Wednesday, April 05, 2006

the wisdom of advance reservation

There might just be times when some advance reservation is useful! (Take note all you future visitors of Florence!) I arrived at the queue for the Academy, where the real statue of David is held, at 8.30am. Luckily they have a couple of copies dotted around the city I have already seen. I waited in the queue that was already very long for two hours and moved about 50m. I think there was about another 50m to go. Trouble was, hardly anyone was entering the Academy from our queue as all the pre-bookings lined up back the other way from the door were going in. So I gave up to go and see a few more of the places I still had on my list to see! I wonder what my queuing experience will be at the Uffizi tomorrow. I will make sure I buy some fruit to eat for breakfast and get there even earlier!

It was a chilly start so I needed my jacket to start with in the queue. At least the people watching was entertaining. A young US woman kept the cardboard-salesmen in employment. She bought a rather gorgeous scarf. Then she bought some sunglasses. The funny thing was that the whole side fell off the first pair she picked up, indicating what kind of quality they were: but she still bought a pair! In fact her whole group bought some, part of the entertainment while waiting. They inadvertently set off a "turf war" between the illegal sellers - one had clearly usurped the earlier position that the other one usually held.

I was next to a lovely older couple from the US in the queue. They thought of their grandchildren sleeping at 3am back home. I hope they persevered and got in when I ditched the queue!

One of the other places that I visited today was San Lorenzo, where Donatellos remains are in the crypt, and an impressive memorial monument stands. (Sorry no apostrophes - on Italian keyboard too hard to work them out!)

Beautiful and sunny this afternoon. T-shirt weather again. Finally joined all the tourists across Ponte Vecchio, then walked on past Pitti Palace. Yes Sue, I saw the padlocks! Came back via the next bridge along which goes into Via Tornabuoni, street of all the designers. I passed Georgio Armani, I walked past the REAL Guchi etc. And I would just like to casually mention that the little street I am staying on (Trebbio) runs off this exclusive street. Only motorbike and cycles can fit down our street though: all the advantages of location and none of the crowds!

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