I woke up around 8:35 to the sound of my phone ringing. It was Marco from Brooks checking if I was ready to run. I guess I'm always just about ready to run, so we decided to meet a little after nine in a piazza near the house. By the time I had really woken up and got dressed I was just about late, so I said goodbye to the family and set out the door with Filippo and Tristan (who set out ahead of me towards Livorno). After a few minutes in the piazza and a couple calls and mixed up meeting locations, a Brooks van pulled into the piazza and I finally met Marco and his wife. Marco had all sorts of running stuff in the van that he offered me, but showing him my baggage, he quickly realized that I couldn't really add much to what I had. Around 9:30 Marco and I set out towards Livorno and took the run easy...spending some time talking about past races, experiences etc. Marco has finished three Ironmans, which is pretty badass. Along the run we passed by a US Military base, and I was technically 2 feet away from American soil (all the gates were closed though). I also got my first view of the ocean since Holland. It was big and flat but I couldn't see New York.
When we got into Livorno we got something to drink together and met up with Tristan. Marco's wife picked him up and Tristan and I headed into town together. I called up Paolo, who we had met with Angela in Empoli. He didn't pick up the phone so we headed out to get some lunch and spend some time swimming in the ocean. We briefly contemplated swimming out to an island offshore, but after talking to a local that told us that it was terribly dangerous and there was nothing interesting there, we decided against it (the dangerous part obviously wasn't what deterred us).
In the late afternoon we headed back into the center of town and started wandering around the Venetian festival that was going on, walking along the canals and looking at little stands with things that we couldn't buy. Tristan wasn't willing to add a two foot stone model of the David to his backpack.
Paolo sent us a text message telling us that he was at work, and that he would meet us at 11 in the Venetian quarter in a place called "Il Refugio." Eventually we found it, and had some beers before meeting Paolo (and Angela) and his friends around midnight. The streets were packed, and we spent the night having drinks and meeting some hilarious people. On one occasion someone introduced me to his sister by saying "This is my sorell." When I don't know an Italian word, just throw on an extra vowel at the end of an English word and hope for the best. This was the first time that I heard an Italian doing the same thing but in reverse ("sorella" being the word for "sister").
Around 1 am we headed to a huge dance party inside of the castle on the water. The place was huge and packed full of people. There was music playing and huge projectors were playing trippy videos on the walls of the castle. It was pretty amazing, but we were both incredibly tired and wearing out backpacks...which kind of made crazy dancing impossible. It was mostly quiet wall standing for me, despite my being the most fashionable person in the club.
Around 4 am we headed back to Paolo's apartment and set up a couch and some cushions on the floor for Tristan and I to sleep on. I went out like a light.
12 August 2009