Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Florence, Italy

Here's another excerpt from the journal I kept while traveling in Italy a while back. Enjoy.

March 14 – Florence, Italy. The architecture of the buildings here is unbelievable. The streets are narrow – so narrow in some places that upon our arrival in Florence, the chartered bus could not maneuver its way through the street leading to our hotel. We all got off the bus several blocks away and pulled our luggage through the streets of Florence to our hotel. It was hilarious. A group of thirty-three people lugging their suitcases on the cobbled streets of Florence. We were quite a sight!

The hotel was a four-star one and elegant. We had a three-course dinner in the dining room where silver and china sparkled on the white-clothed tables. Of course, there was wine. Dessert was scrumptious. Some awesome pastry with strawberries and cream. My room had a balcony, although it was just for show. All night long until the wee hours of the morning, the streets below were filled with people talking and laughing as they walked by.

After breakfast the next day, we walked several blocks to a magnificent cathedral (one of many) where we celebrated Mass. It was raining and we tried to avoid puddles of water on the worn cobbled streets. We must have looked like little ducks waddling in line to some destination. Parts of the church are under renovation so we made our way through some scaffolding on the outside and inside. Some fading frescoes are still on the walls of the church. The pews and kneelers, of course, are not padded. 

Later that afternoon, we visited a monastery with hundreds of other tourists. It was cold, windy and rainy. I am glad I brought that woolen black shawl that makes me look like an old lady but shields me from the cold. Lucky for me that I brought my umbrella as well. Chinese girls (vendors) were all over the streets of Florence. They were selling silk scarves, some made in Rome, I guess because the word “Roma” was etched across the scarves. I wondered where these mostly young Chinese girls with the porcelain complexions lived in Florence. They looped the scarves over their arms, covering them with clear plastic to protect them from the rain. Dressed in loose silk pants and colorful quilted jackets, they looked like dolls. Mostly girls, but I did see some young Chinese men hawking umbrellas.

After dinner, we walked through St. Mark’s Square. It looked eerie at night, the giant statues of David, Hercules, Neptune and others looming over us as we walked by. Earlier that day, we had lunch in one of the cafeterias lining the square. We pay for everything in Euros.

Until next time, have a great writing day!

"Art is really the language of feeling." -- Steven Kellogg

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