Florence Introduction

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

FLORENCE - Introduction

Date: 30th April 2010

FLORENCE - General Overview

I've just returned from an eight day trip to the wonderful city of Florence (and only just in time to miss the Airport closures due to Volcanic Ash).

I made a brief visit about 25 years ago and a longer one in the 70's when I was studying with the Open University and a 5 day trip to Florence was on offer.  I remember certain highlights of that 70's trip and also remembered being 'frescoed-out'.  I'd forgotten that they had a terrible flood in November 1966 and so many beautiful artefacts were destroyed.

On this visit I had a list of 'Must sees' and had learned by past mistakes that you simply cannot take in more than a fraction of the treasures that Florence has to offer. If you try to do too much, you simply go into overload.

The visit was a delight spoiled only by the appalling weather (it rained almost non stop for a week) and the shock of seeing an incredible amount of Graffiti on the buildings in the Old and Historic part of Florence.  (Graffito is an Italian word!!)  It's bad enough seeing Graffiti anywhere but in such a fantastic city, it made me want to cry.  How can these vandals desecrate their city so rich in art and history?  Mind you Graffiti is not new - there's even some on the wonderful statue of Michelangelo's David - done before the Statue was moved from the Piazza della Signoria to the Academia.

We stayed in a lovely hotel in the old part of Florence - the Monna Lisa (no, I haven't got the spelling incorrect - I questioned it and was told this was the old spelling). It had been a convent or some such - certainly not a Palace - but I loved the irregularity of the building - all the little stairways and quaint old-fashioned rooms.

Our plane was delayed so we eventually arrived at 1.00 am and even at that late hour our taxi had to duck and dive down endless one way streets.  This circuitous route decided us to cancel our hire car.  We felt we'd be OK on the open road to Sienna etc, but whether we could ever get in or out of the town was another matter.

The porter on duty was so slight, he made me look fat.  We had two flights of stairs to mount to our rooms and he apologised for not taking our bags but he'd had two hernias!  We'd had nothing to eat since lunchtime on the Friday through till breakfast on Saturday as Meridiana served nothing other than water, juice, tea and coffee on the flight.  Wouldn't have minded so much except we had to while away 3 hours at the Airport because our flight was delayed and no one had alerted us to the fact that Meridiana does not serve food - not even a sandwich.

However, we'd arrived and hadn't been impeded by any Volcanic Ash Clouds so we were extremely grateful.

As I can only mount one photo per story in my blog. I shall break the narrative up into different days in order to illustrate each day with a good picture.  And then I shall put many more into the Gallery.  (You can imagine how many photos I took especially as my good old Sony failed me a few days before the trip and I had to buy another camera.  I wanted another Sony but finally swapped allegiance to a Nikon because it had a 26 Optical Zoom and wow was I able to take some amazing photos - well amazing in that I could zoom in from such great distances.)

Tomorrow - general walk around Florence on our only sunny day!

This was the Loggia to the Monna Lisa - stunning ceiling isn't it! 

FLORENCE - Introduction

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