Sorry I have not blogged since Paris. Besides being in a perpetual state of mourning after leaving the best city on earth, the Internet service in Italy has been anything but functional.
We spent the past two days in Florence. Tuesday, our first day, was a blur as we were all going on about 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Our guide, Freddy, took us to the Pitti Palace to explore. After about an hour of walking in there, Bill and I were so exhausted we decided to sit at the café inside and have a cool drink. I tell you no lie when I say that we both fell asleep at the table! As embarrassed as I was, it didn’t stop me from moving to a nearby bench to continue my nap. We were all dragging on our way to dinner and I think the locals thought a gaggle of zombies had hit town. So, it was agreed that early bed was a must.
Wednesday was better for most. Students were treated to the Ufizzi Museum, a hike up a huge mountain that overlooked the city (a spectacular view!), St Croce where they saw the graves of people like Machiavelli and Michelangelo, and a beautiful organ concert of Baroque music at night. It was magical…or so I was told.
|Ponte Vecchio - Florence|
I had my own little cultural experience with the Italian health care system. Wednesday morning I woke up with a swollen, red, and painful left foot. As lunchtime approached and I had added a fever to the list, it was clear that the blister on my foot had become infected and I needed antibiotics. This really is no big deal, except I don’t speak a lick of Italian. Not speaking the language as a tourist is fine for walking through town as grunting and pointing at the sandwich or t-shirt you want will suffice. If they give you the wrong thing, oh well. No harm, no foul. Not so much when you have the need to communicate not only that you are in need of antibiotics, but that you are allergic to several! After a nearly 4 hour wait (sounds just like the US!) the doctor (who thankfully spoke a little English) had the nurse clean it, but antibiotic gel and a sterile dressing on it and gave me a “recipe” (prescription) for antibiotics (and thankfully, the names of drugs must be universal because he knew exactly what I was talking about!) Then he told me, “You no walk on it here for few days.” To which I replied, “But I’m going to Rome tomorrow!” He then looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “Then you no walk on it in Roma.” Duh.
Now here is the best part – the bill. Yes, you read that correctly, the bill. It was a total of €22,45 (18,60 for the visit, 3,85 for the gel medicine). Then I went to the pharmacy where I paid €13,94 for antibiotics. For those of us that are not mathematically gifted, that is a total of €36,39 or approximately $55. That is less than my co-pay for an ER visit in the US!! And if I was an EU citizen, it would have been my favorite price: FREE! Holy smokes! And for the record -this was no backwoods hospital – it was just as modern as a Geisinger or Evan. My prescription is made by GlaxoSmithKline, so it’s not voodoo juice or anything like that. This combined with the fact that college tuition is free here has Bill nearly convinced that we should move to France…
So, I am okay…and the kids are awesome. They made me a nice get-well note, which really touched me. Since a few of them have found out I dislike being called Jenny, they have not stopped calling me Jenny - but they say it like Forrest Gump. So, Connor and Jesse's message to me read "I love you Jen-nay." Cracked me up - laughter is the best medicine! (I'm sure the Bell family will not be surprised that Connor is the ringleader in this little game, but now everyone calls him Jen-nay, too!) LOL
We arrived safely in Rome this afternoon. I am sitting with my foot propped up in the hotel room while the rest are checking out Rome. Tomorrow is a busy day, and they are trying to convince me to do the Vatican in a wheelchair. I will probably consider it – as long as Bill doesn’t drive!