Europe Day 8

More journals, and more pictures. This was all written on the drive to and through Rome, but is describing our first full day in Florence. This was another great day: We met up with Trish, Sara, and Jacqui, we saw Michaelangelo’s David, the Birth of Venus, and other famous pieces of art that are just everywhere in Florence. At night we had an extraordinary meal at this Sea Food restaurant, and ended up making it back to camp quite late.

Day 8

We got up early the next morning, and headed off to see the town. After getting a little bit lost (not too bad, as I recall.. it was a few days ago) we made it to Academia, home of Michaelangelo’s David. we got into what appeared to be a large, long line to get in. after a while, a middle aged couple that heard us speaking English asked if we had reservations,a nd we said we did not. they said that the line we were in was for reservations, and that they had been in this line before but were too early for their reservations, so they had to go through the line again. We got out of that line.

We got into the non-reserved line, which was a bit longer, and appeared to be moving much slower. So Mindy and Maryrose decided to go get some coffee, while Becky and I waited. while we waited, I noticed this cute girl walking by, and thought she kinda looked like Jacqui. I continued to stare awkwardly at her, as I’m prone to do..[I’ve already made it known to many that I’ve given up on subtlety, cause I’m not that great at it.. and what’s the point of doing something you know you’ll never be good at?], eventually she looked over at us, smiled,and said they had made reservations for all 7 of us [so it was indeed her. way to go me] Maryrose and Mindy returned, and the 5 of us joined Sara and Trish who were in line, and we spent the remainder of the line catching up on what happened. (They asked me how I liked the bikes, and I just showed the bandages on my knee and ankle, and scrapes down the leg. )

They don’t allow pictures inside that museum, which is a shame, cause there was a room filled with hundreds of marble busts and statues that I’d love to have gotten a picture of. I tried to get a shot of the David, but the “No pictures!” lady was right next to me the whole time. I got a video, but it looks like it was taken while I was falling down. I’m hoping Jacqui’s pictures turn out better, as I think she just up and took a shot then quickly put it away.

We just paid 12.60 Euros for a tollway. that’s insane.

The David was more than impressive. It’s huge. And it’s so detailed, and so accurate, that you can’t help but appreciate it. I’m really glad I got to see it. What surprises me, is that all these famous things are inside buildings that don’t really stand out from the outside. Were it not for the large line, and the piece of paper with the printoff “Michaelangelo – David. Other door” taped to a window, you’d have no clue that that building was important at all. The same was true of many of the museums. In Paris the museums and important buildings really stood out. Here, they didn’t. The cathedral stood out, but that was about it.

After the museum, we walked around for a while, saw the outside of the duomo and the baptistery, both of which were so overly detailed you can’t even believe people took that kind of time (100s of years for the whole thing. I think 30-40ish years for one set of doors..) Then we [Becky, Mindy, Maryrose, and I] were going to head to the happy rent place to get our bikes checked out, and the other girls were going to do some shopping. I had already said that I was planning on taking the train to Rome, and Sara was as well. Jacqui and Trish seemed interested in trying the bikes as well. Whatever, I was done with them.

I asked if we knew where the happy rent place was. Mindy said yes. We got on the bikes, and instantly got lost. We were also completely out of gas. So we told Mindy at one of the lights that we had to stop at a gas station. She said okay. Instead we drove up a road, turned around, drove down the same road again, then did the same thing with 2 other roads. I was not pleased at all. eventually we were close to where the Happy Rent place was, so Maryrose told Mindy to just park, and so she did., and we walked a little ways and found the Happy Rent place. I told Maryrose I was done with the bikes, as I didn’t intend to even ride them back to the camp.

[We’re in Rome now, and I’m positive we’re already getting lost. I’m so sick of “we’ll just follow the signs” because while that works fine sometimes for getting us to the city, it doesn’t tell us where to go once we’re in the city. We just passed a billboard with a naked woman selling a central air conditioner system. Amo Italia. ]

The girls talked to the guys at happy rent for a long time, and I’m not certain what all was said, cause I wasn’t paying attention at all, but the idea was something like this: the one bike was forked, and would cost like 500 euro to fix the alignment. the girls started talking about trading the bikes in for a car (why didn’t we do that in the first place?..), but the problem with that was that we can’t drop the car off in Rome, we needed to drop it off where we got it. (ah… that’s prolly why). We also couldn’t get a refund for the bikes if we turned them in right now, but we could get credit towards a car if we turned them in now. So eventually they decided to turn in the bikes, and borrow a car from Monday to Friday [it was currently Saturday]. I was pleased that we wouldn’t be on those bikes anymore, and Maryrose seemed somewhat pleased as well. I get the impression Becky was relieved too. By then it was kinda late, and we were planning on meeting the other girls at their hostel (which was nearby) at 7. So we sat around for a while,, walked across the river, got some ice cream, then swung by an internet cafe for a while, then headed off to the other girls’ hostel.. but they weren’t there.. so we waited around for a while, until they showed up.

We headed off to a little cafe, and got drinks.. I got a Heineken, and it was wonderful. Then we went to Lobs “fish restaurant”. Oh..my… it was Trish’s birthday, so we were celebrating, and believe me, this was the place to go. By far the best food I’ve had on the trip thus far, and I can’t imagine it being topped. We showed up, and they poured us all champagne, then we had plates with these shrimp on it, and got pieces of bread, then we got our main dish. I got spaghetti with clams, Maryrose got spaghetti with shellfish [muscles, crawfish, maybe something more, I dunno.], Sara got Spaghetti with lobster and that was AMAZINGLY good. [she did a fine job of teaching that lobster who was boss, too]. Trish got the sea bass, which was also quite good. I think Jacqui got Swordfish, which I didn’t try, and Mindy and Becky got salads. that meal was so filling, and so good, it was the perfect evening. Now, in the states, I never would have ordered clams, but hell, I’m on vacation, so I’ll do what I want. [whatevah!]. After the meal, we headed out, met up with a girl the other girls had met up with at the hostel, and headed out to this place that was playing some live music. We hung out there for maybe an hour, [witnessed an insane toddler dance and and play with something invisible.] then Mindy, Becky, Maryrose and I headed back to camp, which was a decent size walk. The other girls would be taking the train the next morning.

[We are totally lost. I called that one.]

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