After spending a few days in Siena, we took a train to Florence for some sight-seeing and shopping.
Our first impression of Florentine style was, frankly, a little disappointing.
But things got better. This is Florence's equivalent of a city hall; in the Renaissance, it was the administrative base of the Medici government/family. Oh, and there are Rob and Kay in the foreground.
Here I am with the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) in the background. It really is old; it dates from the medieval period, where it was a popular commercial thoroughfare. Things haven't changed much: now it's lined with jewelry shops.
The Posse sporting their tell-tale uniform, the baseball hat.
A would-be statue. If you give it money, it turns and looks at you!
The disapproving statue, who does not want your money.
The Duomo (Cathedral) of Florence. The dome is famous because it was the first dome of the Renaissance and the first one built since the Roman period--the technology had been lost for almost a thousand years.
Some of you may note that the below picture was not taken in Florence. On a lark, John, Mills, and Uncle Charlie decided to take a day trip to Rome while the rest of us stayed behind. Mills and Uncle Charlie had never been there and they had an enthusiastic tour guide in John! Here they are at the Roman forum.
Here are the Menke men contemplating the Colosseum. . .
. . .and learning about ancient inscriptions.
John and Mills in front of the Vittorio Emmanuele monument. . .
. . .and Mills trying to fit in at the Vatican.
They all returned in plenty of time for dinner, however. We found a great little place off the beaten track (thanks to a recommendation from a shopkeeper) and had good Florentine food. Here's Tom showing us how to drink a cafe macchiato.
We still had a little time for shopping before we left Florence the next morning. Here are John and Rob rubbing the boar's snout for good luck (don't ask; we don't know). Behind them, you can see part of the 'Straw Market,' which doesn't sell any straw but lots of beautiful leather items.
Relaxing at the Florence train station. Sometimes, you just have to go with what you know.
Not so relaxed at the Milan train station. We had to change trains there and for some reason, all the regional trains from Milan to Torino were being cancelled (one at a time, of course, to heighten the tension). After a frustrating hour and a half or so, we upgraded our tickets to Eurostar to get to Torino. We made it a couple of hours later than expected. . .
. . .but still in time for a high quality meal! Here are John and Mills sporting University of Oregon colors with Mills clutching a long-anticipated kebab.
That's all, folks! Hope you enjoyed taking this virtual vacation with us! Have a great weekend!