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Florence, Italy: July 12 - 16, 2001

Photo galleries of Florence start here.

July 13 (Friday)

Now at the center of the art world - and the tourist world: Florence. I think there are probably at least 200 tourists for every Florentine - and we're all going to the same sites: Galleria Accademia for Michaelango's David, the Uffizi galleries for room after room of art, and all the main churches and cathedrals.

While Berlin was overwhelming because of its sheer size - a city that stretched out seemingly forever - Florence is overwhelming because there is so much packed into such a small space. The streets are narrow, the sidewalks even more so, and everywhere you turn there is a church or plaza or building of importance. Most of the buildings are only 3-5 stories, but the ceilings are very high so that the buildings seem much taller. In the center of the city all the buildings are connected and there are not many green spaces - so I am looking forward to exploring the Bobboli Gardens later, which is on the south side of the Arno River.

I went to the Galleria Accademia this morning - even after seeing the statue of David reproduced endlessly on postcards, kitchen magnets, t-shirts and everything else, I was still dumbfounded by the real thing. It is awe inspiring.

Tomorrow I will be going to the Uffizi Galleries - if you come to Florence, especially in the summer, it pays to reserve your museum entries before you come, so you don't have to stand in line in the somewhat oppressive heat.

I definitely enjoy travelling with other people or visiting friends rather than travelling solo - here in Florence it takes a little extra effort for me to get out and see the sites, and I know it would be more enjoyable if I could share it with someone. But I am still glad that I've come - seeing Michaelango's David has made coming here worth it, and everything else is just an added bonus.

July 15 (Sunday)

I took the bus out to Fiesole today. It's a small town a little less than an hour away, up in the hills. You can look back down into the valley and see Florence spread out below. Quite charming.

I enjoyed seeing a little of Tuscany - if I ever come back, it will be in the spring or fall, not in the middle of the tourist crush of summer. I could definitely see renting a car and spending a week or two exploring the Tuscan countryside.

Tomorrow I'll be leaving the known environs of Europe and be heading for southeast Asia - Singapore. Getting there will be a bit exhausting - first a flight to Frankfurt, several hours layover there, and then the twelve hour flight to Singapore. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about looking for accommodations once I get there, because I'm sure my mind will be turned to mush by then.

Duomo (Cathedral)
- Cathedral
- as seen from Boboli Gardens, with the Duomo in the center and town hall to the right

See also swimming in Florence.

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