Tuesday, December 9, 2008

There are good days and great days...

I guess you can't have a bad day in Europe...

...well, I guess you can if you're in Greece right now.

But when you wake up to ridiculously cold sleety snow in Venice, Italy...

...that's gonna be a good day!

It was going to be an early morning - we knew that - but we didn't know that when they say, "Snow showers likely" on the weather forecast, they're serious!

And it wasn't just little flurries here and there, it was all-out big flakes of winter-y goodness!

Alright, so you're probably going to see more photos from Venice than any other place on our trip, honestly. But its just so freaking cool!

And then it SNOWS!

While we were waiting for our train out to Florence, I walked around the train station and out in the plaza and took snowy photos...

Thank goodness for a bit of weather sealing on the D300...

Oh, and then we sat on the track somewhere in eastern Italy for more than an hour. It eventually delayed our train 75 minutes at the arrival... but it was mighty worth it.

We were on our way to the Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, Italy, our next stop on the little trip.

Ah, good ol' Florence...

I visited Florence first in February of this year, a second time in late April... and now. It's probably one of my more favorite towns in Italy.

We stayed in the Pension Pendini... which was definitely a testament to the power of off-season travel. Ridiculously cool hotels for the good price. Where?

Our room was on the top floor next to the arch on the right. See? Check it out. Definitely worth it.

Anyways, all these aerial photographs are brought to you by the Dome of the Duomo.


...or inside...

...is it falling apart?

I would, too, if I were that old!

My father made the trek up to the top with me. I had not done it before, either.

So, its difficult to appreciate how massive structures like this really are.

I heard once that the Florence Duomo was started before the technology existed to be able to finish the dome.

Now, similar building techniques are still used today. Pretty neat-o, really.

I wondered how they got these dudes up into this little room. Its the little smaller domes on the "shoulders" of the Duomo. Its up these tiny narrow staircases and twisting spirals... they had to have been brought in through the roof. There's no way.

I find it difficult to get a mattress up a straight staircase... I wonder what it was like hauling THOSE dudes up! For a bit of scale? See the ladder?

They kind of look like they're having a conversation... maybe about the ladder...

Moving on...

On to GROM for some mighty-sexy gelato. Its good. Its worth finding.

The Duomo is off to the left of this frame. Literally one block. Like... in sight. And that photo looks crooked. Grrrr...

And so it began to get darker. We took a walk towards the Medici Palace and past the Uffizi to Ponte Vecchio.

All sorts of pretty things there.

And back to one of the main reasons we had come to Italy in the first place:

My sister has been in Arezzo, Italy since late-August or early-September and this was just a little visit to her. She came to see us that night for dinner.

I gotta say, it was pretty cool to be in Florence, Italy, at the foot of the Duomo with my family.

It was quite a unique and memorable experience...

Oh, and the Gates of Paradise were still there, by the way. I'm sure you were worried.

So was the rain that makes such awesome puddles in the cobblestone streets.

See it. Love it. Its Italy.

I should write their tourism slogans, right? ;)

Or just go to sleep now...

...goodnight, my friends. Stay tuned.
~Noah D.

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