I’m writing this sitting in my rented apartment in Florence. It’s beautiful and handily placed to walk to all of the attractions and usefully has a roof terrace with views across the city, just the place for a glass of chianti and a smoke.
I seem to go for city breaks, I’m not sure why, surrounded as you are by throngs of tourists sweatily jostling you as they swarm from one attraction to the next. I’m not a big one for queues either which explains why I’ve never been to the Louvre in Paris to see the Mona Lisa, despite having visited there several times. In fact I don’t really get art. The only painting I’ve ever really wanted to see is Picasso’s Guernica in Madrid, but the planned visit on the last day of a short stay was thwarted by the Museum being closed.
I did queue for an hour today though, at the Accedemia Galleria, to see the iconic Michaelangelo statue of David. Now that is something! How anyone can bring to life a cold slab of marble like that is quite simply breathtaking.
I don’t get churches/cathedrals either. Sure they can be beautiful, as the Duomo undoubtedly is, but I can’t ever get over enamoured of them and in some cases, like the Sistine chapel in Rome, they actually make me feel a little queasy, so opulent are they.
Ever so slightly at odds with the essential message from the son of a carpenter from Nazareth I would say.
I guess what I do like about city breaks is being surrounded by different sights and smells, the food, the cuisine, the sense of anonymity from being in a strange city, and, of course, the people watching, I need to watch that though as my daughter pointed out whilst we were having dinner at a little trattoria, Il Contaldino (highly recommended), that it’s more like agressive staring at times!
I’ve even managed to engage with a few locals with my smattering of bad Italian although I did manage to say Buono Sera (Good Evening) to a shop assistant this morning.
There’s a lot of beautiful and elegant women here (my daughter says the same for the men), but I feel their beauty like a bereavement (borrowed that phrase), as I’m as far removed from a meaningful relationship than when I was a spotty, hormone fuelled teenager. I have tried over the last 18 months or so to try and develop relationships, but with very, very indifferent results.
Oh well. at least the wine’s cheap here!