Brief Tuscan Memoirs

Sheer terror decends onto my face. The 500 stone beast bellows "un momento" to the waiting queue behind, in a deep American accent. The man has his fist plunged into an inconspicuous brown sack before releasing forth, like Arthur pulling the sword from the stone, some greasy goodness with the brand of the golden arches.

His obese offspring wait patiently. Unlike the chirping chicks tucked away in the nest, they know there is more than enough grub to go around. Within seconds their chubby fingers are clenched around their prey.

Satisfied that his children have had their fill, his gaze turns to me and then painfully shifts to the empty seat to my left. I say empty but it is currently providing the vital service of supporting my big shot, North Face rucksack. Such a bag would get so much more out of the juicy leather seat than the prowling 'bald with a moustache' American.

With one lengthy stride I know the game is up and I resign myself to my fate. I take one last gasp of fresh air and then join my bag on the seat next to me. Just 3 hours to go to Genoa...

This blog has been slightly neglected of late but all for good causes. I have been binging on a cultural feast through Rome, Siena and Florence. Interspersed with a delightful week isolated amongst the Tuscan planes.

Florence is a dream. It goes about its cultural dominance with a sophisticated swagger. A couple of nights ago I left our central appartment for a long walk through the pristine streets, bridges and piazzas. I wistfully walked by the locals at play. All of them beautifully dressed, talking beautifully, being beautiful. I know my place and I ventured on.

Even with my rose tinted glasses - watch out for the 3 euro sunglasses - there is an obligatory acceptance that Florence is a special place. I'm calling shot gun for my third year abroad.

Having been travelling for 24 days with the other 4, I am departing to see the chilled out coastal town of Monterroso. I am yet to have plans for past Sunday but I'm looking forward to the freedom. A presto