"Uffizi's sore yet?"

Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
Trip End Jun 18, 2008

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Monday, April 28, 2008

<Brian's brief chronological list of "highlights" (and of whinging)>
- Went to the Uffizi gallery... waited in line for 2 hrs! Talked to 2 ladies from Holland to pass the time. This gallery is also pretty cool especially with the Rick Steves audio guide tour of the place which is funny and entertaining. He only covers the big stuff such as Botticelli's "Birth of Venus", so we had to walk through it again to see all lesser known stuff... eg. "Duke <insert name here> hung this in his bathroom for x years but didn't want it no more, so we scabbed it from his bin and decided to hang it here".
- Went hunting for the "best gelato in the world" as described in the guide books... which tasted the same as any other gelato here. I think the next gelato you have is probably the best gelato anyways!
- Walked up a hill to the" Palazzo Michelangelo" where theres a good view of the city and yet another statue of the David there. Watched the sunset, watched Africans selling their crap and tried feeding Dog Dog to a dog that was running around.
<Lang's Extended Version>
We woke up early again this morning in the hope that we wouldn't have to wait too long to get into the Uffizi gallery. However, by the time we had arrived at 8.30am, the line had already snaked itself around the corner... We joined it anyway and ended up waiting the 2 hours before finally getting in.. Well, I had tried to get a reservation, but you need to book these days-weeks-months in advanced..
While waiting in line, we got chatting to a couple of ladies from Holland standing in line behind us, as they were attracted by the hot coffee Brian went to buy and wanted to get some of their own.
We found that they had paid 15 Euros each yesterday for express check-in to the Pitti Palace.. No chance we were willing to pay that much!!
Anyway, once we were inside the gallery, we found that the security there was really tight - they enforced a no bottle rule, so we had to throw away our two water bottles in the bin provided. One of the dutch ladies tried to leave hers in her bag, but it got x-rayed and she was made to chuck it out anyway..
After a quick toilet stop, we were ready to start another one of Rick's tours.. Brian said it was the next best thing to a live guide.. hahaha.. the only problem with the audio guide was that it didn't cover all the art in the gallery, but I guess if it did, it may take us months to see and listen to everything!
The tour took about 90 minutes, then we went back and started all over again, looking at all the other works on display. The most famous work of this gallery would have been Botticelli's "Birth of Venus". We sat and admired this pastel coloured painting for quite some time - it was really beautiful.. One thing I did notice that wasn't quite right were the toes.. Guess you don't really need to look that hard to appreciate the painting..
Another thing that I've noticed looking at all these pieces of art in all the galleries we've been to were that the babies in any of the paintings looked really ugly.. They've mastered painting men and women, but for some reason either the babies back in those days were really ugly or that they were too difficult to paint..
We spent over 3 hours in the Uffizi before we had had enough, or at least our stomachs seemed to think so. We were also really thirsty without our water bottles, so went outside to have our sandwiches and went in search of water.
After lunch, we ended up in Santa Croce, a huge marble fronted church which contained the remains of both Michelangelo and Galileo. However, nearby also had supposedly the best gelato in all of Italy, so of course we had to try! I got the hazelnut and rice flavoured gelato, whereas Brian got the peanut and chocolate mousse flavours. As a bonus, Brian got a free upsize. Oh, and the rice flavour was so good we went back there later that night and go another serving of it!
Anyway, we walked back to the Palazzo Vecchio and decided to check out the courtyard of the offices out - it wasn't really worth waiting in line for the security check as there wasn't much to see at all.
So we decided to head back to the hostel to check our email again, stopping through the markets on the way. The stalls pretty much sold all the same things - leather jackets and belts, silk ties and scarves as well as the usual tacky souvenirs of David in various sizes.
At the hostel, Jeremy was there again, so we had a quick chat before he left. He had paid 9 Euros to get into the gardens of the Pitti Palace and spent the day there wandering..
After some recommendations, we decided to head to the Palazzo Michelangelo where another replica of David stood. It was also on top of a hill which gave a wonderful view over Florence, from the Duomo, to the characteristic red roof buildings to the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River. We took many photos up there as the sun set.
Oh, up the top also were heaps of African bag/sunnies/poster sellers. We were hoping that a polizia would come by on his scooter so we could see them bolting, but no such luck. At least these ones weren't as annoying as those in Rome.
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