Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Florence: The city of ART

Hello from Florence.  We arrived Tuesday by bus from Siena.  It was a one hour ride but seemed like it took a long time, by the time we walked to the bus station and waited for the bus.  The ride through Tuscany was very picturesque: hilly and lots of olive trees and vineyards.  The roads, were however, very bumpy and my teeth felt loose when we got here.

It was hot again, high 80’s with humidity, and since we didn’t know where we were going except for a Google map we took a cab to our hotel, Allbergo Lousannsa.  Our taxi driver spoke some English (some is the operative word here) and brought us right to the hotel, or so we thought.  Turns out it was a E12.50 taxi ride for about 10 blocks.  But we got to see a lot of the outlying suburbs of Florence.  Oh well, live and learn.  At first the hotel seenmed small and dumpy, but really it is fine.  If it were air conditioned it would be perfect.  Wee at least have our own private bath, such as it is, which is more than we had in Siena.( down the hall to the left.)  It is very hot again, but we do have a fan and a large window.  The proprietress is ……reserved… no chit chat going on between us.  But, all in all it is safe, clean, and easy to get around Florence from.

Our first afternoon we set out to explore Florence to get oriented,.  It is a true midevil city with streets that in the states would be narrowl alleys (Starmont  school hallways are like the MAIN streets).  Soiit is a “walking” city.  From our hotel the sights are all within 10 blocks, unfortunately for my feet, they were all in a big 30 block circle, which Jerry wanted to walk.  Soi guess what? we did.  The main sights of Fkorence are:  The Duomo (Cathedral) and the Duomo square, the Uffizi Gallery on the Plaza de la Signoria, and the Accademia museum which is where the statue of David is, and the bridge spanning th Arno river called Pont Vecchio,.

After a long hot walk (but oh the scenery) we showered and rested until dinner time 8:30.  The hotel had suggested a restaurant 2 blocks away caked Trattoria Cesarino.  Really very good food and good prices (for Italy, eally it is expensive by any other standards).  I had a beef carpachio and Jerry had a HUGE lettuce salad, then he had Rissoto with squid and I had a pasta dish with meat and cream,   We split a bottle of Chianti (that is the local wine here) and then a dessert of panaforte, which is like pudding, but LOTS and LOTS better.  At the restaurant we met a couple from Lisbon Portugal.  Those who know Jerry, he got to use his 3 words of Portuguese from college that he remembers.  The man had lived in California for a year, so his English was good, and it was fun to compare notes about traveling etc.  We walked back to the hotel and slept until 8:30 this morning.

We had asked the Signora for breakfast, which has been really good at all the hotels we have stayed at, but we really struck out this time.  Blahhhhh.  And it cost us E11.00 which is like$15.00 US,Needless to say we will eat out tomorrow,  We have found here a big fluctuation of prices.  For instance, at the museum today we got 2 orange juices and they were E6.00 apiece.  Jerry got a gelato ( ice cream cone) that was E10.00, Yesterday I got one that was E1.50.  Basically the same.  It depends where you get it, I guess.  92 degrees today.
We had tickets for the Uffizi Gallery which is the best collection of Renaissance anywhere.  It contains Michalengo, Raphael, Bernnini and everyone else you can think of.  It was amazing.  We stayed until 1:30.  Then we went to the  Accademia museum which has Michalengo’s David statue.  This was amazing also.  We saw some other stuff, but the David was what we were there for.

We walked back (AFTER JERRY’S e10.00 GELATO) and stopped at a plaza (like a half block of just marble for people to hang out.  There was a wine bar there that we had frequented yesterday but no tables outside today.  We went in and it was blessedly air conditioned and we drank a Coke Light then we were enjoying the cool so much we ordered wine….The advantage of Italy.  All in one place.

  After resting at the hotel, we went back to the same neighborhood and had “Napoli” pizza and wine from Napoli.  We left there and went back to the plaza and all the tables were outside and we had a couple of wines with some ex-pats from New York that were trying to find work in Florence.  An “Eat, Pray, Love” sort of thing.  Just got back.
Tomorrow, back to Paris.  We fly from Florence and will arrive around 6:00 PM.  By the time we make it to the apartment it will be almost dinner time.  Donald is there now, so he will take us out to eat.  I can’t wait to get to cooler Paris.  I hear it is cool at home.  Almost (not quite) wish I were there!  Ciao!

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