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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 9
Europe 2007
London, Tuscany, Paris


Day 9

Carol slept like a rock. I was so wired from the fun evening we had with Eleni and Giuseppe that I had a difficult time falling asleep. Plus I was enjoying listening to all the street sounds of 1 a.m. Firenze. It is such a change from the nocturnal silence of Tucson (except for the occasional howling of owls and coyotes.)


We woke at 9:30 a.m. and visit with Eleni, who was working the hotel desk. Eleni booked reservations for us at the Uffizi Gallery later this afternoon.


We bid ciao to Eleni and went around the corner to a very nice Internet café where we caught up on our email on fast PCs - two euros for 30 minutes.


Then we walked to the large indoor Central Market were we had a cappuccino and pastry and enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells.


Cappucino at the Centrale Market
Carol at the Centrale Market

After the market, we wandered the streets of Firenze, window-shopping along narrow winding alleyways. We crossed the Arno, stopping to take photos of a nutria, the beaver-like creature we had puzzled over after seeing one in the river back in 1999.


The Ponte Vecchio over the Arno
A nutria basking in the Arno

We crossed in front of the Pitti Palace and then stopped for lunch of pizza funghi (mushrooms) and gnocci at La Sagrestia Ristorante.

At the Straw Market

After lunch we shopped at the straw market where Carol bought a scarf. Then we walked to Piazza di Repubblica, passed many Carabiniere along the way, and met up with Fabianna, our tour guide, for a two hour tour of the Uffizi Gallery. The tour was incredible and informative. The highlights for me were definitely the Caravaggio's and the Botticelli Venus.


Carabinieri hunks
Carol and Fabianna discuss art at the Uffizi

The museum was terrific but exhausting, so we strolled two blocks to Piazza Signorini, where we sipped beer, people watched, and re-energized.


Then we walked once again past the Duomo to the leather market were Carol bought another scarf and we slowly browsed.


Then back to the hotel at 7 p.m. to rest and pack for tomorrow's journey to Lucca.


This is our last night in Firenze. At eight o'clock we wandered out of the hotel, up Via Panzani, south past the Duomo, west of Piazza Signorini to Piazza Trinita, then back along winding alleys to familiar Piazza Signorini again, where we sat at Ristorante Orcagna. Firenze is full of tourists, more than we remember from last time, and particularly American tourists. Que sera, sera.


Love at Piazza Signorini

We had a perfect Last Supper at a quiet intimate corner table with a clear view of the Piazza. Carol had caprese salad (mozzarella, tomatoes and basil,) and I had a delicious dish of risotto al funghi (rice with porcini mushrooms.) The house vino rosso seemed to go perfectly with our meals. The evening was cool and we totally enjoy the ambience and each other's company.

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