Pat and David are off for 10 days of Italian culture and cuisine, which may be 10 days more than David can consume.
Oct 12, 13
Flying Monday afternoon on a huge AirFrance jet to Paris, connecting to Florence early Tuesday AM, David's luggage didn't make the connection. Always a joy. A tired D&P made a brief stop at the hotel (left) and then walked for miles around historic Florence. Since neither had remembered to bring a map or guidebook, they were often unsure about where the heck they were. So what's new? Here's a charming movie taken in an unsure location.
Wednesday morning David and Pat visited a site of great cultural import. Unfortunately, David cannot at the moment recall what it was. Oh, wait a minute, it was a cathedral, the soaring sanctity of which caused David to take off his hat. A police officer politely helped.
In the afternoon David saw one of Galileo's many genuine telescopes.
Thursday morning witnessed the huge Michelangelo's David, the most amazing part of which was the throngs of elderly tourists with earphones clustering behind guides talking softly into their radio transmitters, all gazing with wonder up at David's butt. The other one. Huge crowds of tourists in the Piazza della Signoria at left, fewer at the Barboli Gardens at right.
Friday was Uffizi day. This museum has thousands of Renaissance and later works of art, and only a few benches. The usual crowds, no photos allowed. It would take a week of visits to do it justice, and David was more interested in sleep than in justice. Uffizzied out, he went back to the hotel for a nap whilst Pat soldiered on.
Saturday was a train ride to Venice. No motor vehicles on the island proper. From the train station, David and Pat took a regularly scheduled public launch to a dock on the northwest side and managed to stumble through a maze to find the hotel. Armed with a GPS, they walked along quiet canals and over many little bridges to find the crowded commercial areas. More later.
First of all, Venice is a huge maze of twisty little alleys, canals and bridges. It seems you cannot walk in a straight line for more than 50 yards without ending up in the water. A GPS receiver is a real help.
Second of all, a GPS is not sufficient. Sunday morning D&P spent about an hour within 200 yards of the Guggenheim Gallery (not marked as a point of interest on the GPS) without being able to find the damn place. Passers-by were no help, Pat finally noticed a clot of waiting tourists in a twisty little alley/canal/bridge, and sure enough. Many modern paintings and sculptures, and an extensive Prendergast exposition. So David ended up Prendergasted as well as Uffizied.
Sunday evening there was a pleasant recital of classical music in the oldest church in Venice. When David's chair squawked, it was in tune with the violins, a revelatory moment.
Monday was More or Less Murano Day. P&D walked to the train station to make sure they could actually leave Venice next Thursday morning in time for a morning flight from the mainland. Then walked across the middle of the island to Yet Another Very Large Church. Then in San Marco Square they were fast-talked by some guy onto a fast-boat to Murano Island, famous home of far too many glass blowers.
On the water bus back to Venice, Pat missed the right stop, all the more reason to arm yourselves with cell phones. Dinner in a nice little Kosher restaurant, thank god.
Pat and David went their separate ways on Tuesday morning, Pat touring the Doges' dungeons, and David walking the southern Venice border. A little adventure when P&D went out at night for dinner: a group of 5 or 6 inebriated young men blocked the way over a small bridge. There was some tousling and pushing. David yelled for the police, hoping to send the toughs scrambling, but instead sending local Italians into hiding! Some last minute shoves, separate ways, no damage done, except for a thoroughly frazzled Pat.
Wednesday was D&P's last full day in Italy. Garbage collection via the canals. School kids with their parents in the morning. Pat headed off to the railroad station for an excursion to Padua. David took a nap.