A few weeks ago, we traveled across the ginormous blue pond to Europe. We love the history, art, churches, architecture … and then there is the interesting food. If you ask the hubster, it is about the dessert options, but you didn’t hear that from me.

This year we headed to Florence, Venice and Siena, three interesting and lovely cities with lots of culture and sights to see. Yet, when we returned and our kids asked us about our trip, we sighed. Maybe it was the return trip that still had us so frazzled. Two screaming children were sitting in the row in front of us with their clueless parents. I can attest that you too can access airline earplugs and watch six entire inflight movies during a nine-hour scream fest flight!

Our first stop was Florence. There were so many interesting sights to see: a beautiful Duomo, amazing art museums, Dante’s house, the ancient bridge Ponte Vecchio and, of course, the gelato. Rick’s personal favorite sight was the pistachio gelato.

Then there was the dude that stole my iPad our first day in Florence. Rick and I were headed down the street toward the Duomo in single file. The street had a narrow sidewalk and lots of traffic whizzing by. I was walking in front and Rick behind. After a few minutes, he felt his backpack rise up on his back and he turned around.

“Hey, did you take something out of my backpack?” Rick yelled.

The tall dude with thick bushy hair pulled back with a headband just raised both hands and ran off. It wasn’t until returning to our hotel that night that we noticed it was my iPad he had lifted with his super sticky fingers. This meant no Word Brain before we turned out the lights at night and all the books I had downloaded were missing in action. FYI, did you know you can wipe your iPad clean remotely?

One of the brightest spots on our trip was a visit from our good friend, Brett, the very next day. He just happened to be in Dubrovnik and driving to France. He suggested we meet up for lunch. Who does that? Oh, just swing by Florence on your way to France. We both received the bear hug of a lifetime when Brett busted through the hotel entrance. Lunch was magical and how could it not be? The two of us breaking bread with one of the nicest, most genuine guys on the planet really was magical. Contrast Brett with that bushy-headed dude who was in possession of my girly iPad.

There was another encounter, this time in Venice, the city of romance, water and bridges. I had parallel parked Rick on some steps in St. Mark’s Square opposite the cathedral. We had just finished a long tour of the Doge’s Palace and I could tell the hubster required gelato therapy.

“You just sit right there. I will be right back,” I said.

About 10 minutes later I returned with a slightly melting scoop of pistachio. Rick was now standing instead of sitting.

“Some lady in a volunteer T-shirt came by and told us we couldn’t sit on the steps,” said an annoyed Rick.

We walked off toward a random side street and in between shovels of gelato plotted our next adventure. While strolling, I casually asked Rick if he had his cell phone. We were constantly asking each other questions like that. After the iPad debacle, we were a little paranoid.

“I musta left it on the steps when the lady asked everyone to move,” he gulped.

I don’t think Rick ever saw me move so fast. I sprinted back to the steps in St. Mark’s Square leaving him in the dust. The cell phone was nowhere to be found. I noticed a couple of folks with “volunteer” written on their T-shirts and approached. The young lady spoke little English. But the young man did and was holding Rick’s cell phone, hoping someone would come back to find it.

Rick and I lingered almost an hour chatting with our new friend from Senegal and we exchanged emails. He spoke several languages and worked in Venice for five months of the year making money for his family before he returned home.

Our trip to Italy was an interesting trip. Partly a tale of three dudes, two excellent ones and one who, if he doesn’t mend his ways, is destined one day to hang out for eternity in one of Dante’s special Inferno levels.

Dixie Frantz
Author: Dixie FrantzWebsite: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I am a long-time Houstonian in love with writing, blogging, travel, quilting and reading. I have written “You Gotta Laugh,” a humorous newspaper column, for the past 21 years. The columns showcase the funny, amusing and sometimes touching slices of life from the suburbs. My writing credentials include more than 430 humorous columns, features and travel stories for hoabinhre Newspaper.