Best in show.
We wandered our way through the Otrarno and found the place on the end of the next block.
The staff was all sitting around eating dinner. They were absolutely booked but would seat us in the attic if we were so inclined. We were.
Dinner was still an hour away so we wandered about the block.
And a fantastic walking city, we certainly covered a lot of ground.
Leslie had a pasta dish with white truffle. Alyssa had a deep fried lamb and not quite sure what David ate. All very delicious. They drank champagne, I drank water.
Place was superb, as advertised. We finished the meal with a fresh grape tart.
It is not France, nor even San Francisco. Bread is an afterthought in Italy. The dinner rolls are really pretty tasteless and pathetic. No crust.
My friend Ken told me about a co-pilot of his who took umbrage because the country doesn't believe in bread plates (or butter for that matter), you put your bread on the table.
But heck, you can't be good at everything and they have pasta down in spades so we will give them a break. I pretty much ate everything on my food bucket list for Italy except a tripe sandwich. Next time. Oh and by the way, pigeon is quite good.
My friends were happy and high from the meal and the alcohol. I was not drinking and dry to their wet, sort of an asshole to be honest, but tried my best to be civil, needed my own space at that moment. Oh well. You know how I get...
And what better place to engage in a little indulgent self pity than the Pitti Palace? A Pitti pity party?
My friend Tracy told me yesterday that she would have picked Venice as would Mike. She is a violinist and said that she understands our decision as I am visually oriented but Venice is about music. I hope to visit one day and compare.
There is certainly a tremendous amount of art in Florence, the epicenter of the renaissance. Some tire of it. I only regret not having more time and not seeing more.
I really wasn't feeling very well and there were no cabs around. The man at our friend's hotel called us a cab.
What happened next was amazing, like a winged fantasy from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Merry Pranksters or Mary Poppins.
A psychedelic cab appeared instantly from the clouds, Milano 25, full of toys and stuffed animals.
We got the whole story. After losing her husband to cancer fifteen years ago, the magical cab driver started a free ferry service for children with cancer. As a cancer survivor, I was touched by her story. One of the greatest cab rides in my life, simply a beautiful person. Changed my bad attitude in a jumping jackflash.