Friday, November 19, 2010

Day 8: A Night at Volume

I spent yesterday afternoon sorting out my Couch Surfing account and getting started with another website, HelpX. The more I learn about both sites the more excited I get. I joined a Florentine hiking group on CS and there's a history tour I'll be attending tomorrow. I also met a 30 something graphic designer who's been traveling for a while! After the experience that I had last night, I can't wait to meet more people.

Come on! Let's go in!

My first night here we went to a local bar, Volume. Every Thursday is a jam session, lead by two gents on guitar. Anyone can join in, whether they play an instrument or sing. Abby has been wowing crowds for weeks.

Being broke means you can't afford drinks.

But the music is free!

The dude on the right is named Roberto... dreamy.

Last night she got up on stage and belted out a few songs. By her third song she found her groove. This is an original, called "Take Me the Same."

After her set, we were chatting outside when one of Abby's Italian friends came and sat with us. His name is Hamid and thankfully, he spoke reasonable English. Actually, he used to speak seven languages. He was so friendly. I had a blast talking to him, verbal stumbling and all, acting out what I was trying to say.

Hamid makes the best gelato in Florence.

Hamid was born in Iran. When he was 24 he traveled for three years and ultimately decided that he wanted to live in Florence. He said that he liked how a multitude of cultures blended together here and found it similar to his home country, Iran. I asked him what Iran was like, he lit up.

Meeting people is exciting!

"Bella!" he said, and projected a visual of a beautiful mountain town. Iran is the approximate center of the eastern hemisphere (is that correct?). Despite its small size, there's a temperature differential of 75 grade from one end of the country to the other. He had me ready to jump on a plane. However, I think I need to see a few more European countries before I go to Iran!

He was really into showing me photos on his phone.

Free climbing is his passion. I've heard of free climbing before but never considered how insane it truly is. He told me that he would climb 4,000 meters high without any sort of rope or safety gear. Can you imagine that? He couldn't help but laugh when he described the feeling of getting to the top of a mountain and being the only person up there. Unbelievable. "When you are climbing you have to just be," reminded me of my meditations but, the parallel was so weak it was like comparing my metal work to the Duomo. He said that free climbing makes you fearless. Man… AWESOME!

I went to bed at 5 (I woke up at 15:00 today).

While I don't think I'm going to become a free climber any time soon, connecting with the locals was priceless and I can't wait to do it again. Hamid also owns a gellattaria – the best in Florence– so he says. I assure you that I'll be paying him a visit (and posting a link when I remember where it is!)

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