Our penthouse was in the perfect location (other than the 3 fights of stairs up) – about a 10 minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio bridge. It was also close to two grocery stores and several fruit stands. We had grapes, nectarines, and cherries every day. These are things that either are not available or we can't afford to buy in Accra. What treats! Tom and I did visit some places that we had not seen in our previous two trips to Florence. We really enjoyed the Galileo Museum and church of San Miniato al Monte above the Piazzale Michelangelo across the river. We were fortunate to be there for evening Vespers and hear the monks chanting the same music that has been sung for over 1000 years. Spectacular blending of voices!
San Miniato al Monte
View of Florence from San Miniato
We tearfully left Neal and Candace on a corner in Florence as they headed one way to their rental car for their trip to Rome and we headed for the train to Prato where Elder and Sister Ferrara live. John met us at the station and we walked about a block to their apartment - very large compared to ours in Ghana because it used to house four elders. Karon had made lasagna for us to eat after our 4 mile hike up into the hills. This is a beautiful area of Tuscany – many mountains, trees, and stunning views of nature. They treated us to granita at one of their favorite shops. It is like a slurpee except not as sweet and very refreshing.
We spent most of yesterday with them at a very large park with about ten YSAs and some other adult leaders for a summeractivity that culminated in watermelon and a water balloon fight. Today we attended the very diverse Montevarchi Branch where we spoke in Sacrament Meeting (through an interpreter). The members are from Italy, Brazil, Nigeria, and Cameroon and vary in experience, age, and life situation but seem united in their love for one another. Sue was touched by the spirit of the 19 year-old teacher in Relief Society, a member for 3 months, who presented the lesson on the temple.
It continues to amaze us how unique each senior missionary couple's assignment can be. Wherever and however we are asked to serve, it is the ideal opportunity to see a different part of the world and form memories and connections with people whom we come to love and who will forever be a part of our lives. We fly to London in the morning.