Meeting some friends
Trip Start May 08, 2002
20Trip End Jun 02, 2002
I got up at about 8:00 this morning. John and I have been getting up later and later as the trip has progressed. Mostly, it's because we have had fewer people to race to get to the shower. We planned to visit the Uffizi Gallery (famous for its collection of paintings by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael) with no reservations. John and I figured we would try our luck since we were so lucky at the Accademia last night. On the way to the Uffizi, we walked past one of Florence's street markets. Clothes, leather goods (Florence is renowned for its leather), CDs, jewelry - whatever you needed or wanted was available for sale at one of these stalls. We never made it to the Uffizi.
We visited the Duomo (cathedral) and its museum around 10:00. The museum is much more interesting than the cathedral
A funny sight: many vendors sell on the streets without permits - their stands (whether they are selling sunglasses, jewelry, posters) are created to be taken down in seconds, if the police are nearby. Some police happened to come nearby while John and I were watching and all these vendors just collapsed their stands and disappeared into the crowd.
John and I met up with MaiSee and Wam (M&W) in front of the Duomo at 12:45. We chatted a bit about what had happened on our trip so far and what had happened on their trip so far (they had been in France since May 19th). The four of us went for lunch at La Granella, and then split up to meet again for dinner later.
John and I spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and just hanging out. It is wonderful to have clean laundry. Such a luxury!
The meeting point for dinner was the middle of the Ponte Vecchio - a shop lined bridge spanning the river Arno. While waiting for M&W, John and I watched some young men toss bread crumbs into the Arno to feed whatever wanted to surface. Pretty soon, there were two ducks, a beaver, and an entire school of (giant) fish fighting for the food
W ate dinner at a restaurant by the river. The food was decent, but the service was sub-standard compared to La Granella. The prices were higher and my food was mediocre. I think this place is frequented by many tourists due to its riverbank location.
After dinner, we strolled back over the Ponte Vecchio towards the Duomo. All four of us stopped in a square to watch the street entertainment. One man was doing spray paint art. All he used was spray paint, paper, and several circular pie tins in various sizes to create mountains and trees and lakes and rivers and sky. I bought one of his pieces. On another corner of the square, a woman on a stage was entertaining the dinner goers with American songs. And on yet another corner, a car ad was being photographed. Then, we saw this man doing a routine on a street just off the square. He was dressed as Charlie Chaplin, and he was doing a comedy act. Wam actually got dragged into the act as well.
We called it a night after that, and decided to meet up again at 11:00 the next day, Friday, to pick up the rental car.