Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Florence, Italy - A Traveler's Tale, Part 1

I am not a good traveler.

The Duomo, Florence Italy

For years I thought I could become a good traveler, but I haven't improved. Travel stresses me out. At 55 years-old this seems unlikely to change, but I love to see the world and learn about people and cultures and I love to explore cities on foot. I used to cover 20, to over 30, kilometers in a day, which meant 6 hours of walking. Work and family responsibilities brought that to an end almost 20 years ago. Even an hour or two on foot became uncommon, which probably accounts for the extra 30 lbs I now carry on my waist.

I am also not a good sleeper. Unfamiliar noises keep me awake, especially traffic, loud music and sounds of people partying. I envy people who can sleep through anything, but I have to be near death to sleep in those environments, so I am obsessive about finding a quiet place to rest at night, and I never leave home without ear plugs.

Selfie inside Casa del Popolo, Circolo Arci, Florence
Which brings me to Italy: I write this from Casa del Popolo, Circolo Arci, a small cafe / community center in a downtown neighborhood of Florence at 33 Via di San Niccolò.

My wife, Dawn, had miscarriages in 2006 and 2008 after which she started to have pain and difficulty raising her right arm. She was sent for an MRI when physical therapy failed and her pain continued to get worse, and the results were devastating.

At one point the doctors thought that the MRI machine was broken because