Before some sights of Italy (slideshow at the end) and before I talk about European fathers (next post), a little travelogue of our time here thus far with my wife Kathy, and friends, John and Vickie.
I didn't have a good title, so I did a takeoff of my book's title, The "Power of Dadhood", to keep in your head.
I come to you again from Florence, the city of art, history, science, ad scooters. As crowded as it seems to be in the streets at times, the tourist season never ends. It is amazing how ‘old’ seems cool here. Buildings in disrepair seem charming. Some streets are in nice neighborhoods that you would be afraid to walk at night, in the US, given how they appear. The Italian people are very nice and helpful, even though they have to bow to our language in their country. But they understand that Italy is a small country and Italian is not a major language. Plus they like the Euros we leave behind!
Yesterday we went to Pisa and Lucca. I was surprised we could climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, where amazingly the top was, or seemed, to be level! The first floor, nor the stairs definitely were not level and it felt a bit awkward. Surprising to me, the tower is hollow. It was a beautiful day with amazing views from the top. The walk from the train station to the “Field of Miracles” (where the Leaning Tower and Duomo can be found) was fun and we found the best Gelato there (see name in slideshow) in Garibaldi Square!
Lucca is a walled city with many shops and restaurants and, of course, many piazzas. We had dinner at ‘Locanda da diBacco’. After a few questions, we kinda knew what we were ordering. It was delicioso! On our walk back through town, we found a piazza ( don’t read pizza) with some kind of chocolate festival going on. Lots of samples, yum! My favorite were little balls of Nutella chocolate covered with a candy shell. I bought 7 Euros worth!
I took photos of fathers and their children on the Sunday we were in Pisa and Lucca. In that small sample size, they seemed very warm and loving to their children, carrying them on their shoulders, feeding them gelato, and playing with them in the piazzas. There were many families with their strollers walking about.
The train ride back was relaxing, especially for our feet and legs. We have been averaging over 8 miles and 20,000 steps a day walking. We’ll take the next day off from ‘maxi-touristo’ activities tomorrow before heading to the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento.
In Florence we went to the Uffuzi Museum, which has a never-ending and magnificent display of art and sculpture from the days of the Medici family. We also toured the Palazzo Vecchio palace where they lived and ruled. See photos of the palace in my last slide show and this one. The food in Florence has been great! The pasta and pizza are reasonable considering the touristy places we have eaten. The one thing that has surprised me is the amount of graffiti in Italy. You will find it everywhere outside the main tourist areas, on trains, on the side of otherwise beautifully painted buildings, on bridges, etc. But the countryside is charming.
It has been cool and windy most days but sunny outside of the first day. We all enjoy being able to see so much while walking. And we’ve just begun! Here are some photos of what I’m talking about.
Ciao for now!