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Firenze (Florence) Italia

A Day of the Arts and Piazza Michelangelo
Today we decided to check out the train station. This week we want to take leave of Florence and take the train to Pisa (leaning tower) and Cinque Terre. (The Five Lands). I love the freedom to make a last minute detour on your trip. We have heard from a number of other tourists and Palova as well, that this is a very worthwhile trip. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time, but we will do what we can in a day. We walked the 35 minutes to the train station where we got the information on the 3 trains required to get to Cinque Terre. We stopped for an espresso and a Rhum Baba, our new favourite dessert, and decided to make our way to the other side of town to the Michealangelo Piazza to watch the sunset. It was quite a walk, so being old and tired we got on one of the many buses that run around the city and arrived at our destination about forty minutes later. The piazza is quite high up and affords a beautiful view of the city.image

The view is spectacular. Our new camera is amazing and affords us the opportunity to give you some perspective on the things we are seeing. For example:

Here is the Basilica.image

Here are the people on top of the dome. Quite amazing, eh?image

While waiting for sunset, we met a Chinese fellow there who is a spiritual leader travelling the world. We had a great conversation about anything and everything. He has one son who is a graduate student at university, another son who is a doctor, and a daughter who is a famous movie star in China. Shu Feng Chien (his name) was talking to me about Tai Chi. I think I may start taking lessons when I return to Canada. After a number of pictures, we made our way down the long staircase, over the bridge and back towards our apartment.

 We stopped for a delicious pasta dinner on the way. Kim ordered the Galleria Spaghetti and I ordered the spicy meat sauce pasta. We also shared a Mediterranean salad, with goat’s cheese, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, olives and some other unknown veggies in it. This was all served with a plate of delicious Italian bread. Again the food was scrumptious. Dead tired from all of our sight seeing, we made our way home and went to bed early.
Kim and I made a decision to get up early again the next morning, and get in line to see the Uffizi (Official) Gallery. This building, which used to be an office building owned by the Medici Family, by itself is an artwork. It is huge, ornate and incredibly beautiful. Many of the ceilings are complete works of art.

imageIt’s difficult to put a picture of this as the building is so huge, it is impossible to capture the scope of this size in just one photo. We arrived about 15 minutes before the gallery opened and already there was a lineup to get in. We waited a short half hour, then we were in the door looking at thousands of sculptures and paintings. I don’t believe it is ever possible to become immune to looking at great art work. We did the galleries for about two and a half hours then went to a sidewalk cafe for our usual morning espresso. This gave an opportunity to rest our tired feet and catch our breath. We talked about what to do for the rest of the day and decided to try out this artisan gelato place that our taxi driver recommended. We had marked the place on our map, but now that we have been walking around this city so much, we are not using the map. So after a quick check, we set out for a gelato. We didn’t get farther than a hundred yards when we noticed that there wasn’t much of a line up to visit the Vecchio Palace, tower and battlements.

imageWe were in line and inside within 10 short minutes. We decided to climb the steps to the battlements and lookout tower first. We had just had a coffee and were feeling pretty energetic. 387 steps later we reached the high point of the tower and had a terrific view of the entire city around us.

imageWe then completed the museum tour at a comfortable pace and we stopped to look at our watches and six hours had passed since we set out this morning. Time stands still when you are looking at great art.
After our mighty climb and our second major museum visit for the day, Kim and I were pooped and in need of some food. So we found our Artisan Gelato and bought our self a small 3 flavour cup. White chocolate, peach and grapefruit. I have never tasted better in my life. We set out for our apartment which was about 25 minutes away, stopping only to pick up some groceries on the way home. After a light lunch of chicken, potatoes, olives, and of course some delicious Chianti, we hung around and read our Kindles and surfed the net. Tomorrow we’re off to Pisa and Cinque Terre.

imageKim bought me an early Christmas present. What do you think?

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