I am stuck on Florence. Drunk on her. So rather than waste more time, here's a snap shot of last week's activities that I didn't write about yet. So here goes....while I have the opportunity. No theme for this blog entry. I am overflowing with things to record......for myself....and for whomever wants to read them. Some of the magical moments of the past 10 or so days: Strolling the narrow streets that are all dressed up and sparkling with lights, smelling the olive wood burning from the pizza oven across the street, everyone smiling big smiles, scarves, mittens, vapor rising from my breath, ears freezing, buying a cutie Christmas tree and ornaments....and a presepi nativity scene with a hundred little figurines!! Deciding which panettone to buy, and finally......buying a espresso machine! Settling in......nesting.....buying new curtains, a new sofa, a new comforter.....now hunting for a flat-screen TV. The merchants and shoppers look happier than last year! The city is alive and brilliant and spilling with emotion and passion. I am finally settling down after 2 years of slow adaptation....I am redecorating my way and signed a long term contract for my apartment. The Christmas fair at Santa Croce was delightful this year....For the first time I went to Teatro Verdi, a 19th century theater 2 blocks from my house to see a rockin' Gospel Concert. I discovered the best finnochiona in Florence in Falciani. Every day the sweet sound of church bells competes with motorini, amblulences in a bizarre but unique harmony. I discovered a very special Thursday night Mass at Badia Fiorentina. I saw performances of Tosca and La Forza del Destino at Teatro Comunale....and often visit the church where Dante met Beatrice...NEVER having my camera at the right time! Speaking better Italian all the time! Had a pizza reunion with my bike team a few days ago...making friends with Michele from Minneapolis.....spending last Saturday taking Rob Valinoti, (a good friend from New York) on a whirlwind tour of Florence....climbing the bell tower in the rain, a terrific lunch at Il Giova....enjoying my other favorite lunch spots…Rocco’s at Mercato Sant'Ambrogio, Antico Vinaio, Antico Noe....rediscovering carne bollito after 50 years! Ponies on the street, horse drawn carriages near my house, and to top it off....my bike team came in 3rd place this year.....and won a couple of trophies....and a prosciutto. Damn!