amalthya: (moving right along)
Friday 2:53 pm
June 8th, 2007

Well, I was hoping the airport here in Florence might have wifi so that I could burn time in between now and the point when I had to check in. My original flight was at 7pm, getting into Madrid at midnight, but thankfully, I was able to change flights while here and get in earlier at 11 pm. It still seems like an awfully long time to fly for not that far to travel.

And my change of flight was free, because, according to the ticket lady, BUSH is coming into Rome, and Alitalia is perfectly happy to have fewer travelers in the Rome airport (where my original flight was going through)

So... now I'm flying through Milan. I have no complaints, really. Especially since Charles, Tom and Yenni left me with a 1.5L water bottle full of wine. We'd planned to drink it while waiting in the airport, but they ended up catching an earlier flight and now I'm left here solo!

We spent yesterday at the Uffizi Gallery, surrounded by famous and incredible artwork. I know we were supposed to be stunned by the Botticellis, but I found myself much more entranced by the work of Pietro di Cosimo. I'd never heard of him before, but I sent a few postcards today with the painting I liked most, a dragon piece.

While we were inside, it started to hail like you wouldn't believe outside! We decided to walk home anyway, and I've learned from countless Ugandan and Congolese rainstorms that having an umbrella won't really impact a thing. You'll still be wet. Of course, being wet and subsequently cold, looking for Tom in the rainy Tuscan streets was less than fun.

Hmm, maybe I will pay a bit of money and go online while here. Also, I'm getting drunk! Oh my.

Excited to go to Madrid though. Despite my general travel fatigue, I really feel jazzed for that leg of the trip.


The David

Jun. 7th, 2007 10:59 am
amalthya: (necklace)
We went to go and see Michaelangelo's David yesterday, an undertaking that people queue AROUND the block for. Which is sort of funny when you consider that the entire gallery and pull of this one tiny museum is just this big marble man.

He is quite something to behold, though I'll say I'm a bit jaded after the experience at the Leaning Tower. Jaded in that I'm spoiled by wonders EVEN LARGER than Michaelangelo's DAVID! Source of every dirty postcard fit to send your grandmother!

... Oh my.

No photos were allowed at the David, but I think Charles took some anyway. They also had various pieces-of-David postcards available (I thought it was a bit scandalous considering he's a Biblical figure and all) so a few of you might be bequeathed with some David Ass. Since I couldn't take the photo of it myself.

I'm trying my hardest to keep up-to-date with the photo uploading, but I'll admit it's slow and when I woke up before everyone today, I wandered over to the net café to try and play catchup.

Here is my Italian Collection. It includes all sets thus far that I've managed to get up.

I bought the most beautiful serving tray and matching hot plate. It does seem sort of silly considering my recent eating habits to be buying a hot plate in Italy, but hell, I'll have it all my life. I've done more shopping here too than I did anywhere else, but I think that's probably OK too.

Tomorrow I fly to Madrid. I'm giving my big suitcase to the gang to take back to the States for me, and taking my handbag and smaller bag with me to Spain and Germany. I can't believe how long I've been gone, or how long it'll be still til I get home.

Nor can I believe that in the Leather Capital of the World, I cannot find a replacement green leather backpack for [ profile] rosefox. Phooey.


Jun. 6th, 2007 09:20 am
amalthya: (brains)
Wednesday 9:20 am
June 6th, 2007

There's this raw carnivory and lust of Italy that I've noticed, and I'm not talking about the prosciutto. Spitting does seem to be a part of it, though, because I can hear people hocking their loogeys from my apartment window!

There's a roundness to the language that lends itself to booming laughter, and well yeah, the raw meat! We ate dinner last night at Il Latini, which was an experience because it was bustling with hundreds of people, and plates of canteloupe and prosciutto were flying by like bullets.

From the ceiling hung huge legs of piggy. It wasn't as caveman-esque as it could have been, because you couldn't point at the ceiling and say, boomingly, FEED ME THAT ONE! But at one point, all of the meat that's being served has hung from that ceiling.

I was immediately identified as the vegetarian, but it didn't seem to be a menu sort of place anyway so they just brought me things to eat.

Or, I'm sorry, when [ profile] infd asked if we could have menus, the waiter he'd flagged down smiled at us with horribly crooked, scary brown teeth and said

I am-a the menu!

And he wasn't lying. Apparently, dinner was a Huge Plate of Meat. Also, while we usually share 1L of red wine between the four of us for each meal, they had only 2L bottles. Drunk and full of meat!

Seriously, just think of Bacchus, sitting huge and fat and happy and drunk on his turtle!

...minus the turtle, of course ;)
amalthya: (Janis)
Everyone made it here in one piece. We are working on surreptitiously entering someone's network that we get in the apartment, but we have been so busy photo-taking and touristing that there has simply been no time for the internet.

And with that, I promise to write more later. These internetz are too slow for photos, though.
amalthya: (nook)
I'd only expected to spend about 25 minutes in this very smelly, noisy internet cafe. Tom, Charles and Yenni are due here sometime around 3 pm, and I wanted to go and get groceries so we could all cook dinner tonight!

But as I sat here, trying to block out the offensively loud Indian music or just the offensive odor, it started to get black black black outdoors, and now it is pouring, wet and splashy and stinky.

Ah well.

Italy has been good to me thus far. I spent yesterday preparing the little apartment we'd rented. I wasn't sure if Matteo hadn't prepared it because I fell asleep upon sitting on the bed, or because it's not his way. But I made the beds, tidied up a bit, realized there wasn't really room for me to unpack, and listened to glorious classical music.

The apartment IS small -- really only one bedroom with a total of 3 sleeping spaces -- a single bed and a queen -- with a futon couch in the kitchen/living room. But something about it is light, and airy, and the way that music wafts around it and out onto the street makes me happy. It feels like a *real* Italian apartment too, because it is! As I cooked myself pasta last night, I giggled a bit.

I also spent time at the huge windows, leaning out over the street and watching the people and scooters go by. We are definitely in a touristy area, because as I hear people's conversations going by, I feel like there are more English/American conversations than Italian!

Also, in comparison to France, the dogs are much bigger. I don't know what accounts for that.

I'll admit that I'm feeling a little tired and worn out. The feeling of being alien gets old sometimes when you're alone, and I almost wonder whether I get some sort of agoraphobia after a while of it. I know, I know, people can't imagine it in ME, but it's sort of exhausting, in a way, when you haven't got any reality but the internet to bounce it all off of.

I know it'll improve when I have others here. Or maybe when it doesn't smell bad. Or my rent-a-PC doesn't have 100 downloaded thingamajigs like flowing hearts coming off the mousepointer or barking dogs in the corner of the screen. Ugh. Who invents this bullshit? Oh bah, whine. I think I'll go grocery shopping. I also have a TON of photos to upload. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow or Sunday.
amalthya: (geek)
Oh, my kingdom for a browser that supported tabs ...

I spent most of this morning wandering through Florence, after arriving at 7 am and a night on a shaking train.

My excursions towards Italy yesterday went pretty well -- I walked down the beach one last time, and was shocked to see two figures partially obscured by the sand, and it took me a good minute to realize they were made of stone.

Yes, I'm a weirdo, but my first thought was that some evil scifi-genre wizard had punished them for their Beach Sloth and turned them to stone. And then I saw the plaque saying it was a sculpture.

It was still Weird.

The train to Nice was easy, and I've found that if I squeal like a Helpless Girl, men will inevitably come and carry my suitcase up stairs and into train cars and into otherwise grossly-annoying places and travel spots. I had about 5 hours to kill in Nice, so I checked my overly-heavy luggage into the lockers and wandered around. I literally walked by this shop again! And took another picture!

Nice feels really really... crowded. Not like Cannes at all. Plus, the beach is full of rocks. It's FAMOUS for its rocks.

Anyway, I wandered around for a good 3 hours, some of which I sat in a big park. I marveled at my last few French idiosyncrasies -- For example... I don't know what "TAMPON ET RECHARGE" is, but I can tell you I *don't* want it.

The sleeper train car was smaller than I'd remembered -- 4 beds instead of 3. 2 American kids from University of Arizona (a couple) came in and we all had a grand time speaking English. We were eventually accompanied by a very old lady who spoke NO French and NO English and seemed very ornery.

I had a tough time falling asleep -- there are apparently Americans everywhere and they're noisy and don't seem to be aware that a sleeper car was for sleeping. But eventually, I nodded off, careful not to also FALL off (I was in the top bunk).

I've got to say, though, that I sort of love being in a confined little bunk. I had all my stuff within arm's reach, or on this little shelf, and I felt very enclosed and comforted.

We were awoken with a jolt and packed up. It turned out that Andrew and Tracy (the Arizona couple) had a hotel near mine, so we resolved to mosey together. However, the sleeper train had let us off at Campo Di Statto -- a train station nowhere near the center of Florence.

Of course, I didn't realize it, and neither did they. Matteo, the owner of the B&B we're all staying at told me he was a 2 minute walk from the train station -- just not which one!

After fruitlessly searching for a taxi in the middle of nowhere Andrew discovered that there was a quickie train to the other train station, so I used the automatic machine and away we went!

The hotel was, in fact, very close to the train station but I've gotta say that my hands and raw and chapped from lugging that beastly heavy suitcase. But Matteo took care of me, gave me a DELICIOUS croissant and some breakfasty food (I'll mention too that the croissant here was better than ANY of the croissants I'd had in France) and sent me a-wandering until our apartment was ready.

And here I am, internetted and a bit sleepy and dazed and realizing that my Italian is hopelessly rusty. But tomorrow, everyone will get here and we will have lovely lovely fun.

And in the interim, I'm off to have some lovely fun, and FOOD, by myself. I've taken so many photos already!


amalthya: (Default)

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