Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 16 - A date with David and our last night in Florence

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We set off for Florence at 7:00 am and stopped for pictures at Piazzelli Michelangelo, worth a stop for a view of Florence from across the river, then hoped that, by some chance, we could get into our room at the Holiday Inn on via Europa.  When we arrived at the hotel they had a room ready for us! We checked in and took the bus down to the Duomo.

The plan was to stay the last night in Florence so it would be easy to get to the airport the next day and we could have a nice dinner in Florence on our last night.

The Academia, where David resides,  has two entrances – one with reservations and one without. When taking an escorted tour (like Trafalgar or Insight), group passengers have priority and  get quick entrance, a good reason to take escorted tours. Since we  had made a reservation, we went in quite quickly as well, but I must tell you there was a very long line up for those who didn't. After going through security and renting the guided tour tapes, we proceeded into the gallery. We admired the paintings and  then visited  the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition, which was very interesting.

After exiting that exhibit, we entered the hallway leading to David.  I’m not sure I can describe the feeling I had when we spotted David – under the skylight – standing so tall and really so incredibly stunning. I actually felt quite emotional.  Learning about  Michelangelo creating him and the years it took, are all very fascinating, but it was so much more.  When you are standing in a place looking at something  that you have seen in  pictures  and have heard so much about - and you are actually really there - standing in front of it - whether it be a place or a building or suddenly becomes magical. Walking around David and seeing him from behind, a view you rarely see in pictures  – gave a whole different perspective. You can actually see the stone in his hand and the sling that he used when slaying Goliath. Guided groups came and left while we were there – but there were a couple of chairs so  we sat and soaked it all in, after all, we had the luxury of time...

We toured the rest of the gallery then headed to the streets for a Gelato.

We said goodbye to Florence and took the bus back to the hotel. By the way, you have to buy bus tickets at a tobacco store. We bought one ticket which gave us 4 bus rides – two for me and two for Dan.  When you get on the bus there is a machine to validate the ticket - an honour system.

On the way home, an auditor came on the bus and checked everyone’s tickets!

We refreshed ourselves then set out by foot to have dinner - our last night out in Italy.

It was a romantic candlelit dinner. There was a concert nearby and we laughed because the sounds of Jan Arden filled the air.  We talked about the trip ...yes it was the last night but  wasn’t really over......
What did this trip mean to us?  For about  48 weeks a year we work hard and follow the direction of what other people want from our lives.  This was our opportunity to recharge  and do whatever we wanted to do.    We stopped to smell the flowers - so many of them - because we could.  The nature and design of the trip was the highlight - we could sleep in or not - mostly not...  Sometimes we were up before the sun in order to catch the sunrise.  We also gave each other a chance to do our own thing - me with my cooking classes and Dan taking time to photograph whatever he desired.  The older we get, the more the reality  exists that we may never get to these places again and whatever experience we have, may need to last a lifetime.  So for the short time we were visitors in this beautiful country, we like to think that we were also participants - getting our chickens from the local farmer, having a morning coffee in the  village cafe with the locals and buying our bread from the baker - following the natural rhythm of the place.  And while doing this, we also met like-minded people from other countries and all walks of life. 
There is a very special feeling when you  share a place with someone you care about - It's about sitting on the side of a country road watching Dan wander through the sunflower fields working so hard to capture that feeling in images...and knowing that he got pleasure greeting me after my pasta lesson waving my graduation certificate and showing my handmade penne.
We saw so many interesting and stunning places...we are so fortunate. 
Thank you Dan,  for an incredible unforgettable experience...I love you...

What is next?  ...stay tuned for our trip to Greece....
Until we travel again...


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