8-Aug-1985 Florence => 9-Aug-1985 Geneva
Left hotel at about 9:30 and found place to eat (after a while). Had 2 sandwiches & mug of fruit. We got lost on the way to first gallery (Palace Pitti) and found ourselves at fortress on top of hill overlooking city. Saw a couple Florentine lizards (about 8 in. long).
Eventually found museum. Temple.. of St… and Futillige… a war, some really nice M…. (???) Then we sat in park between Pitti and castle for a long time relaxing. We then tried to go to Uffuzi, which according to Frommer closed at 7:00, but we found it closed at 2:00, just like everything else. So, Frank went to Vecchio gallery while I went to Cathedral and Baptistry (partially designed by Michelangelo). Bought present for Mom and Grandmom, got stamps and post cards. At 7:00 we ate dinner, on way back to pension got pizza and ice cream. Then sat in train station writing post cards ’till train came at 11:30 pm. We had it all planned out that Frank would run with 2 little bags and get a seat and I would follow with packs. But of course after we pulled it off, we found out that our car didn’t go to Geneva. So we went to other 1st class car & woke people up. Japaneses, old witch looking french/british woman and a real obnoxious old dude who reserved the 2 seats by the window for himself to sleep and snore. Then he would sit up and play his FM walkman to polkas, rock, and classical. After which he would lie down again and snore. Otherwise not a bad 9 hour train ride & got some sleep. We saw how nice Geneva was and kind of regretted not planning to stay there. We realized when we got there that the TGV needs reservations – luckily F was able to exchange money and get there in time.
Took a brief walk around and down to the lake (took 2 pictures) and ate at a Wendy’s. Saw Manpower office. And then through the wisdom of Frank planning boarded the 1st class high speed TGV for Paris. It’s like an airplane flying backwards — everything’s automatic.
For my mother I bought a little crystal swan and a tiny mirror for it to swim on. For my grandmother I think it was a doily of some sort. Everything was bought at the large open-market in the center of town. I was told to make sure I barter! They expect you to barter! No, I didn’t barter.
I think something I didn’t fully appreciate even at the time was that Frank really had all this planned out pretty well. He kept track of the schedule, made sure we got to where we needed to be by when. But even our best plans didn’t always work out — like our master plan to get a good seat on the train to Geneva.
I love that description of the “real obnoxious old dude” on the train — I had forgotten about him. Polkas on an FM Walkman? How 1985! It was an absolutely perfect day in Geneva, and it was such a bright beautiful place. In order to eat (and I guess to make reservations on the TGV), we exchanged money for some Swiss franks, some of which I think I still have. The Wendy’s (probably my idea) was awkward. The girls at the cashier were supposed to give everyone a really dumb little toy — one of those little balls of hair with sticky feet, antennae, and goo-goo eyes. She was trying to ask me which color dopey animal I wanted. The combination of my uneasiness, her cute embarrassment (and what I typically read as contempt) has stuck with me. I chose the blue one, and held on to it for a while… But those pictures of us by the lake would look great on the back cover of our still unreleased record album, don’t you think? I do.