Palazzo Davanzati

One of the sites I was really interested in seeing on this trip was the Palazzo Davanzati–a 14th century Florentine palazzo that has been preserved and made into a museum. The idea is to show how rich people back in the 14th C lived. The building itself is impressive – a five story medieval tower with a central courtyard area and an interior staircase. At each floor, an open balcony runs all the way around the central well with the rooms on []

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence

October 6 – afternoon I arrived at the Uffizi at 3 — the appointed time for my entrance. I didn’t really have to spend the extra 4 euros to make an online reservation since the line was short but I guess I paid for peace of mind! I walked right in and puffed up the four flights of stairs to the top floor where all the biggies are. This time at the Uffizi I actually decided to learn something so I plugged []

Florence and Food

Being a solo traveler means I have lots of time to take notes! This blog is a distillation of the notes I took while eating my first lunch and dinner in Florence. Warning: do not read on an empty stomach. For lunch I followed the hotel receptionist’s advice and went to a small square lined with four restaurants. I chose the cheap and quick Osteria (spelling?) and sat outside to watch the world go by. A surprising number of cars and vespas []

Firenze – Just Arrived

May 6 I just arrived in Firenze after a smooth and easy first class train ride on the fancy EuroStar from Rome. It took just 90 minutes and I was almost able to finish up some work (almost!). The gorgeous Florentine taxi driver drove me across the Arno and down various tiny stone streets to deposit me at the Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio. I’m about 10 steps from the Ponte Vecchio on a quiet side street (well, quiet for Florence) []

Benvenuto Roma

Ciao I arrived in Rome on October 5 after two long flights–Vancouver Toronto and then Toronto to Rome. The Vancouver flight was late getting into Toronto which meant a very long sprint to the international terminal. I just made it! The extensive selection of in flight entertainment these days makes flying less boring and distracts from the grumbling stomach. In an almost 9 hour flight we got one very small portion of chicken with rice and then 7 hours later a muffin []

Stars on Ice

I went to see Stars on Ice last night with my mom and dad. I like figure skating—well, really, who doesn’t? Not that I’m a rabid fan or anything. I didn’t have pictures of Kurt Browning above my bed in the eighties and I haven’t memorized the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners in all the Olympics since 1972 in all four of the skating disciplines. But I do like to watch a bit of skating when convenient, so the prospect of an []

A Walk with Dad

           “We sure like it here.” “It’s very beautiful, Dad. You’re really lucky.” Dad and I step onto the seawall just outside my parent’s apartment block in West Vancouver and join the Saturday morning throngs of joggers and walkers and strollers. Everyone we pass smile–except maybe the joggers who stare blankly at some fixed point far behind us. “We sure like it here.” “Yes, it’s lovely.” The air this morning is a little bit warmer than it has []

Getting to Know My New Friend

So, I’ve had my shiny new MacBook for about two weeks now and I confess that the relationship is developing with far more ease and grace than I expected. I was right to be afraid. This cute little package of bouncy icons entices me like Circe into a whole new world. So far, I am resisting as much as humanly possible. I confine myself only to using the Safari Web browser and the three Office programs I need for my work. I []

West Coast Rain

I have lived on the west coast of Canada all my life and so I know rain. I mean I really know it. I can describe all the permutations—drizzle, sprinkle, shower, steady rain, downpour, torrent, monsoon, and my favourite one of all—Scotch mist. What’s so Scotch about it? I’ve never been able to find out but I like it anyway. I imagine a Scotsman planted atop a misty mountaintop gesturing with airy unconcern. Aye, it’s just a wee bit o’ the Scotch []

Gym Get Going

What is a one syllable word that is a synonym for virtuous? That’s right. Gym. G.Y.M. When you go to the gym, you feel virtuous. When you stay away from the gym, you feel like an evil slob. Ergo, the choice between going to the gym (virtuous) and staying home where it’s warm and the latest episode of Hawaii Five-O is on TV (evil slob) should be a no brainer. Of course, the choice is anything but a no brainer possibly because []