I have a blinding ache in my head thanks to injesting ungodly amounts of Prosseco, Barolo and Muscat last night. The Barolo came from the Ferragamo vineyards here in Tuscany and it was the best bottle of wine I ever tasted. The restaurant treated us to a glass of dessert wine after our delectable meal and it's too bad for us that they left the bottle on the table...we drank the whole thing. Who does that?
We had a very busy day yesterday starting with us running through the train station in Milan trying not to miss our train to Florence. When we finally made it to our seat and caught our breath we laughed as we remembered the first time we ran through that station over seven years ago...that time we were trying to catch (but missed) our train to Venice. We had the biggest fight of our relationship even to this day on that afternoon. I barely remember why - he blamed me for missing the train, I blamed him. The only thing that we could agree to was not to speak until we arrived in Venezia. We were desperately hungover that day too thanks to two bottles of Chateau Neuf de Pape the night before on one of my favorite streets in Paris. Do you see a pattern? Somehow the hangover wasn't so bad because I was merely 24 years old and my sweetheart, then my boyfriend of 6 months, was barely 31 (younger than I am now!)...I can't bounce back as quickly today.
Needless to say that it was difficult to get up this am but we had a date with David at the
Accademia. I had my nose in the guidebook when we walked in to the room when I heard the woman standing next to me literally catch her breath. I looked up and there he was. He's much bigger than I expected and I was much more affected by the sight of him than I thought I would be. We walked around him a few times and then we sat for a while staring. I was brought up to think that staring is rude but I can't help it here. This morning I stood on a corner with my umbrella in the rain and stared up at the Duomo for over ten minutes and no one knocked me over in a rush or cursed me to move it. How can something that grand be real? Yesterday as we crossed the Ponte Vecchio I stared into the windows of the shops practically drooling over everything from gold necklaces and rare stones to gorgeous purple leather gloves to pineapple gelato that looked like a fluffy, yellow cloud. Even DS was staring and ended up buying himself a couple of smart dress shirts and ties.
I am so taken with this place. It is so rich in culture and history and the inspiration is palpable. I get the goosebumps thinking about everything that happened here - the ideas that were born here, the people who had them, what they built, what they made, what they said, what they wrote. On a purely aesthetic basis, it's certainly not that I didn't expect Florence to be so beautiful but it goes well beyond that...I think we need a new word for it - it doesn't seem like it is real. I felt that way when I visited Prague but when I was there there were so many tourists that I felt overwhelmed and almost unable to really enjoy the place and take it in. It's not the high season and it has been raining on and off but it's worth it to come to Europe when you can genuinely experience it and not feel like you have to fight your way to front of the line or to order that last bottle of Chianti.
Speaking of which, "ADC" = "Always Drink Chianti", at least according to some local graffiti. I think the Florentines may be on to yet another groundbreaking concept.
We're here tomorrow and then Saturday we're off to explore Tuscany. We decided to rent a car and drive around for a few days before going to Rome. The first stop is Lucca but who knows where we will end up...stay tuned.