Pre-Firenze Shopping Frenzy

My time on the Italian Rivera was up and the last leg of my travels in Italy was beginning.

I uncharacteristically slept late, probably recovering from the physical and sensory assault which was the Cinque Terre (with 3rd degree sunburn). Took a stinging shower, dressed for departure, packed my bags once I emerged from my room I was greeted to the Siberian pouring a cup of coffee and cutting several pastries. She must have shopped as there was no time the night before to shop for supplies.

“I explore, there is a market close by. Finish breakfast and I will show you. Bishley.”

“Sounds like a plan.” We had several hours before the pre-arranged  taxi was arriving to take us to Carrara Avenza, train change at Pisa, then straight to Florence.

But first we explored the Carrara market, sadly I didn’t take any photos as I was too engrossed by clusters of stalls stretching down the streets with many different wares, clothing, food and trinkets. I started thinking I should buy a few things for people back home as presents, I had foregone trinkets until now. Ahead there was a maze of hanging belts, I did a quick currency calculation in my head, Goddamned Euros. For the most part I had just started doubling everything then being pleasantly surprised when it always came to cheaper than expected.  I had indeed found a bargain.


Carrara Avenza


“You like these belts? snake-skin, you a tough guy? You look even tougher with snake-skin belt!” The Belt-seller said assuredly.

“Ahh yeah, I think I will have a hard time bringing these back home to my country.”

“Where are you from my friend?”

“New Zealand.”

“You are the tough guy! All Blacks, best rugby team!” The belt seller beamed.

“I can’t argue there.” From a nation of sportspeople, I think I’m a dud.  I couldn’t care less about it, but I am forever grateful for its international renown.

“Okay special price for you belts normally 20 Euro you buy 2 that’s 15 each.”

“That works, I’ll pick out a couple.”

“What about for 3? You make special price for 3?” The Siberian interjected, a bright peach belt in her hand.

“For a lovely lady and a tough guy, I cannot refuse. 10 Euro each for 3.”



The Siberian and I turned away to confer, grinned for a second, winked, reapplied our poker faces and turned back to the Belt-seller.

“Deal.” We shook on it.

Once we were out of earshot we giggled like children at our loot while the Belt-seller probably did the same.

Encouraged by our shrewd bargaining skills we worked our way down the stalls.

“We should go before we buy entire market, miss our taxi, miss our train, poor people walk to Florence.”

We both looked at each other, fell into fits of laughter and pounced on the next stall.


Carrara Train platform


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