The next day, we headed out to Florence on a very early train (and in my head, I kept singing, "my baby takes the morning train..." Eurotrip anyone?). On said train, we encountered a very creepy italian man in a linen suit who tried to put his head in Leslie's lap. Weird. Anyway, the reasons we were on this train were twofold:
1) Florence is awesome
2) our friend from High school, Max, is in florence studying abroad
So, obviously, great excitement. Florence was a nice ch
ange from Rome, since it is so small in comparison. We discovered that to get to the city center from the train station we didn't need a bus or a metro line... we just needed to walk about 2 blocks. awesome. Our feet were incredibly greatful. Shortly, we arrived at the duomo. Avoiding the line stretching around the corner to enter the church for free, we bought tickets to climb to the top of the dome. Steps, steps, steps. Ridiculous amounts of stone steps. Finally, we arrived at the first viewing level. It was so worth it. The frescoes are really something else. The images of Hell are a bit terrifying, and then the beautiful images of heaven and angels above them will make me think twice about sinning, at least for a little while.
We continued climbing up to the second level, where you're essentially eye level with the frescoes. Well, when I tried to turn and look at the very imposing demon right next to me, I got a serious dose of vertigo. So, While
les and des headed up more to walk around the outside of the dome, I inched my way around the last viewing level and hightailed it down. Still, I'm glad I went up, since what I did get to see was incredible.
Later, we met up with Max at an outdoor museum next to where the David originally stood.
He was rushing off to an assignment for his class, so we walked a bit with him, made plans to meet up later, and headed off to see the David. Often, when I see famous works of art, I'm underwhelmed. I guess you see them so often in books, you expect them to exude a holy light when you're there in person. The mona Lisa, for an example, is cool in books, but in person- eh. David is not like this. He is gargantuan. He looks shockingly human. It seems as if he is not made of marble but of skin, pulsating with mus
cle and pumping blood through the veins along his arms. Each giant toe looks so real, it's startling. I was also pretty excited to remember everything our high school english teacher had told us about him, and put it all together: He was carved from a flawed piece of marble, so his distinctive lean and huge right arm come from carving around the flaw.
Post-David, a little awestruck, we got some lunch, went to meet max again, and walked along the river and bridge. then it was time for shopping, of course, in the fabulous leather and cashmere market. I, of course, bought a scarf. It's tradition. The thing is ridiculously soft. then we met up with Max yet again and went to dinner.
Max pointed out how surreal it was the four of us wyoming middle and high school kids, who used to eat wyoming meat market sandwiches sitting on the playset in his back yard, were sitting in a piazza in Florence together, drinking wine and enjoying the beautful breeze coming across the open terrace. We were reminiscing about high school and talking about now and the future and it all made me feel very grown up! Which, I guess we are? But, I feel better when I realize that the people I've grown up with are still people I want to be sitting in Florence with. So, we decided we'll just have to do it again in the future.