Today, I am wearing a buttery soft suede shawl I bought in Florence, Italy during a trip my husband and I took there in October 2015.
It was a remarkable trip! Our tour guide led us slowly through the most iconic sights allowing us time to savor the beauty of Florence. Unfortunately, she was not as time-generous with the Ponte Vecchio and boutique lined areas nearby. When we (the ladies) asked for a time to explore the shops, our guide informed us that the prices were marked up for tourists and assured us she would end our tour in a lovely square with boutiques filled with items more reasonably priced. The tour was fabulous and the guide followed through on her promise. After a full day of touring, we ended up in quaint square of shops and small restaurants. Our guide was wearing a beautiful silver chain necklace that many women on our tour had admired. At this point, our guide pointed to the boutique that she said sold her the chain necklace…for a reasonable price. There was a large movement of women into the boutique while the men stood in the square abandoned by their wives. I looked in this boutique and found nothing I liked and wanted to go back to the Ponte Vecchio where I caught tempting glimpses of tantalizing objects in the windows of the many small boutiques there.
I told our tour guide that I wanted to go back to the Ponte Vecchio. She told me the way and asked my husband and I to return to the square when we were finished. I knew the buses from our tour would be waiting along the Arno, and knew I would be able to find them if I could not find my way back to the square.
My husband decided to wait by the buses parked along the Arno River. I moved at a quick pace toward the Ponte Vecchio. It was about 1 1/2 miles and I am a fast walker. I followed the Arno River and found the shops. In and out I went through them trying to pick the perfect piece to commemorate my trip to Florence. I chose a pair of earrings with orchids encased in acrylic suspended from solid gold frogs. Once the purchase was made, I followed the Arno River back to the buses. Along the enclosed walkways were many small boutiques. A leather goods store was featuring this gorgeous shawl in the window. I stopped and tried it on. It was a hurried purchase as my time was running out. I did find my way back to the buses and my husband with time to spare, but we could not find our way back to the square where our tour group was waiting. We also discovered there was no way the bus driver could contact them to say we were waiting.
Finally, a couple from our tour came back to the bus and asked if we were the couple everyone was waiting for…they were clearly not too happy with us. We explained we could not find our way back to the square and had no way to communicate with the guide. Eventually, everything was sorted out. We ended up stopping at the scenic sight I have pictured above. The evening was starting to descend on Florence and wrapped it in a muted, soft twilight. I thought it was the most beautiful time to capture one last look at this remarkable city.