Thursday, January 6, 2011

Can't Think of a Name for This Post

So, I have not written in a while, as you have no doubt notice. It was not in fact because I didnt want to, but more because of the abscence of one of the key ingredients in a blog, the internet.

I am sitting here now on the train, a nice one, a Eurostar Frecciargento. We Just left Firenze a few minutes ago, and are heading to Venezia, just a couple hours away.

Firenze, or Florence as many people know it is a beautiful city. It has such a long history that it is kinda ridiculous. From Ponte Vecchio with its jewlery shops, to the Duomo with its massive dome, the city has landmarks coming out the ying yang.

Today, and in fact for the past few days, Sophia and I have be on a trip. We set out early early on the 4th, and caught the train to Firenze. We stayed in a little B&B Hotel mix thing, which was actually quite nice. The guy was so friendly and helpful, and the location was great.

After checking in, we walked the 10 mins to the Duomo, and were instantly dwarfed by its massiveness. It is huge! The outside is this crazy tiled patern that is almost too much, but the inside, unlike most other duomos is white. There is only one fresco, and that is on the inside of the dome itself.

It would be an amazing acheivement to build it now, let alone in the 1400s when it was built. It has the largest brick dome ever consturucted, and it is just massive.

We decided we had to go up to the top, if only to take the classic photo of yourself with Firenze in the backgound.

There was only a short line, and we headed in, and instantly were confronted with the first of the 463 stairs leading to the top. Now that would be a ridiculous number on any stair case, but this was no ordinary staircase. It twists and turns, goes spiral for a while, does a weird square spiral thing, and eventually ends up at the base of the dome. That part was not bad, as it was only the up staircase, there is another for going down.

There is a little balcony that surrounds the dome, and you go out on it. Great view.

The next section is the difficult part. There is only one staircase for both the up going and down going people. Now, I am not a huge person, but the staircase was still narrow for me, and when you added crowds of people trying to pass it became crazy. Now, it starts going up fairly straight like a normal stairway, but, since it is in-between the two layers of the dome, it eventually starts going sideways, the ceiling/walls slanting more with every step.

Finally, it turns and goes straight up the last section, and there is an almost ladderlike part to get out onto the cupola on the top of the dome. It is definatly worth it.

It is crazy how high it is. Utterly amazing.

I had Sophia take the obligatory photo, and after some gazing about, we headed back down.

It was a fight against the tide for the first bit, but eventually the stairs sepertated and it was a smooth climb down.

Next on the list, and yes, there actually was a list, was Ponte Vecchio. As the name suggests, it is an old bridge. It is not just a bridge however, it has shops along it, and not just any shops, it has jewlery shops. Probably 2 or 3 dozen of them span the river.

After some wandering, lunch, and a quick stop at the hotel, we were in line at the Uffizi.

It is a huge museum, absolutly crammed with paintings. Absolutly crammed with them.

We had reserved online, a free service that, is advertised as letting you "jump the que", "not wait in line", stuff like that. In fact, you just stand in a slightly shorter line that moves slower than the normal lines.

We split up for an hour or two, and wandered around. My favorite was the Birth of Venus, a very famous painting.

We just crashed after that, ate dinner at a pizza joint and went to bed. We had been on the go since 4 that morning.

Yesterday, we just did our own things, Sophi shoping, and myself taking my camera for a walk. I took pictures of a lot of things, but my favorite was the people pictures I took.

It is exhilerating getting in peoples faces and blatantly taking pictures of them. Some of them turned out very well if I do say so myself.

After a lazy afternoon we ritired to our rooms for the night. Today, we spent the morning wandering Palazzo Vitto, and its formal gardens.

We just pulled to a stop in Bologna Centrale, heading to Venezia. Very exited to finally see the city of canals.

But that is now, and you are probably wondering what I have been doing since I last wrote from Verona. Well, I have not been doing a ton, to answer what I am guessing is your question.

I have in fact been doing just normal everyday things that one does when wintering in the italian alps. The family, and in fact the whole region is very into hockey, and so we have been visiting several of the outdoor rinks in the area. They rang frome lakes to flooded 400m tracks, to proper rinks. It is quite different skating on outdoor ice than indoor ice like I am accustomed to.

Also, it was my first time actually playing hockey, and all were dissapointed because they thought that I would be good, being Canadian and all. Yay stereotypes!

We also went sliding a few times, always fun.

I did a lot of reading, and watching American College Football, which is seemingly inexplicably always on, no matter what time of day you want to watch it, it is there for your veiwing pleasure.

There were a few truly memorable moments, such as christmas, and newyears, but it was more of just the experience of life there.

I am going to talk a little about life there, and maybe next post I will go back and write about christmas or newyears, as they are worth describing.

Snow is a big part of life there, or rather what one can do with snow is a big part of life there. For the most part, the white stuff goes completly ignored with tasks like driving and walking carrying on completly unchanged, but when it comes to skiing, it is loved by all.

There are large ski resorts all over the alps, but in addition to that, all the little towns have their own little ski lift. Most of them are really tiny, but a few of them are actually pretty nice, like the one right by the house.

That is all well and good for downhill skiing, but some may be thinking, what if I want to go cross county? Well, there is a solution for that too. Each of the towns also has a snow-cat, and they maintain every night dozens of kilometers of trails winding up and down the valleys. They are used to the full extent, and even have lights along large stretches to allow for skiing at night if you so desire.

In short, as much as they seem to completly ignore any amount of snow whilst behind the wheel of a car, a lot of their life seems to revolve around other ways of sliding fast along the snow.

I am kinda running out of things to say right now, I did not get much sleep due to skype, and Top Gear, so I am going to quit while I am only a little bit behind, and end this post.

Hopefully the hotel in Venice has internet, and I can post this promptly.

It does have internet, I have posted it proptly.

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