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trains, churches, and a sunset

March 21, 2009

Day 4 – Florence

We woke up the next morning with singular thought – is Eric going to be able to walk? When he first stood up, it was much worse. He collapsed on the bed and I began to wonder what difficulties we would encounter in trying to find an Italian doctor. He began to hobble around the room and we gathered up our luggage and made our way to check out of the hotel. Little by little the pain subsided, and by the time we got to the train station, he was able to put some weight on it. We boarded the train to Florence, praying that it would continue to get better.

We had a lovely breakfast on the train – brioche and fruit and cheese and Italian ham with some wonderful orange juice that was not orange, but red (yes, red like Hawaiian Punch). I also had my first Italian cappuccino – in a paper cup. By the time we arrived in Florence Eric was able to walk almost normally. God is so great!

We took a taxi to the hotel, this time a Hilton Garden Inn. It was the most technologically advanced room I’ve ever seen. The door opened at the wave of the key. The lights were all controlled by the key and the window blinds were controlled by remote. We stayed there three nights and by the last day I still hadn’t figured out how to turn off my bedside light without turning on every other light in the room.

florence-duomoAfter depositing our luggage, we hopped on a bus and headed toward downtown Florence. Our first stop was at the Accademia museum to see Michaelangelo’s statue of David. It was HUGE. Way bigger than I imagined. Unfortunately photographs aren’t allowed, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. From there we walked through historical Florence and explored the area around the enormous Cathedral for a few hours. The cathedral is spectacular, surrounded in white and green and pink marble. We ventured inside, although after the experience in Venice, Eric was hesitant to set foot in another church.


sunset-san-miniatoAfter we had our fill of central Florence, we began an incredible walk across the river and up to the Piazzale Michaelangelo and to the Basilica of San Miniato. Both are situated atop a hill just outside of Florence. The view of the city from the famous Piazza was fantastic, but I had heard rumors that it was even better from the abbey, so we continued up in the hopes of getting there before sunset. Sure enough, sitting on the wall outside San Miniato watching the sunset was my favorite moment of the trip so far. It was so incredibly beautiful. There were monks walking about, one of them was playing the organ inside the church, and the church bells were ringing all across the city. It was an absolutely perfect evening.

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