Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Italy Part 2: Florence and Rome

 After spending quality time with the Rudmanns in southern Italy, we hopped on the train (yay fast trains) and zipped up to Florence at the end of December. Paul (and the girls, of course) had never been to Florence so I had scheduled trips to L'Academia, home of Michelangelo's David, and the Uffizi Gallery.  I had never seen the real David, as it was under restoration (or the gallery was) when I last visited with my parents. It definitely lived up to expectations - it was amazing.  Paul walked around and took pictures and sketched - I amused the kids, and even they were amazed.  I asked them, "What's the first thing you notice about David?" And of course the response from both of them was "His penis." So...what ELSE do you notice about David? So we got into a conversation about his ear and is hair, and what that thing over his shoulder was (explaining a slingshot to a kid who's never seen one...?)
 Between the two galleries we had New Years Eve and New Years Day, a national holiday when just about everything was closed.  On New Year's Eve, I woke up at 12:20 to the sound of multiple explosions...they must have gone on 30 or 40 minutes. Italians really love their fireworks! New Year's Day was quiet - I went up to San Miniato in Monte (truly, on a mountain, I was glad it was just me climbing) and Paul took the kids to the park.

The Uffizi was amazing, much better than I remember, although probably tortuous for Claire (3) - I think the yogurt break (pictured below right) was her favorite part - and strangers were commenting on Audrey (6) because she was sitting and drawing the artworks in her notebook.

As we walked around town, we kept passing by Santa Maria Novella (below left), and it always looked gorgeous - I kept taking pictures of it.

On our way to the Uffizi early in the morning, we had some more gorgeous Florence moments with buildings and bridges reflected in the still water of the River Arno.

Spending New Years in Florence also meant some beautiful lights; the illuminated tree by the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) in the center of town, and the lit-up merry go round (only 1 euro to ride for a kid!) and building in the Piazza della Repubblica.

Florence also had some amusing graffiti

We finished our trip in Rome, discovering that in the ten years since we'd been there, the Italians got things together and were now charging for entrance to the Forum as well as the Colosseum, but the access to the forum was much improved - in 2005 it was just one path through the Forum, but now you can walk around quite a bit .Claire was posing (below right) and some random tourists even asked if they could take her picture, she was so cute.

By the time we got home (back through Amsterdam and Glasgow again) we were ready to be back.  I had made reservations for a train from Glasgow to Dundee that departed about 1 hour and 5 minutes after we were due to arrive at the airport.  I figured we'd never make it, and have to get a later train.  But Paul was determined...and we made it, thanks to a (relatively) speedy trip through Passport control and great timing with the bus from the airport to the train station - after that we were ready to say Hooray, UK. And of course open presents, because Santa (and our families) left just about all the Christmas presents in Scotland.

Although the trip had its downsides (Paul being ill for most of the trip chief among them) we had a great time overall, and achieved all our goals - seeing the Rudmanns! More light! Families getting along! And of course beautiful scenery, great art, and some good food as well.

Follow this link to read about the first part of our Italy trip!

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