Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Imagine waking up and as you open your eyes, this is what you see high above you on the ceiling...
Yes, cracks and all, this lovely frescoed ceiling was the view from my dorm bed at the convent we stayed at in Florence. The nuns were polite, but tight lipped and stern, rarely answering one in more than a single syllable word...
I wasn't going to mention my embarassing incident from this particular chapter of our trip, but aw, what the heck. The convent was enormous, with cavernous halls off of all of the 4 or 5 floors... a person could get lost in the place. Each room came with a giant keyring made out of a huge brass doorknocker complete with 2 keys on it. (If you dropped it on your toe you would become an cripple). Upon arrival at the convent, one of my companions showed me the bathroom which assumably was the shared facility on our floor - consisting of a rather large room, a nice old porcelain sink on the wall, with three narrow closed and lockable wooden doors bearing the numbers 1, 2 and 3. The middle one was always locked for some reason, but the two on either side were always open. The next morning, when visiting the great tiled room, I noticed the middle room was unlocked. I opened the door, and to my great delight found a shower room winding back into an angled secret opening. There was a towel inside, so I took a shower. I became aware of a loud pounding on the door. After hastily pulling my clothes on, I opened the door to find a woman with short hair, and a wispy white nightgown madly waving a large key about and demanding in a high-pitched British voice to know what I was doing in HER shower?? She showed me the number 2 on her key ring, and pointed sharply at the corresponding number 2 on the door. "I never dreamed there would be rooms which DIDN'T include their own shower" she sputtered at me... arms flailing and face red with indignation. With my unkempt dripping hair making me feel less than dignified, I held out my (her) damp towel and blurted out "But I used your towel"... She insisted I go talk to the Sisters to get her a new towel immediately. I fled in scarlet humiliation down the hall to my room. Grabbing my own unused towel off my bed, I returned and gave her my peace offering, and again made my rapid escape.
During the communal breakfast downstairs, I looked about nervously, hoping to avoid another run-in with the mad night gowned woman with the wild eye. I did see her there, seated at table number 2, with others from her British party eating a terribly refined breakfast, no doubt telling them all the appalling story of the peasant woman who had no bathroom of her own...
After breakfast, one of our travel companions showed me our keyring - with the number 10 emblazoned on it, and told me he had found a secret closet around the corner from our room.. with matching number on it. We went and opened the locked door, and to our amazement, found not only a beautiful tiled room with angled ceilings, but a full huge bathtub, bidet, and bathroom setup, for the personal use of room 10... much bigger and quite a bit more grand than the humble tiny water closet bathroom of the night gowned woman. Sheesh - we were checking out that morning, so it was quite disappointing and anticlimactic. Ah, the bathrooms of Florence... but that's another story.





17 comments:

Doug said...

That was a perfect convent experience, I think.

Shame is always just around the corner, turn away and find purity.

Autumn Storm said...

Aside from mad British women, it sounds divine! :-)

jillie said...

OMG...what a funny story but it's moments like that that make your trip all the more entertaining....lol!

I need to do a post on Ireland one of these days since I already did London.

How's the foot doing??

Top cat said...

What a view.:)

Terry that story is sooo funny, thanks for sharing it.
tc

Keshi said...

I'd love that to be my ceiling :)

Keshi.

weatherchazer said...

How many hell-Mary's did you have to say for that?!

javajazz said...

stupid crabby bitchy woman...
hasnt anyone ever heard of
HUMOUR??????
you should have put some
polyfilla in her bidet.

man, i love your stories!
ps you killed me with your
train story too!
its like tragic comedy or something!
you could do like an Erma Bombeck
take on travelling through Italy...

ONE of your travelling companions???
what, did you end up collecting a bunch
of strangers on the way or something?
i thought you were just going with
your sweetie!!

(you should have gone back into her shower
the next morning....)

bwah haa haaaaaaaaa!!!

Outdoorsy Girl said...

Thanks for sharing your funny story with us! I can SOOO imagine me doing something like that. How were you supposed to know???

If I were the British lady, I would have found it hilarious. Why be so uptight? Funny things like this happen.

javajazz said...

Doug kills me...

the scientist said...

Hello!
I came across your blog the other day and I have been visiting regularly! I wish I could travel as much as you seem to do, but I'm working for it! ;)
And will surely look for that nuns convent if/when I travel to Florence, it seems rather impressive, one surprise around each corner!

tsduff said...

Doug - well said. I do believe it was the best experience... as it was my only one :-) Ah, the hallway never taken... the tub never used...

Autumn - Of course it had nothing to do with her nationality... it just reminded me of Hyacinthe in "Keeping Up Appearances..." :)

Tee hee Jillie - better than two of yours! Yes yes, hurry hurry and post about Irelend!

TC - Glad you found humor in it... I can too... NOW! How's that cold? Remember what I told you about the brandy ;-)

Keshi - me too. I adore frescos, and this one was really simple but pretty. The ceiling was way up high.

Weatherchazer - Hell Marys? Ha ha - I was so upset I didn't do anything but run. I don't do those - LOL!! (nor Hail Mary's either)

JJ - she didn't even HAVE a bidet in her little cubbyhole WC. Erma was one of my heros... I'm so honored that you said that.

Actually, there were 5 of us traveling together for the first 8 days - our buddy from Eureka (78 year old) and his 18 year old grandson, and G's daughter came over from London. Quite a crowd.

Julie - if I was the British lady, I wouldn't have had a cow, that's for sure! I'm surprised more people weren't wandering about...there were 26 rooms in that convent and I know for a fact I wasn't the only un-entitled one to use that lavatory LOL! It WAS funny, I admit.

Lisa - he kills everybody... with great glee and wit. How does he do it?

tsduff said...

The Scientist: How cool to be visited by a real Scientist :-D Are you truly from Europe? Where abouts? I can't afford to travel, but somehow it keeps happening. I don't know how or why, but I do love it. Convent was a great experience - and I do wish I would have explored it more (although as I said, there were so many winding stairways, rooms and corridors that I was afraid of getting lost). There was a lovely ancient walled garden in the back, with a wisteria vine with a trunk the size of a palm tree trunk... I highly recommend staying there.

Tom & Icy said...

That was a great story. The description of the place are very much like in dreams I used to have when I was younger. I'd like to see a place like that.
The pictures were great.

Kyahgirl said...

at least she wasn't shrieking at you in Italian! That was a great story :-)

Oliviah said...

How funny that was and I loved the way you described everything so well, I could picture this place in my imagination. :)

G said...

I think I read this in a depressed state from work and didn't comment. I love this story, very funny and good for you for presiding with the larger bath.

G said...

Doug, that comment was almost as good as the story.