Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Time: 9:53 pm local time/3:53 pm EST
Place: Florence, Italy
I have no clue when I’ll be able to post this, and the one from two days ago, and for the rest of this week. I’m having really crummy internet service, and have been running around all over the place, so I haven’t had a chance to do anything about it…
This post will focus on yesterday’s events, since I didn’t get back to the room until about 11:30 at night. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We left our Venetian hotel about 9 am on Tuesday, which allowed us to take our train trip to Florence, arriving a little before lunch. One of our first orders of business was to go find some food, and I had a hankering for some pasta. The two days we spent in Venice were not especially great days for Pasta, because Pasta is more from Tuscany than Venice. But now we were in Tuscany, and I wanted some Pasta.
We went into a market that felt like a mall food court, but at least three stories tall. We looked around for a few minutes, then decided on a particular restaurant. The menu was completely in Italian, so I only knew a few words, one of which was funghi, which means mushroom. So I ordered some sort of pasta (more of a fettucine shape than spaghetti, but it had a different name) with funghi e pomodori, which are tomatoes. Luckily for me, there were very few mushrooms, and the tomatoes were ground up into a wonderful sauce. The mushrooms that were there I donated to Mrs. Goddard.
Our large group met up outside a church (whose name is escaping me) where Lorenzo de Medici is buried. We were going to head up to Il Duomo (the Dome, the most famous church in Florence) to look inside it and at the doors to the baptistery (which is actually outside the church). The city wanted to have the doors to the baptistery decorated, so they put on a contest between the best artists in the area. They were to submit a foot-square relief sculpture that could be hung on the door. Their topic was Abraham sacrificing Isaac. A man named Ghiberti won the prize, and was awarded the contract to decorate the doors of the baptistery.
Next we went into the church, and looked around for a few minutes. They did a better job, I thought, than San Marco in Venice at keeping an air of awe and reverence, but it was still too touristic for my tastes. I wanted to take some pictures, but I knew that my pictures wouldn’t do justice to the beauty inside the church, so I went looking for a gift shop, which was downstairs.
When I got upstairs again, Mrs. Goddard came up to me and said that they had made sculptures of the founders of the church. These weren’t the rich people of the church, but the architect, and the organist, etc. We went around and found the sculpture of the organist, which was really quite special. Ideally church musicians do their work solely for the glory of God, but it is very nice to be recognized by the powers that be.
From Il Duomo we went up the Pont Avecchio, which is a bridge where, for hundreds of years, the gold- and silversmiths have had their shops. It was nice to see them, though I knew they would be horribly overpriced, so I didn’t even pay much attention. We were then given free time, and were allowed to do whatever. The adults (Laughlin, Goddard, and Diller) wanted to go out to eat, but us kids weren’t necessarily hungry (and weren’t necessarily invited, either), so the three of us (Joel, Kaiti, and I) just puttsed around the city, stopping at Steven Blondo’s favorite Gellataria, where I got mint.
We met up with the adults a few hours later, and Joel, Dr. Lauglin, and Dr. Diller headed back to the hotel. They were pooped. I stayed with Mrs. Goddard and Kaiti to watch the fireworks (which weren’t scheduled to start until 10, and it was only 7:30 or so). The fireworks were to celebrate the feast day of St. John the Baptist, who is the patron saint of Florence. We had the best possible place to sit, too. I sat on the wall almost right up to the river, just outside the Uffizi gallery. The Pont Avecchio was (I think) behind us, and we were looking away from it. We spent the whole time talking, sometimes about religion, sometimes about literature.
When the fireworks started I was less than impressed, but as they continued on, I grew to appreciate them more and more. It was just amazing to see how different they could be and how much they could do. What was so strange to me, though, until I realized where I was, was the colors they used. I didn’t see a single blue firework. They would do red, white, and then wouldn’t do blue. Instead they did green, which is their other color.
The firework show lasted most of an hour, and it was really quite fun to watch. They really outdid themselves, though they didn’t outdo Epcot. After the show was over, the three of us walked back to the hotel, where, almost immediately, I crashed and fell asleep.
More tomorrow, my battery (and my computer’s battery) are about to die.
Love to all!
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.