Yesterday we went to see Michaelangelos David. The statue was moved some time ago from the main piazza near the uffizi to the Academia. Essentially an art school. This school is still there. It was started in the mid 1500's. (oh look i found the apostrophe on this foreign keyboard!) David was completed in 1504. Anyhow... a funny thing about this place is that many of the main attractions are hidden down alleys or back streets in nondescript medieval buildings and no discernible sinage. Here we have the most important sculpture in the world down some cobbled street and through a plain wooden door on the left next to a small grocery store. I kinda like that, but it takes some getting used to.
The statue itself does need to be seen in person to be appreciated. The veins in the arms, the back muscles, the hands. The glorious pubic hair.
Afterwords we rode down closer to the center of the city. I found a pair of used Levis 501's at the street market. They fit perfectly, so at least I could change my pants. I even haggled the price down.
When we got back to the hotel, all of the luggage except mine had arrived. The kids were so happy. My bag came today. No worse for wear. The children's gifts still there. Everything is back to normal. We'll have to find room for the extra clothes we purchased. The experience sure made us appreciate the little things.
Today we took off on the scooters across the Arno river and up into the hills above Florence. The view was terrific, but it was bitterly cold.
Thoughts on driving in Italy: It seems that everyone on the road believes that nothing will ever get in their way at any time for any reason. So they drive as fast as possible as if they have an invisible shield around them for protection. It may have something to do with religion or it could have something to do with an understanding of odds. The chances are pretty good that nothing will get in their way at any given moment, so why worry about it? So people drive insanely fast down insanely tight one way streets. Trucks, buses, scooters... the alley may be 10 feet across, so why not go 50 mph?
Pedestrians are like this too. It's the same mentality. You'd think that they'd be on the losing end of this game of chicken, but that doesn't stop them. Today, I was doing my best to keep up with the race, weaving around the lane, when a lady pushing a stroller just walks right out in front of me, somehow knowing that I saw her and was going to react. She put the life of her baby in my hands as she crossed the street. Again, odds are that nothing will happen to the baby, so why not go ahead and get where you want to go a second or two earlier...?
On top of all this, the streets go every which way. Every street is one way and it is never the "way" you want to go. So you have to go blocks out of your way just to go in the desired direction. When we rented the scooters, the woman said that she would give us her new ones. These new ones had 25,000 kilometers on them. I understand why now. It takes eight km to go two. In Florence there are no right turns.
Another thing about survival here is that the sidewalks are all about two feet wide. People going in both directions on these tight ropes just hug the wall or jump out into the street when someone passes by. You become hyper aware of every direction when going from A to B.
Oh and here's a tip. Never ever, under any circumstances accidentally put diesel fuel into an unleaded only scooter gas tank. You won't get very far...
Tomorrow is Pisa and laundry. Then Saturday we are off for our little Christmas in Siena.