Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vecchio, Vecchio, Vecchio

After the assault on the Duomo we were well and truly worn out, though we persevered and did a lot more sight-seeing, taking in the Palazzo Vecchio, the Piazza della Signora, the Ponte Vecchio and the Piazza Santa Croce - though we were too late to go round the Church. In these parts of the city everything is extremely expensive, and we walked (literally) miles looking for somewhere we could eat reasonably well for less than 100 Euro (I am not exaggerating) eventually we found somewhere, and by 8pm were well and truly knackered.

So today - well for today we chose to have a lazy day or rather leisurely. After breakfast we went back to bed and slept till 1pm! Then we had lunch (ok) and walked round the market, taking in the church of San Lorenzo, where we met a group of Briggettine sisters (the order who look after Maryvale) who were in Florence for the day from Rome. Small world, etc.

Then, in the evening we returned to the Piazza del Mercato Centrale, and had a fabulous meal - four courses, wine and coffee, Tuscan cuisine, great atmosphere and just 45 Euro for both of us. The restaurant - which we would certainly recommend - is called Vecchio Mercato.

Have you noticed how everything in Florence is Vecchio? It means 'old' - and I am here for my 50th birthday.

On the other hand, this happened: The market traders are keen to persuade you to browse, and of course to buy. One shouted to Shirley and me "Signor, Signora! Are you on your honeymoon?"

We certainly look too old - perhaps we look in love!

Apologies for the sentimentality. Uploading photos on a hotel wireless network using my eeePC is a bit longwinded, but I have managed to create an album on Picasa, which shows the moment when Shirley "nearly died". I put it as a photo on the blog yesterday, but removed it because it looked too scary. As other visitors to the Duomo offered Shirley drinks and biscuits(!) and other paramedical assistance, I was happily snapping away.

She's fine now.

You can see my picasa album - 30 out of 300 photos - at

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Up the Duomo

The Duomo is perhaps the most distinctive and best known of landmarks in Florence - it is obviously a target for someone like me with a new camera:

From Fr Peter's travels

Alongside the Duomo, the Cathedral is also the bell tower.

From Fr Peter's travels

There is some wonderful artwork to be seen inside the cathedral.

But the real challenge is to climb to the top of the dome and view the whole of Florence. The only problem is that there are 463 steps ...

Something of a challenge for Shirley ...

but the views were worth the effort.

From Fr Peter's travels

From Fr Peter's travels

It's a beautiful day

While Shirley continues with some beauty sleep (not that she needs it, of course) very uncharacteristically I have got up early (only 6.30am at home) and taken an early look on the city. It's a lovely morning.

This is the Medici chapel, only a few metres from our hotel.

And this is the Church of Santa Maria Novella, literally across the road from the Hotel:

These photos are from my iPhone. - there are some very much better ones on my camera.