Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The wee beasties

There is a whole lot of this going on these days:

As soon as I sit down, I am bedecked with black cats. I can't complain - it's getting colder, but we're waiting for a part to arrive for the woodstove so we can't use it til Thursday. So we keep each other warm. 

This was the configuration this morning. Last night, my view of the TV was obscured:

Ahhh, but Charlie wasn't even on me - he was on Kevin. 

Wee beasties: endless entertainment.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The sensory overload that is Florence.

We arrived in Florence at the end of a long day that involved flights from Rhodes to Athens, Athens to Rome, and Rome to Florence. That last one was a bit delayed, so we didn't arrive until past 10:30 pm.  By now, I was pretty hungry, but Kevin assured me we'd have no problem getting pizza around the corner from our hotel. And around the corner from our hotel translated, happily, to in the shadow of the Duomo. Several restaurants were in full swing, and I lost no time in inhaling a pizza margherita. I had visited Florence as a child but somehow retained zero memories of the Duomo, which seems improbable given its impossibly awesome ... everything.

The only bummer about sleeping steps away from a huge cathedral is the bells. Which did not sound the hour, or as near as I could tell, any interval thereof. They were on their own rhythm, three to eight bongs, every once in a while. But I wasn't complaining. The next morning I began a three day project to capture the majesty of the Duomo. 

By afternoon light...

Morning light...

And by floodlight at night, to the accompaniment of most excellent buskers.

chose not to invest my limited waiting-in-line mojo on getting inside; I spent that instead in going to see the David the following morning:

He is scrumptious. 

I spent most of the two full days we had in Florence simply wandering around. It is common to go into sensory overload here - it even has a name: Stendahl Syndrome. I succumbed to this before I even set foot in any museums. The window shopping alone filled my brain with so many textures and colors that I had a hard time falling asleep at night. 

Mom, that one was for you. :)

At one point I came to my senses and made my way back to the Duomo, to the adjacent Baptistery, to see Ghiberti's famed doors.


And a colleague of Kevin's scored me a ticket to the Uffizi, thus sparing me hours in line, and I dutifully trudged around with hundreds of my fellow tourists to gape over such classics as...





(Very cool ceilings)

The rooftop of the Uffizi features a balcony where we all tried to get pictures of the Duomo. I wasn't tall enough, but I found a workaround. 

One of our evenings we ate out with Kevin's colleagues and oh my god, when the chef tells you to eat wild mushrooms because they're in season, I highly advise doing just that. The four glasses of wine I consumed went down like water. Normally that would be enough to send me slithering under the table.  I attribute my stamina to the conversation, the accompanying food, and maybe the fact that it was a varietal I normally wouldn't have tried. Afterwards we went out for ... yes, gelato. Imagine if you will.

And there you have it. Florence.

I could easily spend more time in any of the places we visited on this trip. I felt like a beautiful appetizer tray was presented to me, and I soaked up as much as I could. But there is so, so much more to see and appreciate!

We have no international work trips on the horizon at the moment, so I'm just going to have to let this trip satisfy me for a while.