Saturday, August 9, 2008

August holidays in Florence

If you are an environmental activist and urge others to switch off electricity and save power, do not read on!

See, I am addicted to air conditioning. My body doesn't function without it and I become a grumpy, mean and complaining wife when it is not on - well, so I've been told but I don't believe it.

Even in the cold European winter we sleep with the airconditioning on all night. Husband has to wear a tracksuit and beanie to bed while I am in my summer pyjama's. And those living in Florence right now know it's DAMN hot and humid here right now. Coming from Karratha where 45 degrees celcius on the thermometer is really not that big a deal, I never thought that Florence summer would be extreme. But the humidity here is honestly stifling and is all that everyone talks about.

So, it was not a happy day on Thursday when the airconditioner started leaking and we could not use it. Both our landlord and I rang around to find someone who could come fix it - IMMEDIATELY, like in an hour's time or as I predicted, 'I'll die of heat exhaustion.' But in August, every Italian person, including those that fix air conditioners is away on ferragosto (the mid August holidays). If you think I'm exaggerating, just take a walk around Florence and see all the doors with the sign chuiso per ferie posted on them. I've come to the conclusion that if you want to become a quick millionaire in Florence, become a tradesman and work in August.

The Italians that are not on vacation already, were all driving on holidays yesterday. We drove from Florence, through Bologna and on to Maranello to visit the Galleria Ferrari. (Ferrari museum). What should have been an hour and a half trip turned into three hours as our maximum speed on the autostrada was about 50kms per hour as traffic was nearly at a complete standstill. Husband complained bitterly as he loathes traffic, while I sat happily with the car air conditioning blasting away at maximum capacity.

Every car on the road was completely full with kids in the back, bikes attached to bike racks and roof racks full of suitcases. Most people in Italy drive small cars compared to Australia and going on holiday is very different to packing a 4WD and still having room for the dog to sit in the back. For some reason, nearly every person was on their mobile phone. I presume it was to tell whoever they were meeting at their holiday vacation that they were going to be about ten hours late due to the traffic.

Everyone who is anyone was on the road yesterday including this man who also takes his birds on holidays. There were two birds flying around in this cage.

When we finally got there, the Ferrari museum was really great and it was fun to watch my husband with a dreamy grin staring at all the cars, even though he is not really a 'car person'. Mind you, his grin was shared by every other man in the museum. The car pictured below was a custom made wedding gift from a husband to his bride which begged the question of why it was in the museum. Perhaps the colour didn't suit her or she just didn't have room for another one of these in the garage.

One the way home, we stopped at our favourite clothes factory outlet, Barberino. Husband bought some new clothes including a pair of jeans that are slightly too long. If he didn't look so damn good in them, I would insist he not buy them as they are slightly too long. And me, being the only Polish woman that does not know how to sew means that I'm going to have to fare l'impossibile (do the impossible) - find a tailor ... in Florence ... in August!!


Leanne in Italy said...

If you cannot find a tailor in Florence then hop on the train to Rome. For some reason no one has deserted the city - we had the telecom man come the other day and then an electrican too. Actually they were MORE efficent at this time of the year!

Good luck with the air con :)

Delina said...

I'm nearly addicted to aircon too ... In fact we have one room (where my computer is) which we spend a lot of time in and it hasn't got aircon, so we're thinking of installing another AC unit, but of course we have to wait until everyone has has their holiday until that can be done.=

erin :: the olive notes said...

I hope you're having a great Ferragosto, even with all the heat. I'd love to be back in Italy, w/ or w/o AC :)

Monika said...

Leanne - we got an aircon man out!! Yay!! I'm cool again and happy :)

Delina - you should DEFINETELY do the air con thing in that room!!

Erin - I wish you were back here too!! xxoo

Sue said...

Glad to hear the the air is back on. I'm like you, I get hot and cranky without cool air around me...or a pool...or something to keep me cool! Loved the pictures...especially the one with the van and the bird random is that!

Welsh Girl said...

All of you should move to Wales - I think there was a frost last night!!!!! Love the blog :)

J.Doe said...

Funny traffic story. Can I say "been there. Done that"?