Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 7: Florence

Mom had told me that when we went to Florence, we would be blown away by the "Wedgewood Church," or The Duomo of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore. As we made it through weaving the streets, this appeared before us. Again, the camera can't capture the unbelievable colors.

There was a procession for St. John's Day (I think) the day we went, so the crowds were enormous!

The Baptistry right behind the Duomo.

Griffin's reaction to hearing what we were doing for the day.

Maggie and Ellie on our way to the Academy Galleria to see the David. The lines were so long we decided that we were okay seeing the replica in the Piazza della Signoria on our way to the Uffizi.

The Piazza della Signoria with the fake David

The fake David

It's no "lamb and the lion," but what about the "the pigeon and the lion"?

What we ate for lunch. Notice that the sandwiches are not refrigerated, but they were slug-free. The fruit was excellent!

You may remember from the Rome post that I love posing with street performing statues. There were three in a row outside the Uffizi. John took a photo of one and video of the other two. They scared Ellie (you'll notice I'm always the one close to them), but I love it!

The Uffizi houses The Birth of Venus by Botticelli, as well as other works by Titian and Caravaggio. We waited in line for two hours (going back and forth to see the statues in the piazza and grab some lunch, as well as visiting Ponte Vecchio). I was so proud of how well Griffin did in the museum. He stayed with me the whole time and hardly complained. The worst part of the whole experience is that the art is on the second floor, so you walk up what seemed like five flights of steps (and there were a lot in each flight!) before reaching the gallery.

The Ponte Vecchio used to house butcher shops, but now it's filled with jewelry and souvenir shops. It was built in its present form in 1345 and is the only bridge that wasn't destroyed by the Nazis in their Italy withdrawal.As we were leaving, we came upon this sight in the tunnel leading to the train station.

This woman had collapsed from heat exhaustion at the bottom of the stairs. We hollered for Terri and she promptly assessed the woman and her situation. We decided that it was good carma because since we spent that little bit of extra time, we were able to make our train without any problem!

At days' end, Kevan looked at his pedometer and realized that we had walked nearly 10 miles that day! From that time on, John and I set the pedometers on our phones and kept track of our daily mileage. Needless to say, Griffin again ate everything on his plate. We ate at a local restaurant that became a family favorite. We ate there four of the remaining seven nights! What astounded me was how much water we would drink each night. I know we sweated it off because I felt the river flowing down my back! When we came in, they would bring two bottles of water: one with "gas" or bubbles, and one without. Not many of us drank the frizzante water, so we would down the plain water in seconds. By the time we left, they knew that it was almost a 1:1 ratio (one bottle of water per person), and at 3 euro a bottle ($4.50), they made up for our lack of alcohol in water alone.

It was here that Ian had his first calzone, something the father of his best friend told him he had to try while in Italy.

My favorite meal there was the gnocchi with gorgonzola and nuts. It was probably the most delicious meal I've ever had. Since the Griesemer group was heading off to Venice for three days, we decided to join them for the trip down, so day 8 was to Venice!

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