Buongiorno da Firenza!

I left Nice by train at 9:23am this morning for Firenze (aka Florence).  Checking out of my hotel was a bit of a hassle since I asked for a discount on my bill because no one dealt with the wet floor during the four days I stayed there.  In fact, each time I inquired about whether or not someone had been up to see the room and resolve the issue, the person at the desk pointed their finger in the direction of another one their “colleagues” who had the authority to take care of the problem.  (WTF kind of shit is that?  Someone has to be “authorized” to fix the damn shower?  Huh?!)  The woman at the desk this morning was rumored to be the manager, so I think this is great because I finally can talk to someone “authorized” to resolve the problem. HA!  She said that a discount was up to “the boss”.

“Does the boss exist?” I asked her, “because your so-called colleagues said you were the boss, thus you can discount my bill by one night for giving me the wet dog smelling room.”  She then asked, “why didn’t you ask for a different room?” (Oh hell no she di’int….I now deemed it an appropriate time to try out my Angry Frenchwoman Voice.)  “Madam, do you really think I hadn’t considered that?” I retorted, “I was told by your colleagues that there were no more rooms available, the hotel was sold out.  I am tired of getting passed off from one person to another and no one actually addressed the issue properly.  The man at the desk on Thursday said you would take care of it, then on Friday I asked you directly and you said it would be resolved by the time I got back in the afternoon.  Of course, it was not and the man at the desk Friday afternoon acted like he had no idea what I was talking about when I inquired, yet he was the same man who SAW the room on Thursday!

Then, the man at the desk this weekend chose to give me a lecture about HOW to use the shower.  Madam, I KNOW how to use the shower, and I did not put the water on the floor in the first place, the floor was wet when I checked in – as YOU are perfectly well aware.  The stench from mildew was so bad that I had to leave the window open, and the cold air makes me cough.” For dramatic effect, I start hacking up a fur ball right there on her desk. “These conditions are unacceptable (not sure what I expected, since I was staying in a JAIL!), and I will not pay full price for the room.”  Then, I threw my hands up in the air, placed them on my hips and stood there awaiting her reply.

She huffed, then quickly started pecking away on her computer.  Thirty seconds later, voila! She produced a new bill with a charge for 3 nights instead of 4.  Mission accomplished!  I handed her my credit card to settle the tab.  She tried to start in with a guilt trip at this point about how she will get in trouble with “the boss” because she is not allowed to do such a thing.  I wrote my email down for her and said “when your make-believe boss shows up to work sometime, give him this and tell him I have a few more words of advice about executing skillful customer service for him.  I turned and left for the train station with enough time to buy one more heavenly chocolate croissant, a café crème and a sandwich to bring with me for lunch on the train.  I was also able to jump on a train departing earlier than the one I was originally scheduled for to Ventimiglia.  This would give me more time between connections, since originally I had 16 minutes and the French trains NEVER run on time.  Instead, I now had 40 minutes to get to my next train (which ended up being two platforms away from the arriving train).

Since I had some extra time, I decided to get out of the station, stretch my legs and say hello to Italia!  Immediately, I noticed the shift in culture.  People in Italy are definitely more rushed than they are in France.  So much so that they hop off their scooters well before they are parked or shut off and they don’t give two shits about where they park either.  Cars and scooters are haphazardly strung everywhere in parking spaces, on street corners, some are on the sidewalks (and I mean the cars).  Everyone is walking about in a hurry, hurry fashion, so I hurried to catch my next train to Milano and then to Firenze.

Finally, eight hours and three trains later I arrived in this beautiful and completely filthy city, quickly checked into my hotel, changed clothes, and find a spot to have dinner.  I ended up at Trattoria Nerone which served the most decadent Fettuccine with Black Truffle Cream Sauce (I licked my plate clean, not gonna lie).  They displayed an open kitchen which made it so much fun to watch them prepare the food, slice the meat, etc. it makes me want to own a restaurant!  Founded in 1943, the owner still oversees operations, as he sits at the first table just inside the door to keep an eye on everything (an yell at the chefs in the kitchen if he sees something come  out different than he expects).  As I sat there enjoying the moment of observation of all of the interaction between the owner, the chefs, the servers and the bartender, a mother and her quadriplegic daughter were leaving the restaurant.  The mom wheeled her daughter in front of the kitchen and the daughter, excited as I was to see all of the activity happening, exclaimed, “See!”  The mother replied in a British accent of course, “Yes, I see, I just don’t give a shit.”

I couldn’t help myself, I busted out laughing and the guy at the table in front of mine whirled around to give me the stink eye.  WHAT?!  That shit was funny!