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Travellers in Tuscany



Shopping for Jewelry with Dave

Shall we go shopping this afternoon, Dave? It will be our only chance to get those earrings for Carol and the ring for Patty. We're going to need a fair bit of time. There are a ton of shops. Dave reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. Carol gave me this diagram he said handing the paper over. He looked at the drawing. I think you should be able to find something like that and if not something just as good. Afterall its more where you are buying the stuff and not necessarily the stuff itself. Im sure Carol will wear whatever you buy just to be able to say they were bought on the Ponte Vecchio.
Dave laughs and says, You dont know Carol. She's pretty particular. Well, I know what I want to get Patty. I want to find something similar to what she bought before, when we were here for our honeymoon. Dave folded the piece of paper and put it back in his pocket.

It was early afternoon by the time they made it to the bridge. It was everything Dave had imagined from the photographs he had been shown, the narrow pedestrian bridge lined on both sides by a succession of jewellry shops and only jewellry shops, each one occupying a narrow slip of space in front with the back of the shop overhanging the river. Some had been there for hundreds of years. Each shop window was filled with the promise of one being able to find just the right thing and if it did not then the next shop might or the next or the next. Does all this stuff get sold Dave asks amazed as they pass one window after another. I dont know Dave. Maybe some of this stuff has been here for years but it sure looks different than the stuff that was here the last time. I havent really seen anything that I'm looking for. Each window received at least a polite look and those that held some promise warranted a full stop and a more careful examination. Shop names were noted where a return visit may be necessary. They stopped at another window with a full display of earrings along one side. Dave carefully looks over the assortment and then points out a pair. Those look pretty good he said pointing to set of sapphire and white gold teardrops.

Ya, they do look pretty close. Lets go in and take a closer look. The design was right, the price was right and so the earrings were purchased and a mission was accomplished. All we need to do now is get the ring and we're done, he said as they stepped out of the shop. The people traffic had increased dramatically in the last few moments. The street was filled with teenage boys and girls, their backpacks and bookbags slung over the shoulder on their way home from school. This was afterall a living city where people had lives to live and that meant going to work or going to school or somewhere else. Not everyone was a tourist. But some were and tourist things needed to be done as well. He spotted something he liked right in the next window, not quite exactly what he had in mind but that was alright because it was a different time. The woman behind the counter was polite but aloof. See what I mean says Dave as they leave with the ring. See what? The saleswoman. She was just like the one where I bought my stuff. You know, kinda stuck up. Do you think so, Dave? I suppose she was a little stiff but I guess when you have a thousand people a day coming through its sort of tough being all palsy walsy with everyone. It's not Walmart. Hey, its almost five thirty and we said we would meet everyone at six by the Duomo. We better get a move on. You happy with the earrings Dave? I think Carol will like them very much. I think so too. Dave stops at the piazza in the middle of the bridge that affords a clear view of the Arno and he looks up and down the bridge watching many of the shops put up their evening shutters. Very neat place, he says as he slips the earrings into his jacket pocket.


Text by Bryen Lebar
Picture by Sandro Santioli

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