by Melinda Gallo

From Milan to Florence

Massimo drove our mutual French friends, Dave, and me to Florence from Milan. We were going to go back by train, but Massimo suggested that we all go together. Massimo had a minor language problem and I was supposed to bridge the gap. Massimo speaks Italian and a little English and an even smaller amount of French. Our French friends speak French and English. So, I was asked to translate between the French and Italian when necessary.

It's quite difficult for me to translate between languages because I generally don't translate when I speak either language. During our conference on Thursday, there were two Italian/French interpreti (interpreters) who were doing simultaneous translations. While one of the guests was speaking French, I could listen to Italian on the cuffia (headphones).

I tried to copy them and listen to the French while it was being spoken and translate it into either Italian or English and I got lost after a few words. While I was whispering the translation to myself, I couldn't remember what the person was saying. I really don't know how these interpreti do it, but it is very impressive.

After lunch, Massimo took all four of us in his Porsche Cayenne to Florence. The drive was much quicker than I expected, but maybe it was due to Massimo's driving more than to how long I remember it being. When we arrived in Florence, Massimo dropped us off on the viale (large avenue) so they could find their hotel.

We walked over to Piazza Pitti to meet up with them again. Massimo couldn't find a parking spot without putting his car on the sidewalk, so he had to drive along the Arno, even in sections where he wasn't supposed to be driving, to get one.

We ate at Quattro Leoni. We had called to make a reservation at 8:30PM, but the guy told Massimo that he only had openings at 9:30PM. When Massimo asked again, he said that he did have tables at 7:30PM and that we had to arrive before 8PM. Massimo couldn't understand why the guy didn't say that initially. But, the guy did explain that they have two turni (shifts). "Come sono strani qui a Firenze. A Milano non funziona mica cosė." (They're strange here in Florence. In Milan, it's not like that.)

We enjoyed our dinner and walked to Gelateria de' Neri. I took them over the Ponte Vecchio and through the courtyard at the Uffizzi. There were people everywhere and the weather was a little cool, but nice.

We walked them back to Massimo's car along the Lungarno. We have plans to meet at the same spot tomorrow so I can fare da cicerone (be the tour guide).

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