First off: I love Florence. Second off: the Uffizi Gallery is a madhouse. I must have had very large expectations, but the place was just crazy. They literally heard you from room to room since there are so many people there; and they limit the number of people inside: you have to make a reservation, so technically there shouldn't be too many people in at the same time. The worst was waiting to see The Birth of Venus...the room right before is very very small, and people were hoarding up at the gate until the woman finally opened it and a huge flood of people ran in to see the painting. OMG. Disaster. The whole experience was not fun. The art in the gallery is infamous, but it was a kind of torture inside.
The true joy of the Florence visit came from seeing the Duomo. I remember being very excited about the huge dome on the cathedral in art history and seeing it in person was amazing. I had no idea that it was so huge. We didn't have a chance to go inside and/or climb to the top of the dome; if I ever come back that will be first on the list...although the doors on the baptistry are not original (a copy after the original was damaged in a flood) it was still very interesting to see. The Duomo is an amazing building: built in the same huge intimidating style as the Vatican. For sure one of my favorite stops on the trip.
For the first time we took a complete guided tour of Florence...stopping at the above mentioned sites as well as a few others around the town. I felt kind of lame...we really could have done it ourselves, probably much more effectively. The guide that we picked up on the street yesterday knew loads more than the one that was hired by the cruise ship. Whatever...I loved the city anyway. Shopping and eating was also performed after the trip to the Uffizi.
Tonight a concert was given by a pianist that is a grad of Eastman! I talked to her afterwards and she gave me some advice on getting a cruise job. Persistence is key! I just need to do a tiny bit more investigative work and an application will be written and sent. This could actually happen! The pianist was good, but her program left something to be desired...she obviously aimed her music at the older crowd (notice a trend in entertainment on this cruise?) and featured lots of boring dead composers. Figures.
Tomorrow is the deadline for postcards, so if you didn't send me your mail address you won't be getting one. We will be at see tomorrow, so a few last minute submissions could be entertained. Don't hesitate! One day after tomorrow we will dock in Monte Carlo as the final stop. I would like to go into the Grand Casino, just to see it; you know?