28 September 2013 Saturday – Florence

Today I was cranky all day. We got up early and drove to the train station, then took the train into Florence. Our first stop was to see Michelangelo's famous statue “David”. The tickets were very expensive—thirty Euros—so I decided to opt out. I saw David in 1989, and I don't need to see him again.

I gave Kathy the good camera and asked her to get good photos. I walked around the town, exploring and watching people. Hundreds of vendors set up little shops in the streets, mostly selling leather goods.

When Kathy, Karen, Skip and Mitzie came out, they told me they were not allowed to take photos! That just seemed absurd: I never use a flash, and even if I did, David is a white marble statue, which can't be damaged by it. Now it seems like they're just trying to piss me off.

After David, we walked to the nearby church with the huge dome. The church was enormous and filled the sky. It was impossible to get a good photo of it because of the nearby buildings. The outside is incredibly beautiful and we took lots of photos.

We heard the inside wasn't very special and there was a huge line, but we waited anyway.

We had tickets to the Ufizi museum for 4:30, so we had some time to kill. First, we went to lunch.

We killed some time walking to the famous bridge where goldsmiths and jewelers sold their wares.

We walked back to the Ufizi museum, and watched the crowds walk by. All around were statues.

One of the statues looked like “David” so I took a photo of that, since we couldn't photograph the real thing.

There were also street musicians and “performers” that were amusing to watch.

I also noticed a very weird street sign. It looked like a policeman hunched over a board that had hearts on it. I have absolutely no clue what it's trying to convey. Maybe “Policemen are not allowed to fall in love while carrying doors”? No clue. Maybe some enlightened Italian will let me know.

I also saw a dove sitting around.

When it got to be the time on our tickets, we went into the museum, which contains a huge number of beautiful paintings, including works by many of the famous artists like Leonardo DaVinci. Again, we were told we couldn't take any photos. Then I was really pissed. I'm starting to think I should just have stayed home and not come to Italy because I can't take any damn photos anywhere.

For some reason, as I went through the museum, I lost track of all four of my companions and they disappeared. I walked through the museum alone. I saw an incredible number of beautiful paintings and statues. Unfortunately, I was so tired, I couldn't appreciate them much. By the time I got out of the museum, I had seen hundreds of paintings. Too bad I can't share photos of them.

We ate dinner near the train station, then rushed to catch the proper train to take us back to our car. Next came the grueling task of driving in the dark to our next destination: a farmhouse in Tuscany where we are staying for the next few days.

When we got to the farm, it was late at night. We tried to find our room, but it was pitch black outside. There were no people; the farm looked abandoned. I pulled out my flashlight and Kathy and I started circling the nearby building. Eventually we found a note on one door that said something about “Mrs. Libowitz, your room is here” and further instructions. However, none of the doors had “Mrs. Peterson” on them. We encircled the building a few times, even going inside and climbing the stairs to the second floor, but there were no clues.

We walked down a nearby path, looking for another building, but it led to a swimming pool, and nothing more. Finally, we determined there was a second building the other direction, and walked over there. Encircling that building, we eventually found one with a note that read “Mrs. Kathy Peterson: This is your room.” We settled in and went to bed, exhausted.