Sunday, June 8, 2008

Finding Florence

Day 88

I was up unbelievably early for my train to Florence. I spent most of the time reading Marley and Me, a book about a mans relationship with his dog. I did nod off a few times, despite my best efforts to stay awake.

I didn't have any problems finding my hostel, no, I'm sorry, campground. It was just 15 minutes on a bus up and above the city. The things I do to save money!

Once I had found my tent, which does lock and has one bunk bed and one single bed in it, I headed right down to Florence.

I found an internet cafe first and let everyone know that I had arrived and worked on the blog a bit. I didn't want waste the whole day though. I headed off to the Accadamia.

The Accadamia is where Michaelangelo's David is housed. I waited in line for about 45 minutes to see this and it was worth it. David isn't the only thing to see here, although it is hard to concentrate on the other pieces knowing that he is coming up soon. The first room had a lot of 16th century church art. Some of it was really misscolored with time and the saints were green. They looked like they had just eaten something bad.

In the hallway leading up to David are four slaves. These are sculptures that Michaelangelo never finished. They look as if they are struggling to get out of the rock. I tried to covertly take a picture. It seemed like the people using flash (huge no-no) were getting away with it so I figured I could do. I was wrong, I got yelled at like I had just tried to steal a cookie from the jar.

David is just amazing. I found it hard to look away. I must have spent about 30 minutes just circling the statue, trying to understand it from every angle. Michaelangelo carved him from a block of marble that had been abandoned in 1502. Since then the base has been struck by lightening in 1512, in 1527 it endured riots, and at some point his left arm was knocked off with a stone. The last one has been repaired and he looks none the worse for all the drama.

When I had finished with David I took a look at the rest of the paintings. I somehow felt that it would be rude not to, but really, they were nothing compared to him. Eventually I just gave up and left.

I really didn't know what to do with myself at this point. I knew that nothing would top what I had just done and I didn't want to take something else fabulous for granted. Eventually I headed to the Santa Croce Cathedral. There were a few notables buried here and I thought that would make me star struck. I was as well, I saw Michaelangelo and Marconi. There was also so pretty fabulous medieval architecture going on here.

I also took a peak into the Duomo, a really fabulous structure. For whatever reason no one was allowed to climb to the dome so I wasn't able to get a very good look at the frescoes.

After walking across the Ponte Vechio, the oldest bridge that has jewelry stores on it, I picked up a sandwich. About halfway up the hill to my campsite it started to pour. Now, when I had left there wasn't a cloud in the sky so I didn't have my umbrella. By the time I reached the top I was a drowned rat.

I was happy to see that I was still the only person in my tent for the night and quickly got myself into some dry clothes. At this point it was not only raining cats and dogs, but also thundering and lightening. Luckily my tent was dry. Still, it was a bit scary. I didn't leave the tent for the rest of the night. I spent the time reading and staying dry.

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