...or as we worldly travelers like to call it "Firenzi". Compared to Venice and Paris, Florence is a straightforward, no nonsense city with streets lined with--except for the many, many churches and a few embellished structures--straightforward, no nonsense, unmistakably Italian buildings. Very narrow sidewalks make for frequent stepping into the street to avoid oncoming people. Most streets in the heart of the city seem to be one way. Logical.
This is the first hotel I've stayed where no breakfast is provided. No big deal, considering how little I eat. In several of the hotels, a "double bed" is really two single beds pushed together and fitted with larger sheets. Practical, but not particularly comfortable for trying to lie in the middle. This particular hotel, the Meridiana, has an unusual system in that you use the key (old fashioned type) to open the door, then use the same key to lock the door from the inside.
I'd determined today to see Michaelangelo's David...the original in the Galeria del Acadamie, a copy in the Piazza della Signora, just outside the Uffizi. Given the 20 minute-+ walk to the Duomo (a photo of part of it attached), with the Uffizi some distance beyond it, I thought I'd ask the desk clerk (who, thank God, speaks good English and is cute to boot) if I could get there by bus. I was assured I could...the C 1, about a block away. I asked how much the fare was. 1 1/2 euros, but you had to buy a ticket. I thanked him, assuming with my usual lack of accuracy, that the tickets could be purchased at or near the bus stop, and set off. Found a bus stop in the general area of where he said it would be, but had no idea how one bought a ticket. Buying a ticket on the bus itself seemed a bit impractical. So back to the hotel to ask where to buy a ticket. "We sell them here," he said. Uh, excuse me? Wouldn't it have been nice if he'd said that when I asked about the bus. But, as I said, he's cute (though married) so I let it pass. I bought a ticket and then figured I'd just as well walk and perhaps use the ticket on the way back.
OK, then,here are, literally, some notes I took on my walk to (and it turns out, from) the Uffizi:
11:04 a.m. Monday, April 4, 2011. Standing in the center of the legendary Ponte Vecchio (photos posted on Facebook anon), Florence, Italy. Me. Just wanted to preserve the moment.
11:53 Sitting in the Piazza San Giovanni, directly behind the Duomo (the Piazza San Giovanni is attached to the Piazza del Duomo. I had specifically, when planning my trip, set aside two days (only one full) for the specific purpose of seeing Michaelangelo's David (the original in the Galleria del Academie) and the Ufizzi gallery. Now, knowing my luck, would you care to make a wild, wild guess as to what follows that last sentence? And of course you're right. Both are closed today, and I'm leaving for Sorrento in the morning. Well, I got a photo of the copy of David outside the Ufizzi, and outside shots of the Ufizzi. And I did get to see and walk across the Ponte Vecchio Beggars can't be choosers.
When I left the hotel it was quite cool--I was wearing a hoodie with a shirt underneath, which I don't usually do, so went back to my room for my light jacket. Now, at 12:03, it is getting warm enough to remove the light jacket.
Time to move on. Later.
And, slowly, I wended my way back to the hotel to write this. I think I'll go again to the same restaurant I ate at last night and have another bowl of soup...this time the spelt (no idea exactly what it is, but...)
The rail station is about a 20 minute walk from here...just about as far as the Duomo, but there is a bus at the corner, so I think I'll try for that.
And so, dear friends, here we are. Now to work on putting up more photos.
Again, "Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here."