Florence – a city with both renaissance and contemporary graffiti

February 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

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In Firenze there’s all these beautiful renaissance corners and the camera could never rest while I was walking around. A guide called a renaissance floor decoration in a cathedral graffiti. But the city is also vibrantly alive today even though the graffiti might not be as welcome as then. Close to where I stayed last week there was this fascinating horse.

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There will be snow (for at least another month)

February 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

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From Tuscan wine country in ten warm degrees celsius to Norwegian snow and sunshine in ten cold degrees celsius yesterday. Both surely are beautiful but I must say I’m ready for spring.
Top picture is from a winery near San Gimignano and lower picture is lake Mjøsa covered in snow.

Some overwhelming hours at the “office” (day 6)

February 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Today was all about the office, not mine but the Medici’s. Galleria degli Uffizi. I read that in the busiest days, people might stand in line for five hours to get in. Well, I love February-Firenze, no line at all. Still enough people inside for my taste. But wow, what a place. Luckily I was advised to take a break halfway through. Have a coffee and enjoy the balcony. That was the secret to make it through the whole place. It’s so massive, so many important artworks, to much to take in for one day really. Mantegna, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Tizian, Dürer, El Greco, Rembrandt, Raphael … Too much, too important. Afterwards I said hi to Brunelleschi and his dome one more time before I spent the rest of this day here at “my” square, piazza Santo Spirito. Spaghetti and wine and bruschetta and espresso. Tomorrow I hope to try the Galetti-lunch (a large pancake with cheese and meat and olives) at Volume once more before I’m going home.

Mustard yellow soft chairs, mmm … (day 5)

February 21, 2013 § 2 Comments

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Bus 12 or 13 to Piazzale Michelangelo? Nah, that shouldn’t be necessary? I haven’t had a Firenze map the days I’ve been here, I read the map before I left Norway and that has seemed to do. I knew I should start walking the Via Bardi so I took my chance. And it was real easy. The piazza is a parkinglot but with an exeptional view! But don’t even begin to think that the replica of David here is the same as seeing the real one in Accademia!
On my way to Santa Maria del Fiore (to climb the dome of Brunelleschi) I accidently met Dante. I didn’t know much of him before but I’ve found that I like him.
The plan was to visit Galleria d’arte Moderna this afternoon, but another thing I accidently stumbled across was an old theatre, Odeon, showing movies with original sound. Enough walking for today. Those mustard yellow soft chairs suited me just fine. Promised Land with Matt Damon and Francis McDormand.

A warm supportive hug (day 4)

February 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Since it’s my first time in Italy and since I’m travelling solo, I booked a bus tour to see a tiny little bit of Toscana, “The best of Tuscany tour” with Walkabout. And I’m really glad I did! It’s of course possible to go without a tour, it’s possible to book either wine tasting or a bed for the night at the most beautiful chianti farm close to San Gimignani, but I would never have thought of it by myself, and I wouldn’t have had this festive lunch with all these people from around the world and all the wine we could drink. So I didn’t let the walking as sheep and the guides’ voice in a headset with not so good sound quality ruin anything. Siena was beautiful, the farm and San Gimignano stunning, and Pisa could have been a good end if it wasn’t for the rain and that much was closed. I tried to see the baptistry and the cathedral, but no. As with the Michelangelo’s David, the leaning clock tower was surprisingly fascinating to see in real life. I gave it a warm hug in this chilly evening.

To be greeted with ‘salve’ (day 3)

February 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I walked around the little town of Fiesole today, past villas and a primary school, kindergarden and churches. A man greeted me with “salve”. That is the first time I’ve heard it so I think I just smiled to him, wasn’t really sure what to replay. But it was nice, much nicer than “ciao” and also more polite as I now understand. And the lunch.. what a fantastic lunch (at La Reggia).
I popped by Galleria Accademia after, the queue took only ten minutes and it surprised me a bit how impressive it actually was to see David.
Now my feet hurt and I’m glad the opera at St.Marks is only around the corner.

Firenze, my love (day 2)

February 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I am focused on getting the most out of the sunshine these first days because the rain will come. So today I’ve walked the giardinos (gardens) Bardi and Boboli. Great views and beautifully designed. I’ve seen the porcelain museum on top of Boboli and Medici costume museum in Palazzo Pitti at the bottom (entrance). I was close to desperate for a power adapter so I found a really small shop close to the Duomo (I had googled it), and I studied the Duomo and the doors of Ghiberti more closely. I’ve walked three of the bridges several times and had a glass of beautiful chardonnay at The Golden View Bar looking at Ponte Vecchio.
The Song of Solomon 4,7 describes it well: Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

My first four hours in Florence (day 1)

February 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

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My first four hours of Florence. And of Italy. The friendly house owner recommended me to try speak some Italian, and I’ve realized that I understand so many words but I don’t remember or know any when I need to speak them. So I’ll spend the rest of the evening learning some.
Top left picture is the view from my room, top right is the stairs and hallway of this building. The bridge is of course Ponte Veccio, and the fourth picture is a built-in bench I found to be quite smart.
So far Florence seems smaller than I imagined, it’s very easy to understand what is where and easy to walk to everything. Italian drivers have no respect for narrow city roads and is a dangerous combination with tourists looking up on architecture and statues …

I made at least one decision

January 22, 2013 § 8 Comments

The highly not likely gothic cathedral in Florence.

The highly not typical gothic cathedral in Florence. Easily seen compared to the Cologne Cathedral in Germany on top in this picture. From Gardner´s Art Through the Ages.

During my art history studies back in the days I made (at least) one decision, I had to travel to Italy to see all the things I read about. Florence was essential, then Rome, then I would´ve loved to drive around in the coutryside with good friends. I never went to Italy. I went to Africa, Oceania and America, but during all these years (almost fifteen) never Italy. I guess I waited for the right travel companions at the right time. Suddenly a few days ago I thought – why not just go? Now the tickets are bought to Florence and I´ll stay for a week, finally.

Some googled glimpses of the lovely city.

Some googled glimpses of the lovely city.

I can´t stand heat combined with crowds and queues of summer this far south. This time of year it´s winter and the least amount of tourists in Florence, so it suits me well, I might even get into the Uffizi Gallery without much effort. I hope this will be the first of many visits to Italy.

A wet Norwegian summer

July 28, 2012 § 2 Comments

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I hear nothing but complaints about the Norwegian summer. And the fact is, it´s wet this year, really wet. But I´ve had the best start to my holidays with a weekend to a friends cabin in Trysil, a few days at mum and dad´s place where mum picked wild strawberries to my breakfast toast, and a beautiful kayak and fishing trip to a little lake with great childhood friends. And more is yet to come. This could seem to become my best summer so far. And I haven´t actually been needing an umbrella yet. Once I got stuck under a church roof because of heavy rain, but that was atmospheric fifteen minutes that made my day brighter. A wet summer doesen´t have to be a depressing one. It´s all about the people, and the nature, and the state of mind, isn´t it.

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