February 21st, 2006

ian and viv

A day in Florence

Started ealy with a top-grade Hilton beakfast: although the food was the same, it wasn't quite the same. I also reckon that over all, Italian food seems sweeter than English or Kiwi fare. Then a quick taxi ride to the Uffizi gallery, where the queue took a while. Adults pay €6.50, Europeans under 18 don't pay at all (if they have brought their passports). It is a truly magnificent place, with a large number of marble busts from Roman times and many pictures from most centuries since. Yes, we saw Botticelli's Birth of Venus, the most famous work there. But there are so many other inspirational works there. Just over half-way, it was pat lunchtime and we were suffering art overload and so we went for a light snack in the caffetteria there. Don't do it. A can of Coke was €5 - equivalent to £3.42 or $5.94 (NZ$8.92) - not at all good. Still, after that we went off to the Duomo, the massive cathedral in Venice with a length of 153m and a width of 90m - immense! Matthew clearly won't pass for a Catholic, as he was not yet adept at acquiring, lighting and paying for a votive candle. I suppose he'll learn how it's done.
The dome bears images of heaven, earth and hell and we studied it from close to by climbing up the top of the tower, where there are two balconies on the inside, one at mural level and one just below. The climb goes higher still, and takes in a lot of Florence skyline. We only lost Chris for a short time, and were all reunited in time to zip off to the dreaded arches for a familiar and quick meal, feeding us all, with more coke included, for €30. While we were at the station, I bought tickets for our day trip to Pisa tomorrow. I understand they have a tower that isn't quite straight. We'll see.
It seems quite different from the night twenty years ago exactly, when a young Ian was at the Baltimore Diner in Leeds asked a young Viv to marry him. She said yes.