August 26, 2009
I am back from Garmisch and basking in the fact that I have nothing particular to do today. I’ve pretty much loved everything I’ve seen in Europe, but I also rather enjoy the days where I get to sleep in, saunter down to the bakery after breakfast, and (in all probability) spend a couple hours reading, computing, and languishing on the couch. We are all zipping off to Bad Windsheim tonight to eat dinner with Jon and Linda, but I trust that falls in the languishing category instead of sight-seeing.
Anywho, I wanted to finish putting down some notes on Venice and Florence. Oh, but before I get there, I need to post this for Jane:
I believe the words are, “I didn’t know he was invited!” This, at least, is not too modern of a style.
Venice was fabulous, but by the afternoon we were all hot and hungry and starting to feel sick. We had a second wind after getting pizza and Coke at a cafe about a block away from the Rialto Bridge. We wandered through the shops, and Steve and I watched Mom and Dad buy things. Admired some 600 euro shirts and ties, not to mention the 120 euro scarlet jeans. We didn’t stay long enough to see San Marko’s by night, but our last hurrah was a second walk around San Marko’s and down by the open-ish water.
Shopping at San Marko’s.
I thought I should include an uber-classic picture of Venice.
The Tuscan countryside, by the way, seems to be predominantly dominated by crops. Tons of flat expanses of green vineyards and cornfields and such. Very gorgeous.
Florence (have I mentioned?) was 40 degrees C, which is 104 F. Our hotel was on the third floor with no air conditioning, and we had four people crammed into a single room. Not to mention that there was a ceiling leak in our bathroom and the lights in said bathroom didn’t work. On the plus side, we were only 200 meters from the Duomo, and we could walk to everything we wanted to see.
Speaking of the Duomo:
The Duomo proved to be much too much big to capture in a single shot, but here’s a decent representative. The green/pink theme looked so good.
The Duomo was not as ornate inside per square inch as some of the Gothic German cathedrals we saw, but it was just so huge.
The next morning, we bustled off to the Gallery of the Academy. There were not actually that many rooms, but the walls were just covered in paintings. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, although I was tempted to sneak a photo of the David. At seventeen feet tall, David is crazy impressive and realistic. There was also this room stuffed full of Lorenzo Bottecelli (?) statues. The walls featured rows of busts of then-famous people, and the walkways were narrow for all the Allegories of such-and-such virtue on the floor.
We also made it into the Uffizi, although tickets had been sold out back when we first planned the trip. They apparently start letting tourists filter into the Uffizi during the afternoon after enough people have left. We only had an hour and a half or so, so we pretty much ran through the whole thing. I have vague memories of the Birth of Venus and da Vinci’s The Annunciation and Rembrandt’s self-portrait, but it’s all pretty much run together in my mind at this point. I still distinctly remember, however, wondering what good Perseus’s helmet would be in battle since he wasn’t wearing any other clothes at all.
We also followed Lucy Honeychurch’s steps to the Piazza Della Signora and Santa Croce. Unfortunately, Steve and I couldn’t get into Santa Croce because we had only briefly separated from Dad and Mom and didn’t have the ten euro in cash.
The porch near the Piazza Della Signora.
Santa Croce, and we didn’t even have a little bit of Baedeker.
We also walked along the Arno and I got a view similar to the other outside Lucy’s hotel window, but the sun was behind my view and I couldn’t get a good picture.
I spent 13 hours in the car and on trains the next day, driving from Florence to Munich and training from Munich to Marktbergel. Of course, Steve and I hopped a wrong train from the Munich airport heading toward Ottenhofen before correcting ourselves and re-routing for Ottenhofen-Bergel. As Steve said in parody of Lucy Honeychurch, “After an appalling journey in which our brains went missing not once but twice, we escaped Florence.”