Hi did you miss me? I've been trying to get rid of this pesky cold. Yes, I'm still sick, but not as bad as I was. I've also managed to give the cold to Chris. Poor Chris... he starts school on Monday...
Anyway, back to the trip =oD
We had a 6:15 wake-up today, and it's back on the bus again for a 3 hours bus ride to... Florence!
On our way, Fabrizio got a call from our last hotel. Jim left his money belt at the hotel. The desk guy at the hotel volunteered to drive it to our hotel in Florence. How nice is that? Jim paid him for his trouble, of course.
Welcome to Florence!
We took a 1 hour walking tour of Florence. Our radios which have been wonderful up to now, failed us... or maybe it was the tour guide. Anyway, it was very hard to understand what she was saying...
This is a church. I looked up the name later, and it's called Santa Maria del Fiore. It's in the Duomo plaza.
Now here is a door from the building across from the church. Dante was baptized here and the door has special significance, but it's not the real door. We couldn't understand the guide, but she talked about the door for a long long time, so it must be important.
We walked to another plaza full of statues. This plaza was PACKED full of people! The statues were amazing, but most of them were plaster copies of ones in museums. Oh, that lady with her hand up... that's our guide.
Here's the Neptune fountain. The Italians call him the "Fat Man." Does he look fat to you? Maybe he's only fat by Italian standards. Remember the elevator incident? hahaha!
And here's David! We'll see the original tomorrow at the Gallery of Accademia. What struck me about all the statues in the plaza is that they are all bigger than life! The statue of David is 17' tall.
I won't bore you with all the statues, but here is one more... They just referred to this statue in the book I'm reading. I was very excited that I had seen the statue IRL!
The tour ended with a trip to a jewelry store and a leather factory. Everything was very expensive. We didn't buy anything... but again, those shopping ladies were in HEAVEN! We left the tour after that and wondered on our own. We've been in Italy for 6 days and haven't had spaghetti, so after looking around, Jim spotted an outdoor cafe in the Santa Croce Plaza. Notice that the plaza is empty behind us? Well, it's raining! We had hot spaghetti outside under the umbrellas in the rain. A perfect meal! YUM!
That church behind us in the picture is Santa Croce. We walked in after lunch and found that they house the tombs of some famous people: Michelangelo's, Dante's, Machiavelli's... Here's Galileo's...
After leaving Santa Croce, we walked to the Ponnte Vecchio. This is an old meat factory bridge that they've converted to a tourist haven! Jewelry shops GALORE!
Oh, and also gelato, hehehe...
On the other side of the bridge, I fell in love with some pictures by water color artist, Adelina Quadri. We bought one of her paintings and she gave us a little painting for free (for Cheryl). It's a perfect souvenir from a European vacation. I still need to get a frame for it. I'm waiting for a Michael's 40% off coupon.
Here's an interesting tradition. All around the Ponnte Vecchio, there are locks left by tourists. They've all got names and dates on them. If we'd known, we would have brought a lock to leave!
Poor Cheryl has a cold. We headed back to the hotel so she could take a nap before dinner... poor girl. She was so much looking forward to seeing Florence. We also got Jim's money belt. All the money and travelers checks were still in it!
We went to dinner at Fabrizio's favorite restaurant. It was good, but our spaghetti lunch was better. Poor sick Cheryl went back to the hotel and the rest of us walked back to the Piazzo Vecchio for a closer look of the statues:
In the piazzo we saw the signature green cross of a Farmacia. That's when we go the medicine that I told you about last week.
We got back to the hotel at 9:45pm... wake-up tomorrow at 6:20!
Tip of the Day: If you are going to leave our money belt at a hotel, do it in a town run by Franciscan monks.