Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day Trip to Florence - Definitely Not Long Enough!

Today we hopped on the Eurostar train up to Florence, and apparently in Italy, seat assignments DO matter. People are very defensive when they think you have taken their seat, which has not been my experience before in Europe. Oh well.

After some early morning craziness trying to find the bus stop to actually get to the train station (the signs lied!!), we made it to the train and eventually to Florence, where we were met by our guide, who thought he might make our day more fun by holding the sign with our name on it upsidedown.

This guy obviously knows his Renaissance art, architecture and Florentine history.  Our day was pretty much like this: walk quickly through tiny streets, stop for a second while our guide explained what we were looking out, retaining only the famous name he might have thrown out, move on quickly to the next point of interest, rinse, repeat. It was like the quick-and-dirty version of Florence, which is not a bad thing if you really only have a day to do it all, but its exhausting! Pretty sure that if there was a thief on our train on the way home he could have scored big with us, because all four of us passed out cold.

In all, we saw 3 big ol' churches, two mueseums, and so many paintings and sculptures that it makes my head swim just trying to remember them all. Botticelli and all those old artist types must be rolling in their graves when they find out that the average tourist spends like a minute looking at one of their masterpieces. Don't get me wrong, everything we saw was pretty amazing and beautiful, but that is a LOT to absorb in one day.

Some highlights:
  • The huge market with all its hanging sausages and produce and cheeses and wines and pasta hanging in bags. So pretty with all the yummy smelling food. I could eat my way through there pretty easily, just point, pay, smile and say grazie!
  • Pizza and wine for lunch! At this point I was not tired of pizza yet.
  • Seeing Michelangelo's David and actually understanding why its so important! That guy has really big hands, completely out of proportion with know.
  • The leather school, where monks have made leather products for a reallly long time, and we got to see one of them at work embossing gold leaf onto a leather-covered box type thing.
  • Walking through the narrow twisty streets at night, watching all the people, seeing everything lit up and decorated for Christmas, looking at all the medieval architecture.
  • Nutella on fresh hot waffles!! Who knew it could be so good?
  • Sitting down on the bench in the Uffizi Gallery (where all those paintings are, including Botticelli's) after walking through the whole thing.
SO, it was totally worth it, but I am really glad that KK is doing her study abroad there this summer, because I would really have liked a little more time to shop and wander on my own. So my plan is to meet her there before her program ends and we go on our big adventure!

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