Climbing to the top of the Piazza Michelangelo to sit out on the patio of a 4 star restaurant and enjoy a last glass of Italian wine while overlooking all of Florence may sound like the perfect way to end a stay in my favorite Italian stop, but one should always remember to take the weather into account when planning such an outing. Because, you see, while the hike up isn't so bad on a cooler than average June evening, and the view is indeed breathtaking, the slide back down the hill in a torrential downpour is less than heart-warming.

18-year-olds really have no judgement when it comes to weather, so I probably should have just nixed the whole idea of staying for their "one last glass of wine", but they were kinda cute, wanting to be all grown-up-like, so I went with them and watched as they tried to find a bottle of chianti they could afford. This process would have been much easier if the waiter spoke more English, and if some of the girls hadn't already spent quite a bit in the market that afternoon, and if any of them knew much at all about wine. As it was, I was actually enjoyong the show they were unknowingly putting on for the entire bar staff...until the rain started.

At first it was just a little shower, and that only lasted about 10 minutes. But then 15 minutes after that, the real rain came.

Have you ever tried to walk down a gravel hill in leather flip flops in the rain? For the uninitiated, let me just tell you that the water on the inside of the sole of your shoe makes your foot slide foward in your sandal...only to by stopped by the leather piece that laces between your toes..and digs into your skin as you slide downhill. It is not at all a pleasant experience. It is even less pleasant when you a) do not have an umbrella, b) do not have a true raincoat, and c) are having to keep up with 8 somewhat ADD teenagers on what is for most, their first trip away from home without their parents.

The whole experience proved 3 things to me:

1) I should always have an umbrella in my bag when on vacation.
2) There is a reason Americans where their tennis shoes everywhere.
3) I am getting old.

Still, the whole experience was amusing (if more than a little damp), and I know it will be one of the more memorable stories we will all tell about the trip.

And it did give me the bribery material I needed to con two of the guys into switching rooms with me at the hotel I spent the end of my evening soaking in the giant pink bathtub :)