Sunday, May 2, 2010

What the what!?! Blanca notte.

We woke up to the peaceful sounds of chirping swallows this morning. Ok, it felt more like a screeching alarm clock. Swallows shouldn’t be allowed out of their nests until at least 9am, especially when we keep getting in around 1am.

Thank goodness I travel with a trusty sound machine that helps masks most unwanted sounds, including, but not limited to: swallows, loud hotel neighbors, crazy yelling guy in the piazza, Italian gospel choir and snoring husband.
After a quick breakfast at the hotel we ran off to the Ufizzi Gallery, which I’m told houses the best collection of Italian Renaissance art anywhere. I’ve decided I’m not a huge fan of Italian Renaissance art. The early stuff is all one dimensional and looks like cardboard cut-outs with a lot of gold leaf and halos. I’m sure a more cultured person would appreciate it more. They were not very good with scale. I guess depth perception didn’t exist in the 1300’s. Good sculptors, but painting took a while to catch up. I will admit the stories about the artists were interesting though.
I am pretty sure Ian tuned out the audio guide after about the 4th of 40 rooms. Did he mention he failed humanities twice? (I only failed it once, the second time I got a D... the third time I got an A though.)

After Ufizzi (which has been a museum in Florence since before the USA was even a country) we visited some other overpriced museums to look at more old crap. We visited the Medici cathedral (or something like a cathedral) (NO it was a Capelle= chapel) and their residence. The cathedral (capelle= crypt, tombs, and sacristy for the wealthy ruling family of Florence. Girlies- there will be a quiz when we get home. You’ll for sure score better than dad) had all these fancy little displays (they looked like elaborate trophies) that we realized were either made out of or housed old bones, teeth, hair, etc. of their family members or friends.
Yeah- it was freaky, but gave me decorating ideas on how to always keep a little bit of a loved one around after they are gone.

Next we played around in the local outdoor tourist markets for a while (not my favorite part so that’s all the description it gets).
Ian shopping is the most miserable part of life with him, but he was actually pretty good about it – until he decided to try to use it as leverage as in, ”I didn’t complain when I went shopping for you today.” Funny thing- we were not shopping for me at all, but for his girls. What ev!

After shopping and lunch we rented a scooter for a little adventure. We were headed to a little town called Fiesole in the hills about 15 kilometers north of Florence. By the time we were ready to head out of town it was the beginning of rush hour. Just a mad mess of tiny cars and thousands of scooters and no lane lines. Actually, let me back up. We got stopped by two street police on the second street we drove on. Turns out it was pedestrian only. Told them we were from Canada and they let us go with a warning.
The rest of the trip out of the city was a little tense, but we’ve both since apologized for the mean things we might have said to each other when we were afraid for our lives.

Lets just say Ian had a lot more apologizing to do.

Once out of town, the scooter ride was awesome. Fiesole is exactly what you’d picture a little Italian town to be. Population around 400 and three large churches. But in case you were concerned, they did have three gelaterias as well. The ride back to town was without incident and we both still love each other. Great views and perfect weather.
We love each other thanks to the Michelangelo Lookout over the city at sunset. And the slightly lower number of cars and scooters on the road. Lets just say at some point I saw my life flash before my eyes.

It was about 8pm when we finally got back to the hotel. There was a choir set up across the courtyard from our hotel singing… wait for it… southern gospel music (with a slight Italian accent) of course. We asked the lady at the front desk what that was all about, she said it was Blanca Notte (white night), some once a year mega-party throughout the entire city center of Florence with bands, street performers, people and partying. We were totally wiped out and debated whether to go check things out a bit or get some take out and call it a night. Our curious side won out, (and the fact that we didn’t know where to get any take out) so we joined the groups of people walking. All we can say is… What the what?!! Turns out everyone and their dog from miles around attends this all-night festival. Words can’t do it justice. But he’s going to try. Just picture an entire city center (about 10 blocks in every direction) all closed to vehicles and people filling every street. It didn’t matter what street, every street was packed. Bands playing here and there, street performers and vendors, bars and restaurants open all night, lots of dinking, and lots of groups just wandering. They said it lasted until 6am. We checked out about 1am.

We fell asleep to music and bands playing in the distance. (I fell asleep to the sound machine) The noise didn’t matter a bit. (it would have mattered huge, but thanks to my trusty sound machine) We were totally beat and couldn’t stay awake. Very fun day.

We called the girls tonight- got to talk to 2 of the 4. Sorry T- dad said I fell asleep while talking to you and asked you the same thing three times. Bummed we missed Q and S! We’ll call you again on Monday. XOXO


The Washer The Loader


Chris said...

Camden and I read this script to Quincee (not sure where Taite was) Cam was Ian and I got to be Kitty. Your adventures all sound too good to be true (except, listen to your mom, Ian. No more scooter rides. No more lives flashing). I know your trip is just flying by, because so are my days. Always something new. Tonight Camden volunteered to make dinner (I let her of course) and to top off the night she put Sutton to bed. By the way, naps and nights are going well. Love the tent. Love you guys too

Molly said...

These are seriously so fun to read. Can you guys just keep traveling forever? I'm pretty sure our experience of driving out of Madrid (me, Ashley, Mom, and Dad) was similar to your trip out of the city (only we were in a car). I was pretty sure no one was ever going to talk to each other again. It was ugly.

I love that you guys happened to be there for that huge festival. Maybe they have huge festivals all the time, because the same thing happened to us when we were in Florence. Only it was a big parade that ended with a big medieval rugby/football/soccer game.