Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17, 2011, Florence Italy. Today started out a bit late as we didn't get going until 10:30 or so. Our lodgings are in a great location and we found a nice little coffee shop around the corner. Our first stop, we thought, would be the Ponte Vecchio. You may know that the Ponte Vecchio is a Midieval bridge over the Arno River. The bridge started its existance in 996 C.E. and has been in use ever since. Commerce first started on the bridge in the 15th Century and is currently the venue of a variety of "gold shops" and other jewelry. it's quite the site.

But, before we made it to the bridge, we happened upon the Galileo Museum on the river front. The museum is home to a variety of science exhibits -- medicine, astronomy, electricity and the study of gravity just to mention a few. But, my interest was the fine collection
of telescopes, including the first ones used by Galileo. He first turned the telescope to the heavens in the 16th Century and the discovery that Jupiter had moons that circled its planet changed the modern world. There is also a very nice collection of Newtonian (reflecting) telescopes.

Upon leaving the museum, it was back to the visit of the Ponte Vecchio. I wanted to find a replacement earring for myself in 18K gold. The original earring belonged to my wife Portia, and I wore it as a memorial to her. During a surgery I had in 2010, the ring was somehow lost, so my goal was to replace the ring. I had always thought I would wait until I returned to Florence and get an 18K ring. So, it was fun to complete that journey.

Linda and I wondered around the neighborhood near the Ponte Vecchio for a couple of hours. The nearby streets were filled with all kinds of shops and cafe's. It seems that, when in Italy, one consumes a good quantity of food!! And wine. And beer!! So, we enjoyed the afternoon. At around 3;30 p.m. we went to the Picasso, Miro and Dali exhibit at home of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation. The exhibit covered the period from 1896 and into the lives of these three men.

At 5:00 we went to the Teatro Oden and saw an English language film, the latest Harry Potter film. While the film was "so so", it was good sit in a darkened theater on comfortable chairs and enjoy some quiet time. Upon leaving the theater, there was another band setting up at the same venue where we enjoyed the performance the night before, so we decided to stay for awhile. We thought we'd get a drink and walked to a nearby bar where there seemed to be a private party in progress. I asked if it was, in fact, a private party -- we were not only told it was, but we were invited to join in the birthday festivities!!! It was catered and we enjoyed a good serving of delicious food and wine before the music began.

On the way back to the hostel, we happened on an enjoyable street performer who, dressed like Charlie Chaplin, was entertaining the crowd. We stayed for about 1/2 hour before heading back. One final beer ended the evening, and we shared a "Guinness" at one of the local pubs. We sat outside, soccer was playing on the TV, people were enjoying the warm evening and we had a great time. We didn't leave until around 11 p.m., so we had quite a full day.