September 26, 2006. More flexibility…

We have realized that the plans we made in March may have been a bit aggressive. Dad warned me that we might not get it all done. And so, we cancelled our night in Assisi and were able to get an extra night in our Florence hotel, Hotel Enza. The hotel has lots of paintings on the walls and many staircases, nooks and crannies, where rooms are situated. Old dark rooms with doors that lock from the inside with the key. You can get breakfast at the hotel, but we opted for some local flavor by going to a neighborhood bar for prima colazione. Shelden was able to get eggs, toast, OJ and a cappuccino for 6 euro!
Tuesday, we decided to do some different things. Mark and Vicki wanted to go to some of the art museums and shop. Sue, Jerry, Shelden and I wanted to go to Lucca but first we needed to do some laundry. I wasn’t sure of the plan so I got up, showered and went to find an open Laundromat. Shelden suggested one on Via Nazionale but it was closed. So I walked around and found one on Via Guelpha ( Shelden calls it Via Goofy). Sue and Jerry were just getting there as well. I asked where Vicki was and Jerry said they were stuck in there room because when he knocked on the door, Vicki tried to unlock the door and the key broke off in the lock.
They were able to get out of their room using tweezers and a gadget on the end of Shelden’s pocket watch. Mark and Vicki went to the Museo del Opera del Duomo which is right behind Santa Maria Dei Fiore, the Cathedral in Florence. The Duomo is built from 3 different types of Italian Marble. It is a beautiful sight, white, pink and green marble. The Duomo has an amazing dome that was engineered at a time when the architect didn’t have the tools we have today and yet it stands perfectly.
Across from the Duomo is the Baptistery. It is a smaller structure made of the same marble. The doors are made of bronze and were sculpted using mathematical principals to achieve a true 3-d effect.
To me, this whole area is overwhelming. The size of the Duomo is eerie!
Mark and Vicki also visited Piazza della Republica, the bell tower, the Bargello, which used to be a prison and is now a national museum housing the works of Michelangelo, Donatello, Ceillini, and the Loggia Dei Lanzi. They trekked all over these areas and finally climbed the mountain to the Piazzalle, Michelangelo.
After we finished our laundry, we walked to the train stazione and bought tickets for Lucca. Lucca is a walled city – not very large, but filled with beauty and people whizzing up and down the hills on bicycles and motor scooters. Cars are also allowed for travel in the city of Lucca; however it must be difficult as the streets are so narrow. Every corner, in fact, has large metal bars the size of tree trunks, many with scrapes on them. I suspect those bars have saved many a corner of a building in Lucca. We had a wonderful pranzo, did some shopping and then Shelden, Jerry and Sue climbed a tower which had a garden at the top, complete with trees and a magnificent view of the town and surroundings. We were going to rent bikes and ride around the city on the ramparts, but it was getting late. So we stood in line for tickets for the return trip.
Lucca
People will tell you that Italians are very laid back and like to get things done in their own time. As we stood in line at the single open window for tickets, trying to get tickets for the 5:32 back to Florence, a man who stood two people in front of us was trying to get tickets to Pisa. There may have been some issue because he was speaking loudly and rapidly to the ticket man who often answered back loudly and rapidly. I glanced over the shoulder of the people in front of us and noticed he was trying to get tickets for SATURDAY!!!! At the height of rush hour! And it wasn’t going smoothly.
We did get back to Florence and left a note for Mark and Vicki to meet us for dinner. We went to a little Osteria and Mark walked in, said they’d already eaten and were at the Laundromat, stop by when we were done. When we arrived at the Laundromat, Mark and Vicki greeted us with paper cups full of wine, introduced us to another American couple who had their own wine, and invited us to share with them!
Ah, Italia!

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Filed under Family, Italian Adventure, Italy

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