After a day at sea, we headed into La Spezia to go to Florence. The ship did not dock, but anchored at sea and we tendered into port. It took nearly an hour to get to shore.
Then there was a two hour bus ride to Florence. This proved to be the most trying day of the trip.
Do you ever have those days where you're just a bit on edge? I do. I get those days where everyone annoys me more than they should. Usually, I just opt to stay out of people's way as best as possible. Having that day while crammed on a bus with 50 people is not a good thing. First, the gent in front of me kept randomly slamming his seat back into my knees without warning. On the fourth time, I snapped at him, begging him to please stop doing that as I was getting bruised. We left La Spezia and pulled off 10 minutes later for a potty break. Seriously? Yeah. Then we stopped again an hour later for an urgent baby issue. Sigh. Finally we get to Florence, and the guide wants to take us to three different stops before showing us where we'd meet up at the end of the day. This was "Florence on your own," so I was a bit grumbly about that. We headed out finally, aimed for Boboli Gardens and lunch. Crossing the street to Boboli Gardens is when Erik got hit by a car. A guy parked backed up into him before pulling into traffic. It was harmless, but unbelievably careless, and the guy seemed annoyed that we were standing there at the intersection waiting to cross. Much gesturing and shouting ensued and eventually he pulled into traffic and was promptly honked at by the car he cut off.
Boboli Gardens was unexpectedly pricey, so we opted to grab lunch first, then tour the gardens since it was less casual than we expected. Lunch at Caffe Ricci was lovely. Erik had lasagna and I had ravioli with butter and sage and a nice cappucino.
Once inside the gardens, we better understood the price of admission. The gardens are huge! We wandered around to the Island Fountain, up towards the top, down through the chestnut grove and down to the amphitheater.
Then we toured the Costume Museum (included in the ticket price). There were several galleries comparing 19th and 20th century fashion and some really gorgeous examples. There was an 1870s dress I just loved. The creepiest bit was where they'd taken the burial clothes from the Medicis and laid them out to better understand the clothing of the period, little of which survives. However, these were recovered after about 400 years of being on a rotting corpse. Ew.
We headed out again, back into the bustle of the city to go by the Duomo and acquire gelato. After a bit of wandering here and there, it was time to head back to the bus.
Reboarding the bus, an older man had taken the front seat. When the original occupant arrived, she was a bit surprised and asked to have her seat back. The guy said, "Nope, we asked. There's no reserved seats." She looked a bit dumbfounded as we'd been told it was alright to leave things on the bus in our seats. I offered, "She's just had knee replacement, so she did actually reserve the front seat." He said again, "No, I checked, no saved seats. I've had knee surgery too. Want to see my scar?" I turned to Erik at this point. With almost no words we agreed we'd give her and her husband our seat, one row back, and move back to wherever Fat Florida Man was sitting originally. I said, "Here, just take our seats. We'll move." The lady with the knee surgery says thank you, but has to turn back to Fat Florida Man and say, "Um, I left some things... could I just get those." At this point, Fat Florida Man's wife is embarrassed and she says, "It's okay, we'll move." They dive into our seats, and we move back to their original seats, immediately behind them. Sigh. At this point, I just turned to Erik and said, "Some people were never taught to be gentlemen."
The bus got underway and the tour guide offered to come down the aisle during the journey to go over the various things we'd seen and answer any questions we had. We were asking her about the grotto we'd seen at Boboli Gardens when suddenly Fat Florida Man's seat tilts back, whacking me in the head, Erik in the knees, and the tour guide in the shoulder as we all huddled around the camera. Shouts from all around saying, "Hey hey hey whoa!" He said, "Well I've got to have room for my legs." And Erik said, "There's just no more room." And the tour guide added that he really must ask before doing that. The seat tipped back up a bit and we all took a deep breath. I thought long and hard about the damage it would cause to my signed copy of Packing for Mars if he tried that again, because I'd have to bludgeon him with it. But, lucky for all, he stayed quiet for the rest of the trip back to the boat.
Before dinner we took a walk on Deck 9 to watch the sunset and found 2 for 1 margaritas. This was perfect! We also bumped into Kevin and Carrie and told them about the margaritas, so they grabbed a pair as well. We hung out with them, then headed down for dinner. Tonight was Pirate night at dinner, which meant that every place setting had a little pirate bandana.
What our server didn't warn us about was that after dinner, there would be turkey legs and carnitas served up on deck 9 during the Pirate party. This was too bad, because I'd been craving Mexican food something fierce! We went up to Deck 9 and danced with the pirates. Pirate Mickey arrived on a zipline just before the fireworks started.
We bumped into Dave in his fabulous pirate attire and he let Erik take a photo in his hat.
After all that we headed down to Rockin Bar D for Krazy Karaoke. Erik and I will have to develop a favorite karaoke song, but we didn't have one yet, so we watched instead. Turns out, there were some pretty awesome performances, especially by the staff. One bartender from upstairs sang Footloose and totally rocked, but the hands down best (as in, we were leaving but actually sat back down because we couldn't tear ourselves away) was the bar stockman from Diversions who did "Delilah" in the style of Tom Jones. Heck, he could be Tom Jones, save for being Philippino. It was AWESOME.
On that high note, we headed to bed. Off to Corsica in the morning!