Monday afternoon on June 9:
It is nearly five o'clock and again I am feeling quite sleepy this afternoon. I have had a good day touring, and the weather is in the upper 30sC (90sF) so I guess that is why. I did sleep well overnight and probably for about nine hours. I felt fresh this morning. I have just had a siesta but felt more tired when I got up than when I started.
For breakfast, I had a warm croissant, whole grain bread, fruit, juice, coffee, beans and some baked boiled cauliflower thing with oily vermicelli. It was less that what I had yesterday, although I did not feel the need to snack so much before noon.
I think I will just hang around the hostel again this evening and maybe I'll get the netbook going and download some photos if I can get awake enough. I was hoping on taking a three-hour tour to the Hills but this tour has been canceled every afternoon this week although it is advertised in pamphlets as running everyday. They say it is a new offering and there is not enough interest yet. Meanwhile, I found out about a local bus going up there so I will try to find it and make it my day's goal tomorrow.
Anyway, I walked across the old town and found the bike tour place to sign up. Our guide was an American who has lived a few years here, beginning as a student of Italian and winding up as an art student, and meanwhile raising a daughter here. She is very talkative and engaging. As Americans tend to do, she gave her whole biography in the first 10 minutes. The other Americans followed suit, and we heard the whole story about why they are here. Nobody asked me about myself until the last moment as we were parting. It was an afterthought, I suppose. Anyway, it was a great tour and we had a great time, just the five of us. It was educational but not educational overload and we went at a slow pace sticking to the shade.
I have seen Michelangelio's sculptures, The Medici's tombs, Dante's house, the house of the Medicis' rival--the Stozzi family's, and more classic Renaissance paintings and architecture. I've eaten gelato and tasted Chianti. I have refrained from shopping, so far. I dipped into a baroque style Trattoria (ristorante) and had a plate of gnocchi with gorgonzola and the regional wine, Chianti, for a late lunch.
I am not hungry now. I will try to find some cold coffee.
Tuesday, June 10
I have seen the leaning tower of Pisa! I have rolled through the Tuscan countryside! I have been on the hill above the old city of Florence (Florence Town). I have experienced the Italian regional train system.
No matter how many attempts at a good photo, it never appears to lean so much in the frame as it does in real life, yet other images of buildings seem to be leaning in my photos. Hm.
It is HOT. I felt sleepy on the train but it was too crowded to feel comfortable enough to doze right off. Besides, a New Zealand couple kept chatting me up.
Two filles Quebecoises arrived yesterday. One of them may have an anxiety overload problem. She talked nonstop and seemed to be needy. The two emptied out their packs when they got inside the room and sorted things out. In the course of doing so, a bottle of wine went flying and smashed. The one was very upset; she was crying and swearing loudly for quite awhile. They kept people from resting.
I should blame the book, Life of Pi, for depriving me of sleep, too. I mean, how does it affect you when you read how a tiger was devouring the protagonist's best friend's face? Exactly--it is a kind of arounsing passage. I dreamt and awoke a couple of times, to get up at 6:30 not feeling properly rested. I did not sleep in the afternoon, though. I came in mid-afternoon for a shower and rest as usual but only layed down for awhile, without sleeping. I should point out that three young women from Seoul arrived and were talking a lot and unpacking stuff. Here we go again. Well, still, I wasn's as sleepy as I have been up until now every afternoon.
I am hungry and want to hang out at a nice place with a proper meal and maybe a glass of local wine instead of eating the grub here. The canteen is adequate, and the cooks crowded my plate with extra fries and toast, and gave me some of their home-made chocolate biscotti balls free of charge. I could not eat it all, so I through out about a third of the chips and saved the toast and cookies for today. The choco balls are nice.