From there, we wondered back across the Old Bridge and got lunch to eat in Boboli gardens. We were hoping for a Versailles experience, but Boboli is no Versailles. In fact, it’s not that great overall. It was a nice place to eat lunch and there were some nice views over Florence, but it was a bit underwhelming. The city parks in Florence were better overall. We walked back across the old bridge and saw the missionaries (turns out it was the entire Florence Zone). We grabbed a quick picture for Peter, and they carried on their way. Mike went off to get the rental car and the rest of the clan went back to the tasty gelato store and then back to the apartment to get packed up. There was no reason to stay in that mold swamp. Plus, we had seen the highlights of Florence and there was no need to stay there with all the tourists. It was a bit overwhelming.
Mike got to enjoy listening to an Italian/Belgium duo talk to the rental car lady for 20 minutes. It would have been annoying, but it was so animated and exciting. It reminded Mike of a Seinfeld sketch. They were in a hurry, but wanted to make sure they had time for an espresso before they actually got their car. They were in a hurry, but not enough of a hurry that there wasn’t time for an espresso. Mike eventually got the Volkswagen and then began the journey to the apartment. The apartment was in the special zone, so he couldn’t drive back to the apartment, so he parked by the river and then walked back to help get all the bags. It was a bit of an undertaking, but at least all the bags fit in the car and then we were off to La Spezia.
The weather was a bit rainy, but we were able to navigate the toll roads, all the trucks, and little cars everywhere. Driving in Florence was a nightmare of possible disasters, but the highways were much better.
We arrived in La Spezia and stopped at the grocery store to get milk, granola, and some cheese, grapes, and crackers. Then it was off to our apartment and the mystery parking lot which we successfully navigated. The lady couldn’t meet us, so she sent her dad, Pino. Pino was the highlight of the day. He was this cute little old Italian man that didn’t speak any English. Mike got to bust out his Italian and they hit it off. Pino helped with the luggage, showed us around the apartment, recommended a trattoria for dinner, and off he went. The apartment was wonderful. Modern, clean, and best of all, no stinky smell. It was a blessing. Plus, we didn’t have to drive back to Florence except to drop off the car. Phew! We unloaded our stuff, and then headed to the trattoria for dinner. The food was delightful, the rain just fine. It was a wonderful conclusion to our evening. We went back, took long hot showers, and slept wonderfully in clean, nice, comfy beds. Grazie Mille!