The instant that I opened my front door to go to the market this morning, I could tell immediately from the energy and number of people on the street, the chatter, the welcoming noise, that everyone is returning from le ferie, (their vacations)....All of a sudden Florence is starting once again to BUZZ !
Little by little the stores are starting to re-open. On the way to the market I passed by dozens of people who were greeting each other with big smiles, embracing and welcoming each other back from their vacations. Everyone is soooo tan! The market was filled with chatter about how everyone spent their vacations. Merchants and customers, neighbors and friends. Children filling the piazzas again. Mothers busy at the market once again. The tourist population has diminished. People wearing suits going to work on their bikes and motorcycles. It was one big reunion today.
I spent much of the day walking and riding my city bike around town observing with glee this feeling that my beautiful city is coming alive again. What a welcoming day! It was a good feeling to look into the shops and to see the familiar faces of merchants and shopkeepers who are all smiling and talking today. I'm happy that everyone is back. But it really makes me wonder, how does a country continue to function (or does it?) when the entire population disappears for a full month? There's a decidedly different feel here now. Back to normal. I am so glad that I didn't take the month off, because I really got to see what happens when a country closes down and what it feels like when it opens up again!