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Steve Mattos & Lisa Vaccaro

 

Single Leaf 2
Single Leaf 1

Lisa and I traveled from Reno, NV to Italy for a three week tour of the northern part of the country. The pictures I included were taken in our room in Florence and in Pisa, at the Torre Di Pisa.

We jumped on the train in Florence and having been in the country a whole week at that point, were feeling pretty confident in our ability to navigate the Italian train system and to understand and speak enough Italian to get us by. At the first stop on the way to Pisa, I thought I had heard the conductor announce there would be a fifteen minute stop. I decided to jump off the train and grab an espresso on the platform. As I stepped off the train, the door snapped shut behind me, an alarm went off, and as Lisa and I stared at each other in surprise, I watched her and the train slide away toward Pisa. Fortunately, for me, I had remembered my cell phone. Unfortunately, I had left it on the train with Lisa.

All of the Italians we met on our trip were wonderful, friendly people and the ones at the train station were no exception. Someone loaned me a cellphone, I called Lisa and told her not to worry and to meet me on the platform at the next station. I jumped on the next train and headed to Stazione Montelupo. I jumped off the train, eager to see Lisa, who jumped on the train and sped off again. Not seeing her and now in a complete panic, I again was able to find someone kind enough to let me use their phone and again got hold of her. This time, we decided just to meet in Pisa. I jumped on the next train, which I immediately discovered was a local and made every stop on its way to the end of the line in San Romano, which is somewhere between Florence and Pisa, but is still inexplicably located in Russia in the 1980's. Thankfully, there was one final train heading to Pisa, departing in an hour, which I spent standing on the train platform doing my best to look tough while distinctly non-Italian construction workers argued and laughed about something obscenely biological. I spent the hour thinking if this station was tough, Lisa must be dealing with some pretty scary times in Pisa (she was chilling by the McDonald's in the station, which was actually quite nice).

I finally jumped on my train and paced up and down the aisles until we arrived in Pisa, where I ran out onto the platform ready to tear Italy apart to get back to Lisa. She was there, shouting my name across three sets of tracks and I ran to meet her.

We had just enough time to walk to the Leaning Tower with about 15 minutes of sunlight and got to watch as the sunset turned the tower a brilliant coral pink and toasted each other, our reunion, and our crazy day with our bottle of Single Leaf. We capped the bottle and saved a little for the train ride back to Florence (which was more relaxing this time), had a delicious meal of pizza and amber grappa somewhere in the less crowded side-streets of Pisa, and I promised never to leave her for an espresso ever again.

Thanks for being part of the memory. As the Italians say, Cin-Cin! ("cheen cheen")

 

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