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Tuesday, December 4th:

The alarm went off at 5:00 a.m.

I was out of bed by 5:30, and proceeded to hit the shower.

God only knows I needed to subject my body to yet another watery deluge.

None of us were surprised to see more rain on the day of our big trip to Florence.

Why should this day be different from any other?

We’d gotten pretty good at this rain game and dressed as appropriately as we could.

After all, we thought we had seen the worst of it during our tours of the forum, Colosseum, Naples and Pompeii. Our skin was as hydrated as it could possibly be, and a little more water certainly wouldn’t hurt us.

You know what they say: “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”

And as we headed out to our waiting cab, little did we know of the thrill ride that lay ahead for us.

We’ll let me tell you, this cab driver was on a mission.

It is my firm belief that he had each and every pothole, crack, and any other road hazard imaginable pegged and knew exactly where they lay. I know this to be true because between our hotel and the Appian bus line terminal he hit each and every one with nothing less than gleeful and sadistic vengeance.

I am not kidding or exaggerating.

It was the nastiest car ride I have ever been on.

We were flying out of our seats with every pothole that he slam dunked.

It seemed that the more we groaned after each time we were slammed against the passenger car doors…

…the faster he drove.

Wait a minute, we weren’t even travelling the main roads, but rather a collection of small curious little side streets.

He was either trying to kill us, inflict serious injury, or fulfill some sick vendetta on us unsuspecting tourists.

To make matters worse, I had suffered a sciatica attack in my lower back the evening before. My eyes rolled in pain each time we were ejected from our seats.

“See if this guy get’s a tip for us…” I thought as my poor back was continually wrenched this way and that.

Later on, imagine my shock when I learned Frank had tipped him five euros.


He always did had a tendency to turn into a softie when I least expected it.