Earlier this week I mentioned that my friend’s tweet got picked up by Travel & Leisure, along with one of my pictures. T&L’s theme was “Super-short travel disaster stories.” So what was the full story behind Swamp Thing? I’m glad you asked.
You see, I first met Aleigh on my study-abroad trip to Liguria back in the summer of 2001. There were maybe 16 people on our trip and we were in a small town, so we spent quite some time together. One weekend, we took off with my roommate Lauren to Florence. It’s important to note that Lauren was a super sweet girl, but definitely OCD and a major germaphobe. For example, after washing her hands and using a paper towel to open the door, she would sit down and use hand-sanitizer.
So anyway, on our last full day in Florence, we decided that we wanted to go to Piazzale Michaelangelo, which is across the Arno, and offers spectacular views of historic Florence. As we were walking up, we came across these old aqueducts, which had probably been around since before the Medici, and we decided to take pictures because we thought they were cool. So Lauren hands me her camera and goes to step on what she thought was a mossy rock. Except it wasn’t a mossy rock, it was algae covered water. Even though the water wasn’t deep, she completely submerged from the shock of it and then popped out of the water, dripping with algae.
Meanwhile Aleigh is staring in shock and I was still sitting with the camera posed to take a picture. I almost snapped a bunch of shots, but I was in such a state of shock I couldn’t move. I also was thinking that she was going to have a complete meltdown because of the germs in the water.
We all sat there and stared at each other for what felt like eternity (but was probably only a few seconds) until Lauren started laughing. At that point we all lost it, and Aleigh and I were holding ourselves up because we were laughing until we had stitches in our sides. Meanwhile, no one on the bus was amused by three young girls in hysterics, one of which covered in algae and dripping water.
From that point on, Lauren’s nickname was “swamp thing.” When I returned to Florence 10 years later, I took a picture next to the offending aqueduct for memory’s sake.