by Rich Landesberg
That line by Steve Goodman, sung by Arlo Guthrie, was running through my head as we headed into our last week and last destinations of our study of the European Union. It was our longest day of travel, with a delicious payoff.
The morning started with cab rides to the Vilnius airport at 8:30 AM. We took a very modern prop plane for the almost three-hour flight to Rome. After landing at the Rome airport, and enduring all the chaos travelers know as the trademark of that airport, we took a train to the main rail station in Rome. After a very long walk, without leaving the train station, we boarded our train for Florence. To pass the time, one of our students took out a deck of cards. Remembering my role as a professor, I felt it was important to teach these young folks how to play my favorite card game from when I was an undergraduate. I spent many nights with my college roommate playing 500 Rummy. Our students caught on to the game quickly. Of the three of us playing, I came in second. I credit our student’s win to my excellent teaching! The 90 minute ride went very quickly and was great fun.
Our hotel in Florence has great character. Three generations of the same family run it and each room is unique. This is clearly not a chain and has a charm that is rapidly disappearing from hotels around the world. We quickly put our things in the room and headed out for a one hour walk around this historic city. We certainly worked up an appetite, one that was satisfied at a local pizza place. We are all road-weary but holding up and laughing awfully heard. After dinner, we went to the place I have been dreaming about since my last trip here a few years ago. Grom is possibly the best gelato anywhere. The pistachio will make you swoon (if you are so inclined) or at least make you want to come back for more. We all resolved to hit this wonderful place again before leaving here early next week.
Tomorrow: Florence and the history of Italy…and how it relates to the modern European Union