Florence is lovely. The people are friendly; the food is great; the sights are interesting; the history is fascinating; the bargaining is chaotic, and the weather is hot. I could hardly ask for more out of this part of the world. This is a European city at its best, from what I’ve witnessed.
July 12: After a beautiful ride through Switzerland,we arrived in Italy. Today we had another mass transportation faux pas. At the Arth-Goldau train station connecting to a train to Milano, we carefully checked the train board to see which end of the platform to stand. Because of our Eurail passes, we have first class seating, which is nearly always at the front or the back of the train. In this case, our ticket was for coach 1 at platform D. We stood at the far end of the station, waiting for the train to approach. The train arrived. We looked in horror. The arrangement was backwards. Coach 1 was at platform A, the far other end of the station. We, along with a hoard of first class Japanese tourists bolted down the platform toward the opposite end, bags in tow. To add to the confusion, people at platform A were sprinting toward platform D! Half way down the platform, an Asian man dropped his oversized suitcase directly in front of Dad. My eyes bugged out of my head as Popsy, carting a large duffel bag in his left hand, hurtled the suitcase successfully and continued running. Talk about ninja skills. Amazingly, we made it onto the coach before the train left.
Upon arriving in Florence, we walked through just a bit of the city to get from the train station to the apartment, but I could already tell that this is a great country. The magnificent Duomo Cathedral standing in the middle of town is completely impressive. What really convinced me of the loveliness of Italy, though, was that night’s dinner. Wow. Delicious. Italian pasta is the bomb diggety.
July 13: Renaissance walk —To be completed at a later date—
Piazza della Repubblica (bellybutton)
Piazza della Signoria (David replica)
Palazzo Vecchio (Medici home)
Ponte Vecchio (bridge over Arno River)
Uffizi Gallery (Italian Renaissance art collection)
Accademia Gallery (Michelangelo’s Prisoners and David)
July 14: Dad, Mom, and I woke up early to visit the local cafe for frothy cappuccinos and fruit pastries in the morning. The shop buzzes in the morning with the lively workers and the cheery regulars. The owners whipped up shots of espresso and doled out plates of pastries like nobody’s business, laughing and joking the whole time. After breakfast the whole family went to the Medici Chapel to view Michelangelo’s impressive work. The shabby exterior falsely informs passersby of the marvelous interior. This building honors the Medici family and their royal history with its domed room containing eloquently painted and sculpted decorations.
For lunch, the family strolled through the food marked and picked out Italian pasta dishes. Afterward, we, girls, conquered the street market. The dealers are pros at bargaining, and so are we. This was sale shopping to the max. We each bought a couple items, and acquired even more memories.In the evening, we entered the Duomo Cathedral. We came just before it closed, so the line was short and the inside was nearly empty. This created a great opportunity to appreciate the cathedral in its natural state, without many tourists. We listened to a great tour guide with a high energy level. She clearly loved the art and history of the cathedral. She was great.