Tuesday Goes Missing in Florence

amsterdamMaking your own travel itinerary calendar seems like such an innocent act. We were going to 4 countries in 17 days, with trains to catch, connections that could not be missed, hotel rooms that had been booked. I plotted it all on a letter-size calendar of my own design, and each grid had times, destinations, and phone numbers. Simple and efficient.
We got to Amsterdam – no problem, other than a bit of jet lag. From there it was on to Bruges and a beautiful room overlooking a canal. Then off to Paris and a quaint room in latinquarterthe Hotel Eugenie on the Rue Saint Andrés des Arts. An overnight sleeper car to Santa Margarita on the Ligurian coast made a fine introduction to Italy. The train to Genoa went off without a hitch and then it was on to Florence.

The first phrase I learned upon arrival is molto piavoso – very rainy. It was coming down in buckets in Florence and the taxi queue was a mile long. It was one of the first kinks in an otherwise smooth itinerary. After much map reviewing and deliberations, we decided to try walking (with heavy backpacks and ponchos). After a horrible walk, we found a bus that would take us close to the pensione where we were going to stay. Strangers offered assistance and the driver was decidedly more helpful than might be expected.

We arrived at the Pensione Rigatti with completely soaked shoes and feet (that would later produce a wonderful head cold). It was owned then by a frail English woman who came to Florence as a visitor and never left. A rickety old style elevator that barely held us and our bags took us up to the top floor, where we were greeted by the perplexed proprietress. pontevecchioPerplexed because she was not expecting any new guests that day and the Pensione was full.

We all huddled over my wonderful calendar and quickly realized that our reservation was for Wednesday, the following day, and that Tuesday had gone missing from my calendar because it was never there. The owner took pity on us and called Pensione Quisisana e Pontevecchio which was down further on Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, closer to the Pontevecchio Bridge. Fortunately, they had a room available and she called a cab to take us there. It turned out to be the hotel where scenes for E. M. Forsters “Room With a View” were filmed. 

The next day, the real Wednesday, we returned to our old friends at Pensione Rigatti, but the night spent at Quisisana (Lost Tuesday, as we referred to it) was more than a little footnote to our trip. By the time we returned home, my calendar making skill was the stuff of legends.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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