Wednesday, 01 April 2015 19:15

2005-4. Europe- Florence

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Sylvan and Miltons European Adventure 2005

Florence

9-13-05- Day 7 (continued)

There are frequent trains that go between Venice and Florence and I assumed it would be no problem getting a reservation before boarding the train. I was wrong. One thing I learned about our two train rides so far, the one from Venice and now this one to Florence, is that you want to get reservations as far in advance as possible. When I went to get our reservation for the train to Florence, first class was sold out but we were able to book second class. I went ahead and booked a reservation for first class for the train from Florence to Rome we would be taking a couple days later.

There really is not that much discernable difference on these trains though and it was only about a three hour ride. In second class there are four seats facing each other on each side of the aisle where in first class there are the seats are larger and there are four facing each other on one side of the aisle and then just two facing each other on the other side of the aisle.

We passed through quite a few towns. The countryside is flat in places with a lot of cornfields. Closer to Florence it gets hilly and woody in what we assumed was Tuscany.

The only problem for me was a hyperactive group of exuberant young Asian tourists that were laughing and playing cards and charades and other noisy games the entire trip to enertain themselves. I guess I am just old but I thought these kids were really obnoxious and was glad to see when we reached a stop and they gathered their things together to get off. I thought, "finally, now we will have some peace and quiet for the rest of the trip," not realizing we had reached our destination of Florence, Italy and we would be getting off too. We almost didn't realize it was our stop though

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got lost initially when we got of the train but quickly got directions and made our way to our pensione. It was about a block and a half from the Duomo. The picture on the right was taken just a few steps from the street doorway.

Once you entered the street doorway, you walked up about two flights of stairs before you reached the Relais Campanille office where we were staying. Our room was then another flight up the stairs from that. Above us, on what would have been the fourth floor, was another pensione. It is not uncommon in Europe to have your pensione located inside a building with other businesses or other pensiones. If you are staying at a place like this, you want to be clear about how many flights of stairs you will be walking up. We consider ourselves in alright shape and we had booked this room before I had torn my meniscus. My knee held up pretty well even with all the steps.

One thing I have noticed is that overall, generally, Europeans seem to be in much better physical shape than Americans. They definately do more walking and stair climbing.

 

The room was quite a welcome difference from the one in Venice. It has a tile floor, big amoir, desk, t.v. that works (although only one totally English speaking channel, SKYTV, which is like cnn- and also there was an mtv style music channel with a mix of contemporary Italian groups and English speaking groups). We were ecstatic to find air conditioning.

 

 

 

 

This bathroom was bigger, you could actually turn around in the shower, and there seemed to be plenty of hot water.

 

 

 

 

After we took a little nap, we wanted to get our bearings and so we took a walk to find Accademia which is where the original of Michealangelo's "David" is located. We had a reservation there for 1:30pm the next day. It is critical that you have reservations for this museum!

 

We also wanted to find the Uffizi. We had a 9:45 reservation for a tour there. We had almost lost out on the Uffizi. I had put off calling Italy to make the reservations until about a week before our trip. When I finally did call, they were sold out. The only way to get in was to book a tour which cost several times that of the admission price but we did it anyway to assure admission and were glad we did.

If you are going to Florence, call AT LEAST a month in advance for reservations for each of these museums to guarantee your admission!

 

 

From the Uffizi, we walked to the ponte vecchio bridge...

 

 

...It is one of the oldest bridges in Florence. It dates back to Roman times.

 

If you are interested in more information about this bridge, click here. It is very pretty. I really like all the pastel colors used in Italy.

The bridge has a lot of jewelry stores located on it that are run by descendents of the original owners.

 

The streets of Florence are packed with people. Occasionally people on scooters or cars come through but most of the time you are walking in the streets. The sidewalks are often very narrow- not wide enough for two people to walk side by side.

Also, many of the streets in Europe are cobblestone. After a few days of walking on cobblestones, your legs can start feeling achy.

For dinner we ate at Leonardo's, a place listed in one of our travel books. We got bread and they charged us for each pat of butter! Even though it was listed in one of our books, I would definately not recommend this place. I didn't think it was that cheap and the ambience was terrible.

On the way back to our room, we stopped and got sodas and dessert to take to the room with us.

9-14-05- Day 8

We called down to Leonardo, the pensione manager, for breakfast. He brought us a tray of coffee, oj, croissants, jelly and butter. This service is included in the price of the room. We had to be at Uffizzi by 9:45 to meet our tour guide, Danielle.

The tour lasted about two and a half hours.. We saw works by Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Rubens and Caravaggio just to name a few. They did not allow us to take photographs though. If you are planning a trip there and would like to think about what you would like to see or if you are just interested in what is there, you can click this link for the "virtual Uffizi" online, then click "room index." Each room will have a "detailed paintings list" link which you will click on. Then from the description of each work, there will be an "image" link.

 

 

The tour ended just in time for us to get to the Accademia for our afternoon reservation there. The main attraction at the Accademia is the original of Michealangelo's "David," considered by many (along with his Pieta at the Vatican) as one of the worlds greatest works of art. Again, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum but there is a "copy" of the statue near the Uffizi.

After we finished at the Accademia, we walked back to the Duomo and got in line to see the inside of this immense church. I was unable to get the entire church in one picture. I guess you would have to take the picture from the sky to get it all in one picture. There is no place to do that from the street. It is huge. The outside has a lot of green marble.

While waiting in line we saw a gypsy panhandling with an unkempt child of 3 or so. She feigned a sad look with her outstretched hand but then a moment later a cell phone suddenly appeared and she talked to someone for a minute or two and then the cell phone dissapeared and she went back to her sad look with outstretched hand. I guess her cell phone bill was so high that she had to beg to be able to pay it. I know how she feels.

Click here for a site with a Quicktime 360 degree view of the duomo.

 

 

It was kind of dark inside the Duomo. Again, there is no way for a picture to capture the immensity of it. I did take take pictures of the inside of the dome but am not bothering to even post them here because they are such an injustice to the scale and color and beauty.

 

The Duomo also had a campanille but unlike Venice, this one did not have an elevater. Even though Sylvan's knee was bothering him a little, he still wanted to climb as many stairs as possible and we made it about three quarters of the way to the top.

It was a great place to take some pictures of Florence.

 

Here is another view from the campanille.

 

 

This is a picture of the Duomo taken from the camponille.

We did not go all the way to the top of the campanille because of my knee. Click here for a site with a great 360 degree view from the top and then click your "back" button your browser to return here.

 

When we came back down we walked around the baptistry which is located directly in front of thd Duomo.

The doors of the Baptistry contain Lorenzo Ghiberti's masterpiece "Gates of Paradise" which took 27 years to complete.

Then we went to Piazza Republilic to find the post office. Sylvan bought some souveniers to mail home.

Then we wandered around and took some pictures before going to dinner a "House of Sizzle." We had the three meat platter which had chicken, beek and pork. The pork was nothing more than breakfast sausages. The platter came with no vegetables and so we ordered those separately. We overheard the waiter telling others that came in that the restaurant had a "special" but for some reason, our waiter overlooked telling us. The special looked like a much better deal of salad, steak and potato's and probably the drink was included. We think that we probably should have watched for more "tourist menu's" in Italy that would usually be inclusive of a couple courses and a drink. We usually put of eating until we were absolutely starving though and did not take time to find the best deals. We also had to order bread separately and then had to request butter for the bread. The bill came to about $43.00.

 

 

 

Along the way I took this picture of a car that was very typical in Italy. I am not sure if it is gas or electric but it sure is tiny!

On the way back to our room we stopped again for some dessert and sodas to take back with us.

One day we were in the mood for just a hamburger at McDonalds. They charged us for every little packet of ketchup!

9-15-05- Day 9

We got up and dressed and finished packing. Leonard brough our breafast. We left our baggage with him whuile we walked to Santa Croce Basilica.

This is the inside of Santa Croce. See how tiny the people are? T

hey just don't build churches like this in America. Do they anywhere? According to this website, it was "officially started on May 3rd 1294, when the architect, Arnolfo di Cambio, laid the first stone of what was to become a masterpiece of Gothic art."

 

 

Santa Croce is also where Machiavelli, Ghiberti, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Rossini, among others are buried. Here is a picture of Michelangelo's tomb.

I also read, "Unfortunately the monument to Dante, whose remains repose at Ravenna, is only a cenotaph," which apparently is a monument erected in honor of a dead person whose remains lie elsewhere.

 

We headed back to the pensione to pick up our bags before heading to the train station.

 

On the way, we took a few more pics before saying goodbye to Florence.

 

Read 7129 times Last modified on Thursday, 23 April 2015 23:27

followme

1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
Where I was born- Click for story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
Amber- Click to read story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
My Mother- Click for more photos.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
4th Grade- Click for story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Palouse- Click for story
Grandview- Click for story
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Click to read "Introduction."
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.

Article

01. Introduction

03- Dads Family

03- Photos of my Father and his family

04- My Mother's Family

04- Photos of my Mom

04- Video of my Mom

04- Walling Family Reunions

04-Audio Files of My Mom

04. Billie

04. Ole

04.1. Forbidden Dreams of Love

04.2. Flames of Forbidden Love

04.3 Mom Writing Her Life Story

05- Jim Tarbert

05. Roger

1950's Grandview to Toppenish

1957-1958 1st Grade

1958-1959- Third Grade

1959- Palouse

1961- 4th Grade- Last time I wore a dress

1962- Abilene

1963- Escondido- Early 60's

1964- Darlene Marries Chuck

1964- My Beatle Haircut

1964-The Luv Please

1965 or 1966- Steve Castle

1965- In Foster Care

1966 Living with Darlene & Chuck in Seattle

1967- Juvenile Hall

1976- I Praise Thee (poem to Stanley)

1976- My Second Lover, Stanley Dunne

1976- Paul McCartney and Wings

1976-1330 Bush Street #9J

1977- 1667 Haight Street

1977- Trip to San Diego with Mary Jo

1977-1980- Tumultuous Relationship with John Perry

1978- 525 Haight Street

1979- September- Dad is Murdered

1980's- AIDS- Death and Dying

1980- Winter- First Trip to New York

1980- Word, Sound and Power

1981- Milton- Falling in Love

1982-1993 465 Waller Street

1982-1994 Computers to MacNursing

1984- 33rd Birthday

1985- Graduation from Nursing School

1985- Trip to Hawaii (Oahu)

1988- MIdnight Caller

1989- Earthquake!

1991- Aug 10th- Mom Passes Away

1991- Black Males in Oils

1991- Crack of My Life

1993- Move to Vallejo & Our First Home

1995-1. Road Trip to Washington

1995-2. Surprise Trip to Vegas

1995-3. Grandmother Rogers & Aunts Visit Darlene's

1995-4. Amber

1998- Camping at Russian River

2000 -Thoughts about Progressive Christians

2000- Resignation from John George

2001- April- Trip to Cancun

2001- Peace and Justice

2001- September 11th

2002- April-Puerto Vallarta & Blue Bay Getaway

2002- Nov 12th- My Stepfather, George McHenry Passes Away

2003- Trip to D.C. and N.Y.

2004- Feb- Road Trip to Baha Mexico

2004- Walling Family Reunion in Spokane

2005- Christmas Poem

2005- Darlene Visit for Pride Celebration

2005- Trip to Orlando

2005-1. Europe- London

2005-2. Europe- Paris

2005-3. Europe- Venice

2005-4. Europe- Florence

2005-5. Europe- Rome

2005-6. Europe- Athens

2005-7. Knee Surgery & Tongue Biopsy

2006 Christmas Poem

2006- February 23- Times Herald

2006- Palm Springs White Party

2006- Trip to Seattle

2006-July 8th Solano Peace and Justice Coalition BBQ

2007- Feb- Carnival Destiny- Our First Cruise

2007- Tre and Casey Visit

2008- Aug 15-18 Spokane Visit

2008- Psycho Song

2009- Honored by Vallejo Gay Network

2009- Women in Oils

2010 Christmas Poem

2010- Feb. R.C. Mariner of the Seas Mexican Riviera Cruise

2010- June 24- Badlands

2010- Trip to Seattle

2010-1. Europe- Amsterdam

2010-2. Europe- Paris

2010-3. Europe- Barcelona & Sitges

2010-4. Europe- Madrid

2011-1. Feb. My Fabulous 60th Birthday Weekend

2011-2. April- L.A., Palm Springs & "The White Party"

2011-3. Poem- Girl From Medical Lake

2011-4. Old Man Dancing

2011-5. May- Misty and Alex Visit

2011-6. August- Darlene and Sean's Visit

2011-7. Alex 16-18 & Pics

2012- March- Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera with Family

2013- Wedding

2014- Christmas Poem

2014- First Gay Cruise

2014- September Road Trip to San Diego

2015- Seasonal Affective Blues

2015- Second Gay Cruise

2015- War on Christmas poem

2015-"Badlands" and Gay Bar Etiquette

2015-September 8. Political History

2016 Do Not Speak for Gay Males

2016- April- Palm Springs RV Adventure

4/4/2016- Not Going Along to Get Along

9/4/15- Liberals vs Conservatives

Summer of Love- Click to read story.
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
4th Grade- Click for story.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
Where I was born- Click for story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
My Mother- Click for more photos.
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Amber- Click to read story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
Grandview- Click for story
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
Click to read "Introduction."
Palouse- Click for story
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story