On the last day of our cruise, I looked at the back of my hair, which I had been growing out for six months after a really bad haircut. It was finally almost one length in a neat bob. People had even been known to compliment me on it. However, it needed a slight trim in the back.
Thus my meeting with Kristina, the self-acknowledged genius with hair. “Why they cut it this way?” she said, after combing me out following my shampoo. I shrugged and said, “I just want a trim. No layers or anything.” I guess it was the language barrier. Like I said, she was a Macedonian.
After fifteen minutes of furious snipping, my sixth month’s growth lay on the floor. In the back, my hair is not half an inch long. At the crown, it is perhaps two. I have become GG the poor waif. “See?” she proclaimed, “I am the genius!”
Someone at dinner (everyone was there for a change) said, “GG did you cut your hair?”
I began to have separation anxiety and had to take a tranquilizer. I thought it was because we were approaching the end of our cruise, but now I think it was a belated reaction to my haircut.
The debarkation went like clockwork the next morning. Once we hit the pavement, I was forcibly reminded that we were no longer being coddled but were at the mercy of the Italians, Venetian Italians, who are different than Florentines. Someone forgot to get out of bed and come to man the ticket booth for the vaporettos. An entire ship was unloading and most of us had no plan to spend 80 Euros (120 dollars or so) for the short trip to the center of town. However, after wilting in a long line, I thought of my father He left me a small inheritance. Would he let me stand around for over an hour waiting for someone to open a booth to buy a ticket or would he spend the 80 Euros? I made up my mind. I told David we were taking a water taxi.
Our hotel turned out to be vintage 1950 with an elevator! A small bar, a walled garden outside our room, and a very peculiar sit down shower completed its idiosyncratic charm. We were out exploring Venice in no time. I think David has lost his heart. I tried to warn him, but he was not prepared for the glorious pastel baroque splendor of the magnificent city. That day, my father also paid for a glorious Murano glass beaded necklace and earrings in the traditional Venetian blue and gold.
And what is Venice without Vivaldi? Of course, there was a concert, our concierge said. Right on St. Mark’s square in a little chapel there. After a dinner that had nothing to recommend it except expedience, we journeyed to the chapel where we had a third row seat of the most magnificent “Four Seasons” I have ever heard. It was a lovely evening. Venice redeemed herself.
The train to Florence the next morning was amusing owing to the fact that our seats were in the middle of a group from the cruise. Unfortunately, they hadn’t enjoyed it much, which was completely past my understanding. I reassured them that they would love Florence. (I wonder if now they are cursing me).
When we walked out of the train station, I swear it was as though we had never left. The scooters, the traffic, the tourists were all there. But so was that vitality which captured my heart six months ago. Elisabetta ran all the way down the stairs at our B & B to greet us with many many kisses. We went upstairs and talked like friends who hadn’t seen each other for years. She had given us our same room.
Our first stop was, of course, the central market where my father bade me buy a lot of things, most of which were gifts, but David finally broke down and allowed me to buy a set of Tuscan salt and pepper shakers. (I am in hopes that this is the beginning of a slippery slope. I have loved Tuscan dinnerware since I came of age.)
Now it is twilight of our second day. I am sitting on my balcony under the blue, blue sky and a soft breeze is blowing. We have been for a long, long Italian luncheon at our favorite restaurant on the Arno, followed by a stroll through our favorite museum, I am sorry to report that last night I had yet another fall (and was raised by no fewer than seven Florentines). My hips are not in the best of shape, so we had a nap. What can I say? We were tired and slept til seven, Time is precious here this visit, but I know that I will be back.