Sunday, September 14, 2008

Florence Church Mania

Kevin and I headed to Florence in style, as only first class train tickets were available. Yay free juice and crackers (which probably added €25 to the ticket price)! Once there, we had instructions on how to take the bus to our hotel. However, the street we were supposed to catch the bus on was completely closed down for construction. After some wandering, we found the right stop. In theory, we should have been able to catch the bus going in either direction. Upon practical application, we sat on the bus trying to figure out where we were on the map and 45 minutes later ended up back at the train station. We had enough time on our tickets to try one more loop or take a taxi. We opted for a taxi.

I suavely told the driver we were going to Casa Cimabue, which I pronounced simabew, and he looked confused. He looked at my paper and said, "Ah, chimabooey!". Ah yeeaaah, that's totally what I said. Smarty-pants driver.

We dropped our bags off and headed to Accademia Gallery. A lot of places were closed on Sunday so ended up at a little café for a quick lunch. We chose a pizza and the lady working proceeded to pop it in the microwave. It was horrendous, but we were hungry. Accedemia Gallery isn't very big, but the clear star is Michelangelo's David. It's huge. Really amazing to see up close.

We grabbed some hot drinks at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum then headed for a whirlwind tour of Florence churches and piazzas: Medicee Chapel & Basilica di San Lorenzo, Piazza San Giovanni & Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore, Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria & Palazzo Vecchio, Basilica di Santa Croce and Piazza de Ciompi. Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore is the standard Florence "postcard shot". When it was built in the 13th century, it crushed the Pantheon in Rome's claim to fame of being the largest dome.

Other cool sites that made the list for today were Ponte Vecchio - the famous bridge lined with jewelery stores, Uffizi Gallery (although we didn't have time to go inside) that has one of the David copies outside, and the National Central Library.

After a long day and a long dinner (it took about 3 hours because the service was so slow) we headed back to the room for showers and Bananagrams. When we checked in in the afternoon, the lady working there went over everything in the hotel in great detail, including having us practice locking the door, working the light switches and adjusting the thermostat. Yet she failed to mention what the string hanging in the shower was for. Since Kevin showered first, he of course pulled the string to see what it did. Exactly what I would have done in his place. Turns out it sets off a panic alarm heard throughout the floor. And of course, the logical way that you turn this off is a light switch in the hall. Funny how that didn't come up during the light switch lesson. No one saw us naked though. Disappointing.

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