Continued from yesterday-
When we had arrived in Viareggio, Grams practically leapt from the train. She ran off with the guidebook in hand determined to find out where ‘Guido’ beach resort was located. She wanted to take of picture of me under the ‘Guido’ sign, since my given name is Guido.
Big Guy and I ran after her, though it’s hard to keep up with her when she has a ‘flea in her ear.’ She may be old, visually challenged, and have arthritis; but that woman can move when she wants to. When we reached the front of the station, Grams was in deep conversation with the taxi cab drivers. Since her grasp of Italian is limited, the hands were flying. Grams tends to talk with her hands when she’s at a loss for words.
As I waddled up, Grams took my hand and made the taxi drivers understand that my name is Guido and she wanted to take me to ‘Guido.’ I suppose they thought we were a little crazy: it was, after all, the day after Christmas Day. The beach cabanas were all boarded shut for the winter. Why would we want to go the shore? Grams shrugged her shoulders and did her best, “Silly tourists” smile.
More cab drivers came up and, finally, a driver said that he knew where ‘Guido’ was located. He told the first driver. We hopped in the cab and off we went on Mr. Toad’s wild ride. We went around to the north end of the esplanade and there is was! ‘Mille Gracie’ all around and a big tip from me.
In Europe, Christmas is celebrated later than in the U.S. This was not the typical day after Christmas that we were used to, but it was St. Stephen’s Day. There were disembodied voices speaking in rapid-fire Italian. We finally realized that these were coming from loudspeakers on tall poles. Suddenly, the voices stopped and there was music: it was Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas” – in English! When that was done, the rapid-fire Italian came back on again. Then Bing started up again, and so on. Well, you get the picture.
Big Guy took the picture and then we noticed the people. A woman bicycled by us. She was wearing a mink coat. But she wasn’t the only one; the place looked like a furrier’s showroom. Parents were strolling with their children. Everyone was dressed up. The Christmas decorations had just gone up. It was very festive and ol’ der Bingle was singing Irving Berlin. Surreal doesn’t begin to describe it. Grams starting laughing, “Fellini didn’t make it up, he was just observing. I feel as if I’m in ‘8 1/2' for goodness sake!”
We walked down the esplanade just enjoying the scene. Finally we sat down and people started to come up to us (you’d think they had never seen an urbane gorilla before).
After a while, we decided to walk back up the street where we were standing because it looked as if it would get us back to the station. As we walked up the street we found a little trattoria and had a wonderful lunch. The best part was that the street did lead straight to the station. We got there just in time to catch our train back to Firenze. We clambered aboard and sunk into our seats. The end of a perfect day.
The picture? Grams and I walking down the esplanade.
A la prochaine. Moochas smoochas,
Please give what you can to Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
*I’m dreaming of a white Christmas