This is the most exhausting relaxed trip I've ever taken. It's been a long time since we moved around as much as we have been for the last month. I don't know what I was thinking planning this little jaunt. "Oh sure, let's go to four places in six days in England and to make it interesting let's drive a car on the wrong side of the road!" Brilliant planning, right? Worthy of Napoleon, right? Maybe his Russian campaign.
Ok, so England was a mistake. Italy will be relaxing, right? A week here, a week there, we're in no hurry. Oops, we forgot the compulsion to peek into every church, see every museum, walk every street. Luckily we have an apartment again in Florence or we would be eating every meal at some carefully researched restaurant. These evenings we're so wiped we scratch together some sausage and cheese and bread and call it dinner, anything to avoid putting our tired swollen feet back into our shoes and go out once again onto those mean streets.
Enough kvetching for the moment. Florence is great. It's been about 6 years since we were here last and we really didn't like it then. Crowded, dirty, graffiti-plagued, it was far from the city we had loved in our early travel years. But since we had loved it we wanted to give it another chance and rented this little apartment out of the tourist-thick center. It's a longer walk to what we want to visit (remember those aching feet), but feels real, with families in the building and a park up the street.
The city has changed, and for the better. It's not only that we are on a quiet edge of the town but that the city itself is more pleasant. Cars have been substantially banned from the historical center, graffiti is less evident, the streets seem cleaner. I don't know if the young ex-mayor deserves the credit, but if so, good for Italy, since he's the recently elected new Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, we've visited several museums, of which the Bargello has been the best, and multiple churches, and walked miles of streets. I've had enough pasta to last me for years and I'm ready to have restaurants dress my salads for me. And can someone explain why good bread appears to be impossible to find?
Paris, here we come.