Travelogue - Florence, Italy

 

So if the Italians call it Firenze, why do we call it Florence??

Firenze is beautiful, amazing things to see at every turn. The streets are postcard/camera ready. Window boxes, clothes on the line, screenless windows thrown open to let the day in and the sounds of everyday life out. Young men pacing up and down and back and forth on the sidewalk oblivious to all around him but the voice on the other end of his cellphone, gesturing wildly with his free hand, the absolutely lyrical and passionate cadence of his speech making me so wish I could understand what he was saying.

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Italian is a beautiful language to listen to; Passionate, lyrical, expressive.

I find that I have less and less interest in standard "tourist" sights when I travel. My preference these days is to wander, to see what's down the short dark alley, around the garden gate, along the overgrown path in the park. I want more of a sense of what life is like in a place I visit rather that what museums and galleries can show me.

Today we did the following -

We've done a bit of wandering, and some tourist stops, and I must say the wanderings have been my favorite. Although the Galileo Museum of Science this morning was VERY cool.

The Santa Maria Novella, a 13th century Dominican church was amazing for its art. Although they do a very poor job of explaining what is what and whom is who - or is it who is whom? We were unable, nee unwilling to enter the Cloisters as they required you to check your purse, well helloooooo my id, my money, my credit cards, my glasses, my inhaler, SORRY, I don't leave that stuff anywhere.

At the gates to the garden at Santa Maria Novella they indicate you can enter a prayer chapel for free. So you queue up, shuffle along, Rick Steves says it is 3.5€ to enter, you see people passing into the church in twos and threes, you think Cool, this must be how they control the crowd. Eventually you get to a kiosk where it is 5€ each to pass - We paid.

The Medici Chapel was a total disappointment, and at a high price tag, 9€ per person.

We wandered around outside the Central Market, looked interesting, crowded, and reminded me of the big mercado in Merida. We also wandered about some of the shopping stalls around the train station, Tom bought a hat. There are always pretty things to see, but I don't really need or want anything. We think of things for friends, but well you know how it is buying stuff for other people.

Yesterday we went across the Arno river and walked up to the chiesa di San Miniato al Monte and the piazza Michelangelo, both highly recommended. We walked up, the smarter option would be to catch a #12 bus for the ride up, 2€ for a ticket for 90 minutes duration. And then walk down, we did it in reverse, but I enjoyed the climb. It allowed us to poke in to some overgrown park paths, and enjoy a bit of nature.

I have been surprised at schedules here. Everyone is up and about late - this morning we hit the nearly deserted streets about 8:30am. Most touristy stuff opens between 9 and 9:30, and most close up at 6pm, and do not reopen. I am spoiled, and must say I really appreciate the schedules in Mexico, stuff opens early closes mid day for a few hours, then reopens till late. Heck, even with doctors, you can get appointments between 6 and 9.

So I am having a hard time trying to schedule things, many of our friends say we 'must' go see the 'original' David. This means a long line, and a high entry fee, just to see one statue that we've already seen 2 copies of.

Florence is the only city we have scheduled where galleries and museums abound. Probably shouldn't have had this as our first stop, I want to be outside, wandering.

Who knows what tomorrow may bring~~~~~