I have travelled many times, but only one other time with my husband, and that was prior to us being married with a group of friends. So, in December of 2019 when the world was a little less crazy we decided we would join Go Global for their Christmas Markets trip. We planned to join them for the final few days of the German trip and stay through their Italy tour (about 10 days). We were very excited, eager to meet new people, reconnect with others and see many wonderful places. Additionally, this would be for both of us our first trip internationally which was solely for pleasure/vacation purposes.
On the last leg of the journey we were in Florence, Italy. As is normal on Go Global’s signature tours when we arrived we took a short break and then went for dinner and an evening walk to help us get acquainted with this beautiful town. Different shopping and eating areas were pointed out as well as a few routes we could use in order to come and go from our hotel. On the next day we would have a free day and be able to go back and explore all of the places we had seen that evening. This was new for both my husband and I as again this was our first international vacation. I was somewhat anxious but knew we could reach out to the guide if we needed assistance. My husband felt confident he could help me find all of the shopping venues I wanted. Read on to have a few laughs.
This is the area of Florence we were in.
You can see where our hotel was and where I was hoping to get to on our free day.
This is what it looks like when you have a guide, who meanders the cobblestone streets with you and helps you leave and return to the hotel.
You can see in the top upper left Hotel Lombardi where we were staying. Eventually we made our way to the Basilica of Santa Croce.
When we arrived Darek informed us there were many places to eat here, including a vendor who sold polish sausage. When in Italy – eat Polish sausage. Okay, maybe not, but I had polish sausage before on a different trip and wanted to have it again. So we determined on our free day we would come shop on the Piazza di Santa Croce.
This is without a travel guide. Suffice to say, things did not go quite as planned the next day.
To top things off, we had not packed an umbrella and it began to rain midday. We got out our phones and called Darek and he provided us directions so we could find the piazza. Eventually, we did.
We attempted to explain to Darek we had been all over Florence but had somehow still missed the Piazza, and we were not sure where we were going wrong. He was gracious and assured us he would help and he laughed as I emphasized “all over Florence.”
Well, soaking wet, we ate polish sausage and thankfully found our way back to the hotel with no dilemmas after we had finally found the Piazza. We did not end up shopping at this point due to the rain, only to eat warm food. Remember, it was December and it was raining.
Later that night, after we had dried our clothes and laughed off our independence, we realized we had a very good story to tell. We joined the group downstairs and headed to dinner, thankful to have someone leading the way again. We were seated all together and began to order our food and drinks. As we awaited true Italian dishes to curb our appetite we began to share stories of our days. Some had gone on a wine country tour, and others had done some shopping. Then there was us. I again recounted how we had been all over Florence and only after calling Darek twice had we finally found the Piazza and been able to try the Polish sausage. The group laughed and chuckled, but still were in disbelief of our long journey. So I pulled up google maps, which had failed to help us earlier in the day, but kept track of our journey to shame us later. I passed my phone around the table, and that night we were honored to provide laughter to the whole group and share what we had learned.
Take-aways we’ll share with you too:
- Take an umbrella, even when you think you won’t need it. Otherwise you will pay way more than you want to.
- When buying clothes for your vacation, carefully study the description of your clothes. Water repellant is not the same as water proof – we learned this the hard way.
- You won’t regret buying water proof shoes, because even when you are bone-soaked your feet and socks will be dry. This one comfort might save your day.
- Pack snacks, and go for sausage later. In other words, do not get so set on an outcome that you can’t alter your plans when mother nature alters hers.
- Churches are great places to get out of the rain, especially in countries where they expect people coming in and out constantly due to tourism. They do not expect anything in return and if you are quiet and respectful you will most likely be left alone.
- Restaurants are not great places to take shelter, unless you want to buy a full meal.
- Laugh. Laugh it all off, including the rain you are drenched in. Clothes dry, but memories, those are worth all the soaked clothes in the world.
In case you’re wondering what was so special about this Piazza that I had to get back there, especially when one of my very least favorite things is wet clothes – well – let me show you what it looked like the evening before.
Quaint, stunning, and magical. Far from Kansas. So that’s the story of the polish sausage in Italy. Well, that’s better than the story of Two Kansans lost in Florence.