An afternoon in Florence

With only one afternoon to spend in Florence, we spent it the way my mother wanted to experience Italy – shopping! Enough of the churches, the monuments, the history, mom just wanted to shop and so shop we did. Under the shadow of the greatest dome in Christendom by Michelangelo’s reckoning, we skipped over puddles, dodged the rain and bargained (or tried to) with unyielding Florentine leather merchants. These were tough nuts to crack. We ended up not buying any big ticket items, just some belts, a leather-bound journal, leather wrist ties for my son.

I liked the coarse finish of San Lorenzo basilica but I did not like having to pay entry fee to enter a church so this is all you get to see of San Lorenzo:

Instead I ducked into their 15th century cloister, which was peaceful with orange trees and plaque-lined walls.

The rain didn’t last long but it just added to the gloom. Or maybe it’s just me. It probably is just me. Everyone I know says Florence is THE best Renaissance city, not to be missed, blah blah blah. But I just never connected with it. After my first visit there, I just did not click with the place and skipped it on subsequent visits. Did I say I am not an art aficionado? I don’t hate it, I’m just meh about it. I found more love for Siena instead with its wide expanse of a piazza. On a hot day, with an ice-cream on Siena’s Piazza del Campo, ranks far higher with me than Florence’s art treasures.

So this time we’re only here in Florence to catch our connecting night train to Munich. Other than that, I could really care less about catching the sights in Florence. And like I said, mom was churched-out and showing signs of a debilitating cold, so we didn’t really want to wander far from the train station.

On the good side, I guess that afternoon we got our laundry done – yay! In a self-service laundromat without klutzy me screwing up too much. Laundry was expensive though – even by Japanese standards – and we’re used to doing laundry in coin-operated washer-dryers in Japanese hotels. Lunch was in a neighbourhood cafe with wifi and sinful desserts while waiting for the clothes to dry.

The late afternoon was spent in the market, in a cafe (dodging rain) and capturing these pictures. Love the dark clouds. They added a sense of drama to the scene.

And with that, we said goodbye to Florence, to Italy on the night train.

We fell asleep in Italy and woke up to distant snow-capped mountains and neat pastures whizzing past. Willkommen to Germany.


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