Early in the morning, May 4, 2010 the alarm rings and our day starts, a drive to Sacramento where it takes a map and a phone call to find the address of the person storing the car and driving us to the airport. Not a good start for a 6 week trip to Europe.
But everything is fine from there on, United Airlines is on time and arrives early at Dulles International Airport. The flight from Sacramento to Dulles Airport normally takes four hours and eleven minutes. We had a tail wind so we arrived a little early. A decent lunch and we await the next leg, Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Germany. So far it has been painless, as I read the paper and do Sudako, Judy has finished one book on the new Kindle. The next trip will be the grueling one, but an overnight trip, so we shall see.
The wait for our next flight is four hours. But somehow we end up at the wrong gate and miss the connection. Another one leaves an hour later and we arrive in Frankfort just an hour after our planned flight…however, the problem is our flight to Florence has left, and all flights are full until the next day.
So it is a night at a German Hotel by the airport, and a trip to downtown Frankfurt on the subway for the day of May 5, 2010. We find this fantastic shopping center called “My Zie” which has a glass tube going through it from the front to the top of the building. Very modern (and expensive inside) At the Food Mall there was every kind of food (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Italian) except German. So we went on the street for some German food. And the good news was we were able to change both out reservations in Florence and the Walking Tour of Florence and famous art galleries to the following days without added costs.
Arriving in Florence, it is raining. Luckily I had brought an umbrella, and Judy had a hood on her coat, and our room at Katti House were only a few blocks away. After lunch, we explored the town, (all within a 20 minute walk from our rooms. I recognized all the 14th century buildings and main historical sightseeing spots from my three months of playing “Assassin’s Creed II, a Play Station 3 video game!! Assassin’s Creed II is set in the 13th century with a very realistic recreation of the cities of Florence, Rome, Tuscany and some other minor towns. The historical buildings are in the game with a history of the time they were built and by whom.
We visited both the Galileo Science History Museum, and the Da Vinci Museum, to find tons of fascinating inventions and scientific findings, that were then somewhat lost through the dark ages to be rediscovered later.
On Friday we had three (3!) different Walking/Art Tours of Florence. The first walked us through the history of the city from Roman times, with a small walled city and tiny streets, through the Renaissance, with a second set of walls, further out, and then a third set making the town very large, to now where of course the city expands past all those walls, most of which were ripped down and re-used to build other buildings, churches, etc. We went inside the Beautiful Duomo, once the largest Church in Christendom, made entirely of white, green, and pink marble from Tuscany. Fantastic! You could see one side, recently cleaned and the other being restored with much soot and dirt on its outer walls. Luckily the current mayor of Florence has 4 weeks ago ordered all traffic diverted from the area, so hopefully the dirt build up won’t happen so fast. Much better for us pedestrians too!
See Google Map below for location
The Uffizi courtyard was filled with famous originals (and some copies) from famous Renaissance sculptors. The Orsanmichele Church, in the 9th century was a market place, later turned into a church (with grain stored in the top two floors) because miracle started happening in front of a picture of the Madonna in the market! And Point Vecchio, the famous bridge in Florence, filled with gold sellers, and the crossing place for the “Prince’s passageway” the Vasari Corridor, allowing the ruling Medici family to go from the Pitti Palace ( their home) to the Uffizi (the center of government) without having to go out in public (including the smells), or be subjected to the dangers of open courtyards (the ever ready thief or assassin). We then toured the Uffizi itself ,packed full or famous artist’s works, and then to the Accademia, to view Michelangelo’s David, a truly amazing sculpture carved out of marble, with no models, working from the top – down to the feet.
By the way, I have a new Samsung camera which has GPS built in. That way, I get a map and location of where the pictures were taken. Kind of neat, since I’ve taken many pictures and wondered later where they were taken.