Half of the first week's seminar participants headed for home, the rest of us boarded a train to Florence for the next week's Tuscany workshop.
Upon our arrival, Drake sent us to the Hotel Bernini for two nights, quite a change from the Olympia where we have stayed on our last couple of trips, and where we laughed about showering while sitting on toilet! Not this year! The hotel was so nice.
The view outside our window.
Florence at Dawn
Florence at Midday
The crowds are absolutely CRAZY here!
A Day of RestWe found an LDS branch about 5 miles away, a little too far to walk on a warm day, so we hailed a cab knowing full well that it would cost us an arm one direction and a leg the other.
Church was held in one portion of a very large building that looked like any other on the street. One of the missionaries serving there asked if we would like a translator. He had only been in Italy for four weeks, so he found Elder Middleton who had served much longer and had a better grasp at the language. Elder (Chris) Middleton just happened to be from Sandy. He declared, "I know you! and I know your daughter, Audrey! I've been to your house for dance photos! More proof that this old world is VERY small.
So... all in all, I think our church venture cost us a total of $65 for the taxis (and the skirt I had to buy the day before. I forgot to pack my slip for the very sheer skirt I had packed. Lucky for me, I came across a second-hand store on an off road and didn't have to buy one full price!)
Our Sabbath Experience was well worth the price.
Hotel Bernini, as fancy as it was, did not have complimentary breakfast which is, from my vast experience, a bit unusual here in Europe. So we were pretty hungry after church. Randy REALLY wanted french fries and a milk shake. We figured we would rest from the daily pizza, focaccia, and pasta and head for McDonalds. Anything to keep my husband happy!
After lunch and a nice nap, we grabbed our cameras and ventured out for a while.
The Art of Florence
We walked toward the Ufizzi museum which is a MUST see here. (We went in 2006.)
Gifted Artists gather on its steps to paint.
Oh... this is REALLY bad. Sorry.
This isn't the authentic statue of David by Michelangelo; it's a copy that stands in front of the old city hall. The original is in the Galeria dell'Academia down the street. (Another MUST see. We saw him when we were here last also.)
"Get him OFF me!"
Ah, come on... This is an art form in Florence! Let's hear it for Gelati!
A True Florentine Dinner
Ray invited us to I'CCHE CE CE for dinner (roughly translated, "Whatever you get, you get.") It was highly recommended. Only problem was, we walked the confusing and rainy streets for well over 1/2 hour and couldn't find it anywhere! Even after asking the gelati man three times! Soaking wet, we were about to give up when we finally came across it.
And yes, it was worth the trouble!
Except for the fact that Randy's sausage looked like raw hamburger fried on one side only; he sent it back to get cooked and THEN enjoyed every savory bite.
Just me and the chef. (We're pretty tight.)
We decided to take a different street back and found our hotel right around the corner. We had a good laugh about that one. Talk about a goose chase!