Journal Entry #2
The bride and groom had acquired exclusive usage of the Villa and its rooms totaling about 14 which accommodated all of their guests. The Villa in itself would make a fabulous location for an intimate wedding as the formal gardens are absolutely stunning.
In traditional Pakistani attire, the bride was escorted by her brothers to the rehearsal dinner. She wore a beautiful jade green dress as is traditional for a Mehndi celebration. We love cultures of all kinds. Being able to capture them, is just priceless! With the aroma of food filling the night air, the guests were treated to not the typical Italian spread, but rather, an Indian one. Ryan was a bit disappointed when we had to leave without getting to sample the Indian cuisine. It generally doesn't agree with one of our stomachs.
After the rehearsal dinner, tired and hungry, off we went, to find our hotel room in Florence's city center, called Albergo Firenze. Unless you are a native Fiorentino or Fiorentina, we strongly suggest you not even try to navigate the streets of Florence by yourself in a rental. And definitely don't try it after calling the hotel for directions and hearing the reception desk clerk say, you'll never find it. Luckily for both of us, because at this point (I did mention we were both tired and hungry, right) we had circled the entire city by way of all the one way streets Florence had to offer, Ryan had a brilliant idea. Quick note… never be embarrassed to ask for directions in Italy, but think of yourself brilliant when you ask to follow a taxi driver to the hotel! So after getting into the taxi while Ryan tried to follow behind in the rental, we soon arrived at Albergo Firenze which translates into Hotel Florence. It's a great hotel for the budget conscious traveler. Within walking distance of everything you would want to see in Florence, the hotel has spacious comfortable rooms (I didn't say beds, but comfortable beds are not easily found in Italy) and costs less than $100 per night. For those of you who know us personally, I bet you could guess who that matters most to. We ate and slept comfortably before the next day's wedding day festivities.
We found ourselves very well rested the morning of the wedding. So after a quick espresso and brioche we checked our emails in the lobby (not available in your room), then took an early morning stroll through the streets of Florence. It is actually much easier to navigate the city on foot. Our first stop, the camera store. Quick tip... never send your battery charger with your family to the south while you head to the north. So after finding the only store in Florence with any chance of having a Nikon compatible battery charger, we were disappointed to have learned they didn't have the one we needed in stock. A solution the store clerk seemed to like was our agreement to buy a new battery and have him use the store's charger to charge it. We left without a charger, a battery and 70 euros less in our pockets. While we waited Ryan perused Florence's fine leather, and I looked at everything else. Florence is very well known as the place to buy your leather goods, but when you already have several leather bags of a multitude of colors and sizes, it is highly recommended that you take notice of your wife's glare, if one is given. In this case, one was definitely given and we continued our walk with the rest of our currency still in our pockets.
As we continued our walk we took notice of places to bring the bride and the groom after their first look. They had agreed, albeit last minute, to see each other prior to the wedding. Their decision to do so allowed for us to incorporate additional imagery of them with beautiful Florence as a backdrop. Always a good idea!
So upstairs I went to get ready while Ryan retrieved the battery from the nice clerk who made an easy commission. We decided to keep the rental in the parking garage and take a taxi to the Villa for obvious reasons, but an added one was because taxi's are afforded leniency with regards to parking in the city center which the everyday driver is not. Finding out you are illegally parked could cost you up to 200 euro.
(more to follow)
Ryan & Elena Joseph
Villa le Piazzole www.lepiazzole.com/lepiazzole/home-it.html
Hotel Florence www.hotelfirenze-fi.it/