January 6, Rachel Kau-Taylor
Day 5 was one of our two free days. Before I left on the trip I’d intended to spend these free days in museums. I wanted to get to know Florence. After my ankle sprain though I was much more cautious, and I thought I’d better strike out on my own, so I could sit in a café anytime my ankle hurt. As it turns out this was not my best plan ever. I had the idea to go into Florence, try to find the central market, get food for a hotel room picnic, and bring it back to the hotel. As it turned out the central market wasn’t open because it was Epiphany Sunday. Even if it had been open I probably wouldn’t have been able to find it because I am completely directionally inept. I wound up walking in circles that always seemed to end up back at the Piazza della Repubblica. I finally sat down in a café and drank a cappuccino for an hour or so then started back to the hotel. I think if I’d just gone straight back at that point I might have been ok, but I took a detour through the San Lorenzo market and then stopped in a wine shop where I bought a nice bottle of wine. I got almost back to the hotel when I tripped again, falling down and smashing my bottle of wine all over the sidewalk. There weren’t even cobblestones, I was just tired and walking too fast. Two extremely nice Italian ladies helped me up, and I hobbled back to the hotel. I got some ice at the front desk and bought some internet, so I could write my boyfriend a totally soppy email. I read a trashy novel for a while and then the evening took a decidedly different turn.
When my classmates came back they knocked on my door and found me totally broken and sad, they decided to try to cheer me up. They brought back Prosecco from the bar downstairs, then wine, then pizza. One thing led to another and we were having a hotel party. As more people came back they opened more wine, and someone got their cell phone to play music. For the first time on the trip the undergrads spent some real time with the grad students. We discovered that they can be pretty grown up when they try and they discovered that Palmer is an excellent white rapper. I think we were much less “grown-up” than they expected. Finally around 3 am our professor came out into the hallway and said it was time to stop singing since we had another big day of wine tasting tomorrow.