Sunday, June 17, 2007

Where did you spend your weekend???

"You may have the universe if I may have Italy."

~Giuseppe Verdi

As I watched the sunset over the Arno on Saturday night, the universe and Italy were both mine. It was one of those magical moments when time freezes, the noise of the crowd dims, and the world is yours. The sunset only lasted for 30 minutes, but my entire weekend in Florence was rose-colored.

Certain moments capture this weekend best:

Karlie and Lauren (her friend from Annecy) had a pizza waiting for me when I got into the Florence train station. As if seeing my sister couldn't get any better!

Some of you who know about the audible knot that I've had for 5 years in my right shoulder. Karlie gave it her magic massage treatment, which was much needed after my first week in Lucca. While that might seem like a random comment, it was something that altered my spirits considerably and set the weekend off wonderfully. That warrants mentioning.

In 3 days I sampled around 15 flavors of gelato. I did NOT eat all of that myself, but sharing flavors between 3 of us made for a wonderful weekend of Italia's finest! And let's be honest, gelato is heaven on earth.

While we're on food, our hotel had a free breakfast buffet. Nothing like Geneva's, but it was a definite plus. I'm a big breakfast fan.

If there is such a thing as a perfectly-timed and executed day, that would be our Saturday. It really was phenomenal how everything aligned in our favor. We started off the morning at the Galleria degli Uffizi, the oldest art gallery in the world. We only waited in line for about an hour before we got in, which is a feat considering our hotel owner guaranteed us it would be at least a four-hour wait. Then we went to see Il Duomo, climbed to the top of the tower for an aerial view of Florence, and finished off the afternoon with panini and people-watching in the Piazza della Signoria. Did some shopping, spent some time on the Ponte Vecchio (the oldest bridge in Florence and one of the few that survived the bombings in WWII), sunbathed at the Palazzo Pizzi, and wrapped things up with an amazing dinner at Fuori Porta. I had spaghetti with tuna, tomatoes and olives in it and it was one of the best things I've ever tasted. GO ITALY!!! We ended the night overlooking Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo, watched the sunset, caught a bus back to the hotel and had an amazing night's sleep. AND EVERYTHING WENT SMOOTHLY! Like I said, it was a perfectly-timed day. And considering the number of times traveling that things aren't...

We hiked 414 steps to the top of the Duomo. Not that bad. But then we walked all day, climbed a steep hill to the Fuori Porta, and then a seriously steep set of stairs to the Piazzale Michelangelo. But what was waiting at the top of those stairs? A gelato stand!!! We'd joked about it during the climb, but only in fairy-tale Italy was it actually waiting there at the top!

This morning we waited in line for the Galleria dell'Accademia extra-long to compensate for our perfect Saturday. But the wait was entertaining and well worth it. A portion of the Accademia is a museum of musical instruments and since Karlie and I are was cool!

The crowning moment of the day, though, and possibly all of Florence was seeing Michelangelo's David. You see pictures of the David your whole life. It's one of Michelangelo's legendary masterpieces. But until you stand before it, you really have no comprehension of it's beauty and majesty. I was awestruck. Looking at the intricate detailing and contemplating Michelangelo's mastery, the only emotion that can somewhat describe what I felt was reverence. I've always enjoyed and appreciated art, but there are few things that I would consider as inspiring and as moving as the Statue of David.

We had amazing sandwiches, shopped around this afternoon: I bought Karlie the best perfume I have ever smelled in my life, Calvin Klein "In2U." Go smell it sometime. Or find my sister. Anyways, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KARLIE!!!

And finally, we said good-bye at the train station. And Karlie had tears in her eyes. There's something about sisters. It's a relationship unlike any other and I wouldn't trade it for the world. And when you take that relationship and stick it in's just that much better!


  1. I have one profound word that sums up this amazing Italian experience thus spoken of by steph- GELATO :)
    It was a weekend I will never forget! Je t'aime ma soeur!

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