Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It was a rainy day in Florence....

I had an espresso yesterday about 3:00, so as you can imagine, I had trouble sleeping last night. David and I did manage got get up relatively early and after a breakfast of prosciutto, bread, yogurt, and apple we did some reconnaissance to figure out where we will catch the bus to Siena tomorrow. Thank goodness we did because it was a little harder to find than I expected and I would not have wanted to try and and do that with my backpack.

Of course, it was my cute outfit had to stay behind. Also, the streets were filled with guys trying to see umbrellas. There is always someone trying to sell you something. Why doesn't that happen back home? We just don't have that as part of our culture. Sure, there are the kiosk people at the mall, and the clipboard people, and homeless guys at every intersection, but there is not as much annoying sales back home. You know...the people who come up to you in a restaurant and try to sell you a watch.

Well, anyway... We had a busy day. Our first stop was Mywalit which sells the cutest...wallets. And purses. I will be going back to get this totally cute purse. I also have my eye on some really cute boots. I'm glad we are coming back to Florence because it is going to be a shopping extravaganza when we do!


Our next stop the Bargello, which is the national museum. It used to be a prison. There are some great Renaissance sculptures there - works by Donatello and Michelangelo and others. Our visit was cut a little short because I HAD TO EAT. We found a great place close to gather Piazza Della Signoria. We had a yummy assortment of focaccia sandwiches and finished it off with caffe macchiato. We sat next to young woman who was telling her boyfriend how she got an "excellent" in her Italian class, yet she spoke no Italian to the server. She probably though we were total morons too so I shouldn't talk.

Next it was off to the Gallileo Science Museum. Really cool, and on one there. At first I wondered what I had gotten myself into as I stared at the wax and terra cotta obstetrical models from the 18th century. If they want to scare women off from childbirth, that'd be the way to go. Use your imagination.

But, we also saw Gallileo's telescopes and HIS FINGER. Yeah, some of his followers cut it off and preserved it. I don't know why. Later, his thumb and index finger and a tooth were found as well. It seems Europe is littered with random preserved body parts (go back and see my post about our visit to Valencia, Spain).

Our next stop was Santa Croce, which was amazing. Gallileo, Michelangelo, Nicolo Macchiavelli all have tombs here and there is also a monument to Dante. There are also amazing frescoes here by Giotto and his godson (can't remember his name). The godson did a fresco series of the life of Mary. My favorite panel was the one where they are deciding who she will marry. Leaves and doves shoot out of the end of Joseph's walking stick indicating that he is the one. I'm a little disturbed that he looks old enough to be her grandfather, but I do like the addition at the bottom of the picture of the guy breaking his stick in frustration.

Of course, the day would not be complete without gelato so that was our next stop. Yummy.

We headed back to the apartment where we facetimed with my sister (yay!) and then lounged about before heading to dinner. We went to Tratorria Gabriello and it was quite good. David's ossobucco was yummy. No dessert....we were too full.

Tomorrow we head to Siena to begin our walking tour!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

There is a blogger app!

And now I am trying it.

This is another photo from the restroom. What's her face from Canada just really likes people to know where she has been.

Not sure how to get the photos in here.

Look! A carousel!

After a good night's sleep

So, I gotta say...I just spent a lot of time crafting a particularly witty blog post, and blogger saw fit to have some sort of crazy error and it was all gone.

The other problem with using the iPad for updating the blog is that I can't actually scroll all the way up and down the page. So, all those photos at the bottom of this? I have no clue what order they are in or which ones are actually there. So, uh....sorry about that. Hopefully you can figure out what they are. 

So, David and I tried mighty hard to stay up until 9 pm last night, but we just could not do it. We finally gave up at 6 pm consoling ourselves with the fact that we had been up for over 24 hours and surely we would sleep at least 12 hours.

We both woke up around midnight, and golly, I felt really really awake. So, we took some Advil PM. I figured we get at least 6 more hours out of that.

And 10 hours later....

Our first stop of the day was the Accademia, where you can see the David, and quite honestly, not a whole lot else. It's actually a pretty small museum. One people wait in line hours to see. I bought tickets ahead of time we skipped all that mess.

The David is AMAZING. Did you know he is 17 feet tall. Just awesome and powerful and I could have sat there all day.

Alas, I was hungry. Can't have that. We wandered around and stopped at a gelato place. Since I don't know Italian very well, I wound up ordering enough gelato for a small family. So, that was pretty much my lunch.

At first, when we got to Florence, I sort of made fun of people because they were all wearing their puffy coats, like it was about to freeze over at any minute, when in reality it's like 57 degrees. But dang, it feels a lot colder and I longed for a puffy coat. I also made a poor shoe choice ands the tops of my feet were cold. I really wanted to be able to write a witty caption for the photo below of me doing my "this is what I am wearing today" photo...something about regretting my shoe choice. But I can't because blogger on the iPad is stupid. Maybe there is a blogger app?

Anyway, so's a little chilly, and it was nice and cool in the Duomo. 

Which I am sure is great in the summer when it is really hot and there are hordes of tourists. I was a wee bit cold as we did our audio tour. David and I love us some audio tours (I think that line needs to make it into the holiday card).

The Duomo is really cool...actually it is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. But everyone just seems to call it the Duomo. We could not climb the 463 stairs to the top of the dome, nor could we go down into the crypt, both of which were very disappointing. But, we were just sort of winging it today and sometimes you go places that are closed. Oh well.

We did climb the bell tower, which had lovely views. And we laughed with some French guy about all the stairs and how you think you are at the top, but you just keep going. 

All this activity made me thirsty, so we found a little place and had a bad pizza and good wine. Yes, bad pizza does exist in Italy. I've had it.

We had over to the Piazza Della Signora,  where there are some statues (Perseus with Medusa's head) and a replica of the David.

 It is also where the Palazzo Vecchio is.  Oh, and we also wandered through some markets and another square where we some the same gypsy woman who asked us for money yesterday and would not go away. 

We had dinner at a lovely little trattoria. But I'd really like to head back to the place in the photo below and get some candy!

I am not sure what I am doing here. Everyone else was rubbing this boar's nose, so I did too.

Italy Day 1

Exhibit A - our super cute kitchen

There is a point, right before any trip starts, when you realize that you are about to spend 14 hours traveling and will not be able to really sleep in a bed again for over 24 hours. At that moment a sense of dread kicks in.

This was not that moment.

Before every trip, David and I hit Surdyk's Flights at the airport. We each had a wine flight and a sandwich, and wrapped it up with a very lemony lemon bar. Eventually, we had to head to our gate, which is when that feeling of dread kicked in.

That, and I have a question: if federal regulations allow only one carry on and one personal item, why don't the airlines enforce it?

Flights in short - I still think Schilpol Airport in Amsterdam is awful (and we have to go through there in the way back), lots of crying babies, could not sleep.

But, here we are in Italy! I've already facetimed with my sister twice (ain't technology grand?), we have been to the grocery store, and visited a little market near the Santa Maria Novella, where we picked up some cheese and bread and then had a yummy yummy sandwich.

We were also accosted by a gypsy who would not go away. At least the guy selling necklaces left us alone. Ugh. So awful.

So, now it is 4:00 and I really want to sleep, but David and I are forcing ourselves to stay awake and get on Italy time. It is sad, but here I am in Florence and I just want to stay in the apartment (which is super cute by the way...exhibit A above) But we have great plans for tomorrow and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Paul Bunyan

So, David and I are headed to Italy this week! This post is really a test post to see how easy/difficult/annoying it will be to update my blog using the iPad. So far, so good.

If I don't need to bring my little computer with me, it would just be easier to leave it at home. One less thing to carry.

You might be asking yourself, what is with all the pictures of Paul Bunyan. Just practicing adding pics using the iPad.

Today we did a test pack, where we got everything together just to check things out. Seems like we did pretty good. Well, I think this will work. It is a little annoying, but I think I'll survive. La la. La.