December 17, 1961 – Italy

Hotel Savoy, Florence, Italy – Snowing

     When I woke up this morning I was glad I had turned up the thermostat the night before because we could tell the temperature had dropped even more during the night.  After I got up and looked out the window I was surprised to see that it had snowed.  Edith stayed in bed while I got up, turned the heat up a little more and called for room service to have our breakfast sent up.  While I waited for the room to warm up some more I crawled back under the covers for a few more minutes. 

     When we heard someone knock on the door Edith got up to let the waiter in with our food and then we started to get ready for our day.  We had to be ready to leave when our driver came to pick us up to go to the train station at 9am.  I wasn’t quite ready to leave when our driver knocked on the door but I finished getting ready quick enough so he didn’t have to make more than one trip downstairs.  Our driver today was a young man named Peter and he seemed nice enough but once again he wasn’t very communicative.

     As we stepped outside to get into the car we were struck with how much snow had fallen.  We had to be careful walking to the car so we didn’t slip and fall.  Edith especially needed to be careful since she was still slightly handicapped from the problem she had with walking.  We didn’t have time to get some change before we left and it created a problem later when it came time to get our tickets for the train.  When we reached the train station Peter didn’t give us any directions on where to go and what to do.  He just dropped off our bags, waved off vaguely in one direction where we saw people moving and then he left us.  We had to find someone who could speak English and willing to help us but we had to ask two or three people before we found a couple who happened to be traveling to Pisa and were taking the same train as us.  We felt fortunate to have found Jim and Darlene Harry from Florida who had traveled in Italy before and knew the ropes.  Jim helped us to get our tickets find the right train.  As they left us, Jim gave us some guidance as to what to look for later when we had to change trains at Pisa.

     Edith and I found our compartment and made ourselves comfortable.  Before the train took off we were disappointed when four men came in and were talking so loud that it didn’t take long before I got a headache.  I tried to tune them out but it was hard.  Edith and I both had window seats and sat across from each other.  Even though we didn’t enjoy having the men with us in our room we did enjoy the scenery. 

     Once we were in Pisa I was disappointed we didn’t have time to look around.  I knew we only had a short time we had to find our train before it left the station.  As it turned out we didn’t have much trouble after what Jim had told us about changing trains.  This time when we entered our compartment instead of it being empty there was an elderly Chinese gentleman present.  Edith and I introduced ourselves and then spent quite awhile talking with him.  In talking to Mr. Lee we found he liked to play cards so the three of us passed the remainder of our time traveling to Nice playing Gin.  As we traveled we saw many interesting things like the famous marble quarries in Carrara and the coastline of the Italian and French Riviera which was quite beautiful.

     Once we arrived in Nice it took a little time to get our luggage and find a taxi to take us where we had to go.  Our hotel in Nice was the Plaza Hotel and at check in the clerk made sure to tell us that it was a four star hotel.  We found our room and were ecstatic that we had a great view of the Mediterranean and a garden below. 

View of Nice France from Window

     After we finished settling into our room we found it was already 8pm so we went down to the dining room for dinner.  I was pleased when the food turned out to be very elegant.  I was glad that they had the menu in both English and French which was good since I didn’t understand their language.  The beef dish I ordered turned out to have the most delectable sauce had ever had.

     Edith and I finally finished dinner and returned to our room after 10pm so we wound up doing little else but relax a bit before going to sleep.


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