The only solitude I’ve had during these past two days has been my early morning walks while Em and Abby sleep in and catch up on jet lag. This is so fine with me. We have having a wonderful time walking the city, seeing the sights and doing some shopping.
Yesterday we wandered around in the rain, did some preliminary shopping, enjoyed a couple of delicious meals, and took a tour of the Piazza della Signoria. We made reservations to visit the Uffizi and Academia on Tuesday and climb the Duomo on Wednesday.
It is sunny and warm this morning as I sit at one of my go-to cafes and write. Abby repaired my IPhoto program which had somehow failed, but I notice this morning that yesterday’s photos didn’t transferred from my camera to computer. So please accept this blog as my meager way of letting you all know that life is good in Florence. These pictures of last nights dinner ought to suffice.
A random financial report from Florence.
A few years ago I reported:
• Fewer gypsies begging on the streets: they are back!
• Fewer Africans selling pictures, gadgets, and umbrellas: they are back.
• Cappuccino still costing 1.20 euro: standard price now,1.30.
• Across the board, fees for all museums and churches have gone up.
• All restaurants now add a cover or service charge to the bill.
• The charge for food hasn’t gone up. AND, as they say, “You can’t get a bad meal in Italy.” I agree.
Cemeteries have always been a wonder of mine. I recall growing up and playing in one right on the road at the corner of a friend’s house. We made up all kinds of signals to attract cars going by and then would run and hide behind a old tombstone and watch to see if we were noticed.
If I were a kid now, I’d be playing hide-and-seek in the HUGE cemetery that surrounds three sides of San Miniato al Monte. It is no exaggeration to estimate that 100,000, yes, one hundred thousand souls have found their burial rest there. I say rest because from the reverence inscribed on the stones and the uniqueness of the statuary there is no doubt that family members believe it important to give their loved ones a place of eternal, loving rest.
The cemetery opened around 1864 and continues to offer rest in 2019. Family members come to tend the family graves. Whether they leave fresh, or artificial flowers (its difficult to tell the difference) their intention to show their love bursting forth.
I’ve wandered this cemetery on every visit I’ve made to Florence, in all seasons. My sense of wonder never ends; I could take 100,000 pictures and each would be a wonder.
This trip I’m taking a friends suggestion and picking a word to guide my days. My word is Wonder. Since I’ve been to Florence so often in the last ten years, I feel a need to change my focus so that my current visit stays vibrant and novel. New wonders to go along with the old wonders.
Today’s Wonder involved garbage collection on the streets of Florence, where no garbage is to be seen. Instead, subterranean containers are available throughout the city, each labeled to indicate where to deposit organic, recyclable plastics and cardboard, and non-recyclable items. What a wonder to watch the garbage trucks come through and pick up a container, dump it in the truck, return the container, and then move on to the next. Most trucks pick up only one kind of garbage, but I’ve seen bigger ones with separate sections for each.
I took these pictures in the morning when delivery and service trucks of all sorts come to prepare the historic center for the tourists. But I imagine that these trucks are busy all over the city throughout day.
I arrived at my beloved city at 1:30 PM yesterday, which was 7:30 AM in Boston. In 15 hours I had traveled by car (from home), bus (to Logan Airport), plane (to Dublin), plane (to Rome), and train (to Florence). That itinerary does not include airport walking in Dublin or Rome, or street walking to my favorite apartment in Florence.
Flights and train were on time or early; I caught enough naps to take my first Florence walk and enjoy a favorite meal at Fa Fa, my go-to-first-night restaurant.
I chose to take pictures of the crowds that I met on my first Florence walk of this trip. Please don’t let the word crowds scare you; Florence is always filled with tourists and locals. Why wouldn’t you visit a walking city that is safe and filled with museums, historic churches, yummy restaurants, and a bar on every street corner? Actually crowds is a misnomer. How about ‘many people enjoying themselves’? And of course you can always take an early morning walk!
I’m sitting here in the AR (Angel Room), looking at a painting of the Duomo by my niece Amy Jennings, and anticipating that in 24 hours Jim will be driving me to the Logan Airport bus. I fly Dublin-Rome and take a train to Florence to spend ten days in the shadow of this awesome church.
Yesterday Jim announced how happy he was anticipating my trip, both for me and for him. “I get to travel vicariously when you go, and I know you love it so.”
How lucky am I? I get to give him joy by giving myself joy, and he gets to give me joy by doing the same for himself. This isn’t only about anticipating; it’s about cherishing the moment, which is all we really have, just moment after moment, Now after Now.
On my early morning walk yesterday I witnessed the start of the demolition of the locks of love from the fence surrounding the bust of Cellini on the Ponte Vecchio. I wondered why they were bothering?
It took all day.
It’s beginning again. Early this morning I counted three new locks. I love the idea of new locks starting the cycle of love all over again.
A sunny day is my preference--for picture taking and lightness of mood.
The cost of a cappuccino is slowly rising. My favorite café still charges 1.20 euro, but 1.30 is becoming standard in the bars that attract the locals. Along the tourist route, expect to pay 1.40 or 1.50. The cafe I’m in now, charges 2.00 for its contemporary ambience.
Two years ago I noticed a decline in the number of Africans selling pictures, umbrellas and gadgets. The gypsies begging for money had disappeared. Now they are back in full view. I chose not to photograph.
This morning I passed two raised umbrellas in two different spots along the street. Later when I passed by again, an elderly man was arising after his night’s sleep. Still later someone else was all covered up, I assume sleeping. I chose not to photograph.
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