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[Entry 16] Museum Feet

16 December 201001:26PMepic-triptravel

After a while in a museum, I get this thing. I call it 'museum feet'. It's this sort of pain in my feet and a bit in my legs. The thing is, I only ever get it in museums, art galleries, and things like that. I can walk around Florence all morning and feel fine, but an hour in the Uffuzi and my legs feel like they're going to drop off. I think it has something to do with the pace, or the way you sort of wander in museums instead of walking. Anyway, the museums.

I like the ideas behind the Renaissance, the whole humanism thing and the idea of the multi-talented 'Renaissance man'. Renaissance art, though, is not really my thing. The subject matter is mostly some form of Jesus, or if not, nobles, or if not, scenes from the bible. The style is very realistic and a bit boring. Still, art galleries are a bit like that. They might not be your thing, but you appreciate the fact that they exist. Michelangelo's David was fairly impressive though, but we didn't do that until the next day, because it's in the Galleria Academia not the Uffuzi (which is sort of the main muesum.)

We weren't supposed to take this photo. Shhh, don't tell the museum lady.

This is probably a good time to mention that this post contains three days worth of stuff, from the Uffuzi gallery where we went after the last post, the next day, and this morning. (the 14th, 15th, and 16th, in other words.)

So yesterday after we saw the David we caught a bus. It took us about half an hour to find the busport the first time, because dad has this annoying habit of insisting that he has this amazing sense of direction (which, to be fair, he sometimes does) and instead of taking the one street which, for example, goes straight from the Gallery to the busport, goes down a dozen little side streets and then has to get the map out again and figure out a new route, which he ignores again. On the plus side, it does mean we find all these fascinating little alleyways and markets and shops and stuff.

The bus trip took a while, about two hours from memory, and took us from Florence to a little town (well, more of what the government would probably call a 'regional centre') called Grosseto. From Grosseto we got picked up by Alberto, who is my aunt's ex-husband (and hence the father of my cousins, but no biological relation to me- families are weird like that) and a pretty good family friend. Dad stays with him pretty much every time he visits Italy, and it's easy to see why, since he a) is a really friendly guy, and; b) owns a winery which apparently makes very good wine. Not that I can tell the difference.

[insert 'whine/wine' related pun here]

We stayed with Alberto at his 'cantina' (not in the Star Wars sense- as far as I can tell it's a place for the making and selling of wine) last night. It's freezing cold and they only had one guest bed, which meant dad and I had to share. At least it was warm.

This morning we went out to try and find some cheese. Alberto (I'm going to say Bertie from now on because it sounds less formal and that's what we actually call him) sends the people who buy his wine a present every year. The problem is, they're a big food sourcing company for restaurants and such, so finding them something they don't already have is a bit tough. He decided on this cheese from a tiny little town which is sort of perched around this gigantic rock, which is quite an impressive setting. Apparently the cheese is quite good too, not that I can tell.

Who on earth looks at that and thinks, 'Gee, what a practical place for a village'?

[insert cheese/photo related pun here]

Italy is full of these little towns. Obviously a significant proportion of their population is in them, just judging by how many towns there are. We stopped in a different one to have breakfast at a bar (basically a coffee shop) and I got this hot chocolate that was so thick you could pretty much stand a spoon up in it, and so hot I burned the inside of my mouth clean off. We were obviously the only out-of-towners in there- everyone else came in and said "buongiorno!" and started bantering with the people behind the counter. It's just an entirely different mode of existence to being in a larger city. There are probably people who live their whole lives in these tiny little towns. I guess we have similar towns in Australia, but it doesn't really twig that these little places are people's entire universe until you see them perched on hills just a few kilometres apart yet entirely different towns with different people and a different character.

Also, hills. You don't realise how flat Australia is until you're in Italy or somewhere like it and there are hills everywhere. And not just 'a few hills' or 'some hills'. The entire landscape consists of nothing but hills, criss- crossed with towns and vineyards and things, with a road sort of draped across them like some kind of slightly tangled string.

SO MANY HILLS.

This afternoon we went out present hunting again, this time for what I gather was some kind of fish egg which is grated on top of things. We ended up buying it in a supermarket after the fish shop was closed. And then this evening we came back to Bertie's other house in Radda (which is a town? maybe? I don't know) and we had spaghetti marinara for dinner and lit the fire (did I mention how freezing cold it is) and now I'm sitting in front of it writing this and you're up to date.

Tomorrow we're going to go back to Florence for a night, catching a bus or train to Pisa and then the Cinque Terre the next day, and from there I don't know, but it probably involves a train into France.

Bonus photo for you. This one is of me in front of a statue of Dante. As in Dante Alighieri, as in Dante's inferno. Which is pretty cool if you're like me. His house is in Florence too, but it just looks like a house and I think we might've walked past it by accident. Anyway, his staute is much more impressive. By the way, we were lost when we found this. See, there is an upside to dad's sense of direction after all.

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