Florence & Venice

I'm still working on getting photos up, but I have some here--check out the folders from Greece I have up so far: Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Mycenae, Olympia, Santorini!.

It's already wednesday, and I still haven't posted on this last weekend. I'm so behind...in everything it seems. Well not everything, just a lot. If I owe you an email, hopefully you'll understand the delay. Academic travel really set me back and I'm definitely still trying to catchh up, but with even less time than I had before. But enough of this boring talk and excuses, last weekend I was in Florence and Venice! I'm sure you all would much rather hear about that.

So my friend Bill and I decided to squeeze in two places into one weekend, so Florence and Venice it was. It was an exhausting 4 day weekend where we pretty much never sat down unless it was on a train. But we saw so much and had a lot of fun. We took a friday train and got into Florence at around 5, where we were greated by k-state's very own Miss Amy Jackson. She's studying abroad there for the semester for those of you who didn't know, and it was a lot of fun getting to hang out with her for the weekend. That night we walked around Florence and saw most of the city, dropping into the Baptistry of the Duomo and getting some of the world's best gelato (like ice cream for you americans). It was freezing but that didn't stop us from licking our shaking ice cream cones as we shivered in the cold.
The next day we hit Florence hard, starting at 8am and going to just about everywhere. We started out at the Accademia, the place that holds the original sculpture of Michaelangelo's David. It was really something incredible in person. It was so imposing and massive, and they had it set up really well. Then we went to the San Marco Monastery, which was super interesting. We got to see their rooms, each decorated with a different fresco by Fra Angelico. It was a beautiful complex as well. After a stop at a few smaller churches, we climbed up the bell tower of the Duomo and looked out over the city, which was really stunning. Then we went in the Duomo, and to see Dante's house and church.
That afternoon we went to the Uffizi, which is the main art museum in Florence. It was definitely the best museum I've been to so far in Europe. They had a fascinating extensive exhibit on Da Vinci, and three of his most famous paintings--including the unfinished St. Jerome and his Annunciation scene. After that we had a nice dinner at this mexican place, and then took it easy for a little while until we went to a concert! My first in europe, it was a trio of organ, flute, and metsosoprano. It was in this small little church with awesome acoustics. It was really cool.

The next day we started off the morning going to the Bobili gardens, which were gorgeous. And then we got on a train to go on to Venice after a slight delay with the trains. It was a great time in Florence with Amy and seeing everything. We arrived in Venice right at sunset, which was beautiful. We wandered through the city that night after checking into our hostel, stopping by the famous Rialto bridge and the first Jewish ghetto ever. After a little gelato and some wine, we turned it in for the night. Monday we were up and going at 8 again, getting out into the city before all the other tourists. We spent most of the morning just wandering and taking pictures, as that is one of the best things to do in Venice. We eventually made it to San Marco square, and all the pigeons. We saw the church, which was almost ridiculously ornate, and then went into the Correr Museum and Doge's Palace. They were both huge museums and palaces. We kind of flew through them since we didn't have a ton of time, then making our way back to the train station. It was a crazy packed weekend, but a lot of fun. And since then I've just been trying to recover, rest, get all my work done, hang out with friends, and still keep up with emailing and blogging and loading photos. It's intense. This weekend I'm going to Taize, a monastery community in France that people travel to from all over the world. I'm deeply looking forward to that time of retreat and spiritual focus.

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