Friday, July 29, 2011

I decided to start the day by pulling a Goddess card to see who was going to help me maintain my adventure.  I laughed as I pulled “Freyja.”   She represents boldness and encourages you to: “Unleash your adventurous side! Take risks and be daring.”  Interestingly, Friday was named in her honor.  So I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at my hotel, which is served in a loft area, while I spent some time journaling my adventures.  Once complete, I decided to begin my bold day of adventures.  It didn’t disappoint!

I love showing up and allowing the world to take me on its ride.  Today is cloudy, cool and overcast – a perfect day to walk and explore.  I made my way to the San Lorenzo market, meandering through the street vendors and selecting some gifts along the way.  Once I arrived at the market, I was in love as all of  my senses went into overdrive. It was magnificent. Fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, cheese, seafood, meats (including horse, which was a bit disturbing to me), so many pastas, wines, olives, mushrooms, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and sauces. It was bustling with visitors and vendors in action.  I took it all in as I maneuvered the crowds.  As I made my way to the very back of the market, I discovered an espresso bar with pastries.  The lady who operated it, Stephanie, was an Italian delight.  I decided on a berry tart and an Americano.  Now, I never drink Americanos; I drink lattes.  However, in Italy it is generally frowned upon to drink a latte in the afternoon since it is a morning drink.  So I was momentarily overcome by “when in Rome…” or Florence, as the case may be, and sided with the locals to try something new.   Sadly, the two ladies next to me ordered cappuccinos and I instantly regretted my decision when I saw their cups of art:  handcrafted Italian love with a special design on top.

The gentleman next to me was an international traveler on holiday with a young child around 2 years old.  It was as if the line of customers vanished as the Italian espresso proprietor lost all interest in us as she turned to dote on this beautiful child.  None of us minded.  Time is insignificant in Italy.  The gentleman clearly adored the child.  I couldn’t tell if he was the father or the grandfather, but I suspect the grandfather.  He was a beautiful man with a gentle, inviting smile.  He taught the young girl manners with calm guidance, in a way you knew would remain with the child throughout her lifetime.  She wore a whimsical, pink floral dress and he wore a light pink polo shirt with pressed white shorts.  His silver hair may have belied his age, but didn’t detract from his polished look. Yet, it was his presence that most caught my attention.  He taught the child using multiple languages and he showed her how to engage people while embracing the world.  How fortunate she appears to be.  Stephanie, the espresso proprietor, asked him if she could give the child a candy and he granted his permission.   She confused her languages when she said “thank you” and he reminded her it was “Grazie” in Italy.

I spoke to him briefly and sensed he was someone I would enjoy meeting.  Stephanie returned to line up the cups of espresso and magically she created all of our drinks in an instant.  Much to my delight, I enjoyed my Americano.  The espresso in Italy is truly wonderful.  But not as wonderful as its people, which I was about to discover.