Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Europe 2005 - Florence

This was a highlight for the trip. There is just so much art to make it worth it. Galleria Accademia- When we arrived we decided the first thing we wanted to do was was to see "David" before the line got long. It was so worth it. Here is this giant 500 year old marble statue, but all the details are still there. I was just standing there admiring how Michelangelo got the flexed muscles compared to the relaxed muscles with David standing off balance and L. made the comment "you do realize you are staring at a naked guy." she understood but was having fun harassing me, but I guess that she can't complain as we look at all the naked women in paintings.
Da Vinci museum-On the way back to the city there was a museum that full size working models from Leanardo da Vinci's sketches. I would have to say that he is my favorite of the masters since he tried to do some of everything. I mean here is a guy that invented a bicycle, moveable printing press, tank, machine gun, ball bearings, and the first robot. I really liked how they had models of his different flying experiments that led up to his working glider. As L. read off what each invention was for I would turn the cranks or pull the levers. L. kept saying I had the smile of a little boy.
Markets- L. wanted to look through the markets and there were a lot. I guess florence is famous for its leather and every stall sold it. It kept breaking out in rain showers so it was funny to see how the merchants would deal with it. Some would use the umbrellas they were selling (with famous painting on them.) to protect their stuff. There were a lot of merchants selling sunglasses and watches that had built collapsable tables out of cardboard and covered with cloth. They could be folded up and standing under an eve in less then 15 seconds. I have a feeling they could pack up quickly for other reasons too since they seemed to be the unofficial merchants along the streets that had square boxes with numbers painted for where each merchant could go. All the stalls sold to much stuff with just a close-up of "David's" penis, or postcards of all the famous statue penises or butts. The joke got old real fast. One thing I did like was that we were not harassed as we walked down between them. I am used to being worn out by people yelling to you to come over like when we were in Tijuana or China, but that was not the case here even though most of the stalls sold the same crap.
Galleria Uffzi- it really started to pour heavily and we were planning to buy reserved tickets we instead decided to wait in the line since it was covered under a huge piazza and wait instead. We ate gelato and watched the portrait artists draw for the 2 hours in line. By the time we made it in we only had 1 and a half hours before they closed. There is to much there so we went for the most important stuff first- the birth of venus by Botticelli's then just wandered around admiring what we wanted. There were just endless rows of paintings of the whole Medichi family that we ignored. It was pretty weird popping into rooms and realizing that "hey that’s one of the paintings that I studied." As it turns out we left the gallery before they closed with 5 minutes to spare.
The Duomo- this had to be my favorite thing to do. The dome of this church is what started the renaissance. Brunelleschi was so ticked off that he lost an art contest to design some doors that he made 5 trips to Rome to study the dome of the Pantheon. Comes back, convinces everyone he can build the biggest dome yet for the church and the secret is having the inner and outer dome with webbing in the middle for light strength. Everyone gets ticked that Florence has a bigger dome and all of Europe starts studying art and science and math to try to one up each other. So that is the story, the cool part is that they still let you climb between the 2 layers to the top of this 650 year old dome. (cool for me at least, L.'s legs thought otherwise). This is still the tallest thing in florence and the view was really great, and the breeze was perfect. So L. and I just sat up there and admired the history (rested) for around a half hour.
camping- the funny thing is that were we camped we could see the whole city and was about a 5 minute walk downhill to the Ponte Vechio bridge.
Food- they have little sandwich shops everywhere and they are so good and cheap that we have been eating them instead making our own.
Tourists- We have found the Americans. Up until now all the people speaking english that were not British ended up being from Canada. I guess everyone from the USA goes to Italy. The only problem is that is seems like huge groups of spoiled rich kids that expect everyone to speak english.
Internet-We went a long time without finding any Internet connections in the hotels we were staying in. Now the problem is that I can't seem to get blogger.com to not auto-translate into German or Italian, so I have been trying to post but some settings are hard to translate. Also I am glad that I type up these posts on the little thumb keyboard on the phone even if it is harder because every country has their own keyboard layout that makes it slow for someone that is used to touch typing.

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