Off to Firenze

Florence Travel Blog

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Tuesday. It got hot again in the room during the night. J throws covers off at 3am. Later it cools again a bit. Had a Huge big scrambled egg breakfast upstairs rooftop eating room. Again, a ham and cheese sandwich somehow falls into our pockets, and an apple too! Raining hard. We relax and later I go out to buy a citybus ticket for bus #64 to the Roma Termini stazione. We end up getting on an expressbus which didn't seem express at all. I thot we could have access to the first class EurostarItalia lounge but alas, it is a private club. We go to the regular lounge, but leave 'cause it's too crowded and thankfully happen upon our train on track 4 at noon. It's a terribly long train, but being in car #1 it's right in front of us. Sweet! Just before our 12:30 departure an Italian woman, Myriam, sat in the window seat. We 3 talked the entire way to Florence! She is retired from being a tourguide, an older ailing sister in Detroit she needs to see. Tells us about Italian politics and was rather hopeless about it. Says Italians are very selfish and reacts to a brochure being handed out about energy ideas adding "They need to stop talking about it and DO something about it!" She has a place north of Verona and I'm sure it's lovely. We exchanged cards. She says she will write me. We whip past the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany! It is so green and really pleasing to the eyes to see. I'd love to spend more time here, but it is a whole other trip! Some April, small town, relax, drink it all in. She suggests it takes a week to know Florence with all of it's museums and art. It was like having your own personal tourguide join us on our trainride. So perfect. It was a Wonderful ride with the cleanest windows yet.
Before we could say "Bella" we were arriving into Firenze. It's raining. A retired American couple from Jersey has accumulated bags in the vestibule when we arrive on the platform. The standees waiting to get off are patiently waiting for them to leave. The wife says something like, "Irving, maybe we should move the bags ovah so the othah people can get off?" and he shouts back in the finest New Yorhkah..."LET 'EM WAIT!!" Little did we know J and I would be repeating this over and over.
J guides us to our Comfort Inn on Piazza Indepenzia. We had to walk around the large piazza first to find it. The rain has stopped. A housekeeper guides us up, then across, then as the 2nd elevator indicates we are overwt, J goes with her and I end up climbing up a floor, hear voices but not on 3rd floor. She comes to 3 and takes me down 2 floors to room 321. Go figure. This place is a maze and room numbers that are scattered around without regard to floor number. I really need to get to Switzerland! Room has no soap. Website says guest laundry available. Not today. My membership book says Comfort Inns provide free internet access. I show it to the manager/owner. He goes into his own tale of woes about it, says not possible. Crazy. No apologies, but we are used to it. The thermostadt turns off when you pull the card key to go out, but also when you turn on the bathroom lights it just goes off and into this permanent hold status. This is nuts!
We are off and running once again, right out to try to get in to see David, but lines impossibly long. On to the huge church Duomo, waiting for a bus to edge pass taking too long, an Audi driver tries to follow it and shouldn't have. J is there right in his face waving his hands in Italian at the 60's man saying "I'm walkin' here, I'm Walking here!" thru his open window; he says something back to J, looking like a moray eel and passes along in front. It was hysterical, but then once into the next street J pulls his arm in with a big "Yesss! I was to do that!! That felt great!"
Well, another long line to get in greeted us, but saw an immediate entry to the top of the dome. We go right in, pay 6E and did get a good glimpse of the ground floor, J snapped a few pictures over the tall plexiglass. Whew, a long continuous climb up; often humid and quite warm, but with welcoming fresh breezes. Walking around the bottom of the actual dome high above the altar and pews below, saw the underside of the dome with wonderful paintings of church officials and Jesus and glowing sunrays etc... view up top, but frightening and horrible devil scenes below, including a few of flaming pokers about to be rammed into naked butts! I certainly came away with a comforting feeling from an all-loving God! :) Climbing even further to the small circle at the very top, we drink in just fantastic panoramic views of the city, high above everything in the city, even our hotel J says. A dark wave of rain is coming we see, but we are lucky up there during our time up there thank heavens. We even saw some Tuscan hills basking in sunshine, spotlighting them. Cool fresh air was so welcome after that long, dark, single-file sometimes two-way people traffic encounters. Can't imagine doing this in summer!
On the way down, I looked away from the torture room. Such an impressive structure; with such questionable motives about it. Once back outside, it's raining. J puts his cover on day-pack, I open my umbrella. It doesn't last long at all and suddenly brilliant sun appears. We proceed to more piazzas, and I suggest to J that we go to this one that I remember. A wonderful presence comes over me. A big coincidence happened to me here in '97. I climb up into the cover of an open building built in the 1300s. A sitar (tall guitar?) player was playing an opera song and the stringed music is reflecting off the ceiling. I am just so happy in this moment here. Sat for several moments while J is photographing left and right now has about 1000 pictures, and later comes and sits with me a moment. I tell him music like this sounds so sweet to me on a trip. Walking around in the piazza, J spies a short pickpocket lady who he notices is looking at everyone and not the sites. We go on to the Ponte Vecchio bridge, ooo so famous, cross over it, follow the river on the other side, cross back, and walk a lot more until coming back to the hotel. Our feet are tired puppies. Where is the masseuse when you need one?
We check out a self-service laundry place, but opt for dinner first. Find what looked like a perfect place for us. Well, my "fountain red wine" made me shake and cough, and the "gnocchi with basil and tomato" was small and a disaster. J laughs at it even while chowing down his much better but nothing great Calzone. It's so bad it's funny. J thinks it came out of a chef boyardee can! Ha! It might have! I call the green sprinkles on the outside "grass clippings' and pull out of my mouth a colorless strand of stem. Their desserts were all $7 US, boy were we tempted! A nearby vending machine dispensed 2 Solero popsicles and after the worst meal in Italy, they were the best thing tonite.
We collect a weeks worth of laundry from the room and head out a few blocks, and buy 2 tokens for 3.50E for wash and dry. Got detergent and hand soap and a few other things at grocery store. I bring my computer and ask at the internet place if I can plug in ethernet cord; not possible, then tells this Brit couple in order to use his computers the Pakistani guy needed a Passport! Nutsy. J discovers he has about 10 mosquito bites he thinks from last nite when he wasn't under cover. With his feet protesting, J heads out 10pm for some night pictures of the Duomo. I try to kill small black bugs and a big mosquito in our bathroom. Both of us slept very well indeed!
JudgeDredd says:
"Let E'm Wait!!!"
Posted on: Oct 05, 2008
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Florence
photo by: monky