Tuesday, July 29, 2008
On the way to Florence
I swear I posted this before but must have accidently erased it while trying to clean up the pronunciation marks. So I may be repeating myself. Saturday morning we left at 5 am to go Firenze. Right outside of Castel Ieri, only 5 miles away, we saw a pack of wild boars including little boarettes running across a field. Cinghiale. To get anywhere , we have a 30 minute hair raising ride up and down this steep pass. The bus takes up alot of space and honks on the blind switchbacks. It is actually safer at night because of the headlights. We passed though the provinces of Lazio, Umbria and Toscanna i.e. Tuscany in which Florence is in stopping at an Autogrille for breakfast, which surprisingly has very fresh baked goods for a highway rest stop. Buying stuff is a pain because you have to pay first telling them what you want without being able to point, hard for the language impaired. English is not an option. Umbria and Tuscany are more populated and less mountainous than Abruzzo. Lots of fields of sunflowers but they grow alot of other crops too. Still every town has its own hill to be on top of. We had to wait quite awhile on the outskirts of town to get a permit to let the bus inside the city center. It was very hot just sitting there. The town center is quite small and everyone wants to be there. We stayed at the Albergo Firenze right in the center, which was a luxury for us with semi private bathrooms, hot water, drains that actually drain, unlimited coffee. Dana, Nancy and I walked for miles taking pictures, eating gelato, shopping, etc. We ate at a homestyle Tuscan restaurant recommended by Rick Steve's. Good. It was nice to walk at night, the monuments were all lit up, it wasn't hot, lots of street performers, parades, music. Everything was so special. I don't think there is any other city in which so much beauty is concentrated in such a small space. The Duomo is the most ornate catherdal I've seen covered with inlaid green, white, black and rose marble designs. It is huge.