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Sometimes when you are a person who has been lucky enough to be well-traveled -- an added joy hitches a ride on your dream vacation is just the travel itself. That was certainly true in exploring in the "cradle of the Renaissance" aka Florence, Italy. We were traveling with an entourage that included the fresh eyes of a ten-year-old and her twenty-five year old aunt - who had previously only traveled in her nearby other native Asian destinations, as she is from Hong Kong, China.
Now, both the ten-year-old and her auntie were already well-traveled in their own rights. The younger, had already ticked off Spain, Hawaii, and many other places on her newly formed "must see places" list. And while her aunt had seen many Asian dream travel destinations - including Thailand, Macau, Lantau, mainland China, and Vietnam - this was her first experience in a non-Asian setting.
So it could be said they both understood at some level how travel changes your perspectives. Travel teaches you many life skills. This trip was no exception to that rule. Both gleeful travelers learned a valuable skill -- "adaptability."
They had to adapt to first hearing a language that was not familar to them. This was especially hard for the aunt who was plumb wore out from constantly translating from her native Cantonese to English - that she normally did not have to speak daily, even though she is tri-lingual. Adding the Italian language was even more confusing and stressing.
Further adaptation was needed at meal times. Certain favorite comfort foods of both, simply didn't exist in this environment. No fish ball soup? No prefered brand of soda? No ice? Gas in your water? Whaaaat? Clearly, bubbling carbonated water was not the "taste of Italy" either of expected.
Other skills were also honed and tested --as they also had to adapt to new communication skills and time management.
Adapting was certainly the very first lesson as upon our arrival as it was discovered the hotel we had booked had us arriving the following week so no rooms! Lots of confusion there. and The travel snafu blame game swirled in the air with a family of seven total in tow all pointing the finger of shame.
Communication skills were in full tilt teaching mode, as both girls are intrepid gleeful shoppers. They had to figure out prices of purchases and make their needs known while shopping till they dropped reigned supreme. The time spent doing so and making selections did give daddy and grandpa lots of nap time on nearby benches.
Time management was introduced into the final Italian travel lesson plan in this great city. We scurried to make the train, almost missing it - in our day trip from Florence, to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
In Florence, we saw it all. The Florence Duomo seen from Michelangelo Hill at night was spectacular. San Lorenzo's Medici Chapel's art was magnificent.
The bridge Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) was a major shoppers delight and entertainment source of fun. Standing on it with the River Arno was the perfect photo op.
As one author, Jennifer Coburn once said, "Visiting FLorence was like attending a surprise party every day." We certainly found that to be true -- but would add that seeing Florence through the fresh eyes of the young and the young at heart -- gave us all extra special insights into why travel is vital to the soul while teaching us life skills that only travel knows how to teach best/
Sunset on the Old Bridge - Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Check out this great video of the many sites (including Florence, Italy), that we saw on this trip!