Burton Dane Travels

We're traveling through Europe and parts nearby for a year. We'll be posting our pix and adventures here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Firenze and Siena




I made a big mistake in our travel plans and booked us into Firenze one week later than I thought. In order to make our non-existent reservation, we raced across Spain, France and part of Italy in two and a half days.

The trip included great evening and overnight stops, fog filled valleys and one return for a left behind item. The highlight for me was a life-like, 3D video game drive along the Italian coast. This path is part way up the steep hills along the ocean. It alternates between tunnels, bridges and cliff-hugging blind curves. It seems like the Italians had to better their Roman ancestors by showing off how to really build a road.

It was made more amazing by the speed and proximity that is Italian driving. There are no roadway shoulders. The speeds start at 130 km/hr or about 80 mph. And the drivers often snuggle up next to you as they pass. Maybe they are drafting off our behemoth of a van or just sucked in by its vortex. In any case, it required lots of calming breaths.

We made it into Firenze at dusk with just a few Euros in our prepaid Spanish phone accounts. We had some abbreviated conversations with Marushka, the flat coordinator, that drained our accounts. We finally got the van parked. It was then that she told us the flat was occupied and must have been double-booked. This was all done through text messaging as we didn’t have enough money left to talk. And you can’t recharge an out of country phone account. We had all of our stuff in our hands and no place to stay. This was the Saturday night before New Year’s eve and the city was packed.

Marushka rescued us by coming to where we were and leading us to a beautiful apartment in the hillside. In a winery and olive oil pressing villa. As she looked at our paperwork, she laughed at how the dates were for the following week. I tried to laugh too. We’ll see if I make that mistake again during the next 8 months!
The flat was great and so were the three days we went to Siena. It’s a small, medieval town. Pedestrian friendly with incredible architecture and religious artwork. The pictures show us on a tower of the Duomo and Ben in its stone spiral stairway.

We also toured the bapistery like a Pope. By that I mean we used mirrors to look at the ceiling frescos. It keeps you from looking like a starving baby bird calling “wow, wow, wow”.

We’re now in our flat in Firenze. It’s at Via dei Calzaioli 2, Firenze Italy. Google Earth shows a nice image of it. Next weekend is the Pitti Fair. Some sort of international fashion show. Oh no.... this town will be filled with models even more stylish than the natives!

Mark

5 Comments:

  • At 3:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    sooo, hows the fashion show going??? Your pictures are great as usual and enjoyed your story. All is well here and Dad says hey. Love , Kissy and Mom

     
  • At 4:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    love your pictures and commentary along the way. Mark, did you know the counters are in? Just ordered the name plaques for the theatre. We miss you. Judie

     
  • At 4:39 AM , Blogger Greenwalds said...

    greenwalds

     
  • At 4:41 AM , Blogger Greenwalds said...

    greenwalds meant, we request lots of pics from the fashion show.

     
  • At 8:09 AM , Anonymous Hic said...

    We love following along and need many suggestions for our stay in the area in September. Have fun and be safe.

     

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