-E.B. White

Sunday, December 4, 2011

OK LET'S GET ER DONE - SEPT. 21 - 23RD - FLORENCE.  It was our last stop on the trip, and now that we have figured out most of the transportation systems, we decided to drop our car off at the airport and enjoy Florence via bus, train, walking or taxi.  A vehicle in Italian cities is almost always a liability, but outside of the cities it is often crucial (they did have a train strike while we were there - so in hindsight we were glad we had rented it).    

Panda Fiat returned to Hertz - dent free, a bit on the dusty dirty side, and filled with fuel (at $8.00 plus a gallon).
Took the bus to within a couple blocks of our hotel - so again, dragging our bags thru the city streets. Naps were in order before our evening round of sightseeing. Our butts are starting to drag - and by now it's become extremely difficult to look at another piece of art, church, museum or bridge - but here we go.
We hiked to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge which was built in 1345 and spans the Arno River.  The shops on the bridge now house Goldsmiths and Jewelers.
We also toured the Accademia Gallery where the focal point is the original David, moved here in 1873. Commissioned in 1501, Michaelangelo was then just 26 six years old.   A Plexiglas barrier surrounds the sculpture and no photos are allowed. However, copies of the statue are throughout the city.
 Seems like alot of work - only to be washed away during a rain storm.
and how fun, a totally white wedding - street side.
The next morning up early with the garbage truck - heading out for our last day of looky loo.
Another copy of the David - it's starting to get old.

I don't even want to know what is going on here.

Hams hanging in the butcher shop - nice chandelier.
The David at Piazzale Michelangelo - from this lookout you have a marvelous view of Florence and the surrounding hills.  

Overlooking Florence

Ponte Vechio Bridge
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo

and more - it's breathtaking

and this guy is still at it - what a way to earn a living.

Serious mounds of Gelato

Last Gelato Fix

This is starting to look like a good idea - it's been a long day.

The White one is a one seater van and the blue one is a two seater - our future?

Cargo Van?

Incredible Designer Dresses - this city is a shoppers dream - we resisted lots of purchases - Deb did bring home a cute little leather purse.

The lock thing continues here.

It's our last night here, so after recommendation from our hotel we decided to do the traditional thing and eat a Florentine Steak at the famous Za-Za's.  This is the towns culinary pride and joy - it's a thick slab of beef, resembling a T-bone steak, from large white oxen called Chiamina.  The meat's slapped on the grill and served rare, sometimes with a pinch of salt.  (We were not aware of these details till after returning home).  It's always seared on both sides, and just barely cooked inside (experts say five minutes per side, and then 15 minutes with the bone sitting perpendicularly on the grill).  To ask for it more well done is to incure disdain; some restaurants simply won't serve it any other way but rare. The Salad, again was incredible.

This was actually after we sent it back to be cooked a little more - we did not know you should not do that.

Ok, so the desert was to die for.  This trip has been amazing - Taxi to airport at 5:00 AM - Back to real life.

Chow little buddy!

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