Wednesday, March 17, 2010
On the train headed for Florence. Our first story is about last night’s concert. We walked over to the Accademia Bridge and the Church of Saint Vidal: Chiesa di San Vidal; where they hold seasonal evening concerts performed by the group: Inteipieti Veneziani……a classical music group with a clavicorde (an early version of the piano), a bass, a cello, a viola and four violins. The concert began at 8:30 and lasted for a little over an hour…it was a full house and we had three encores. For the final encore everyone put down the bows and used their fingers to pluck their instruments….very unique! And, the musicians enjoyed themselves also. We were home by 10:15 pm.
Walking home in clear weather we reminisced about previous concerts that we’ve attended in Europe. Our first experience was about 1996 in Salzburg, Austria. We were in a castle and as a result of the experience we started a bi-annual event with classical music performed on the patio our home that is located on a small man-made lake in California on each Labor Day and a little bit different performance of jazz for Memorial Day. When I retired in 2004 we turned the events over to our association and they’ve continued the tradition ever since.
We’ve also enjoyed musical evenings in Venice…yes, this same group in 2002; another one in Florence and our most recent: the piano competition in Barcelona last week. Well worth the cost of a ticket if you can find the events when you are traveling.
This morning we were up early and had our breakfast about 8:30 am. By nine we were walking towards San Marcos Square for a last view of the most famous place in Venice…and the sun was shining for our last view! Boarded the Vaporatto #2….makes fewer stops than #1….we were soon at the train station. We could hear the crowds yelling and hundreds of people were milling about.
We’ve found the set where Angela Jolie and Johnnie Depp are filming their latest movie. Fortunately we were early and had time to stick around long enough to get some shots of the stars before we left on the train. This was definitely an added “journal entry” for our trip. I had read that they were filming here in Venice but never expected to actually see the film crew and the stars!
It’s now nearly 10 pm…and we’re in Florence. Our train trip lasted two hours mostly through the mountains; saw snow here and there on the way; it was nice to have a direct train instead of the milk run. We had no trouble getting a taxi for our short ride to the Donatello Hotel on Piazza Indipendenza; rooms are half the price of our last one and still nice.
Settled in before 3 pm we were soon in a taxi headed for the Ponte Vecchio Bridge and Barbara’s favorite European shopping spot. It took us about two hours to cross the block long bridge! It shop until you drop time! Jim and I enjoyed lemon gelatos while she shopped. About 6 pm we found a nice little Italian restaurant and I enjoyed gnocchi with meat sauce, Barbara and Jim had spaghetti with meat sauce and we all enjoyed bruschetta. After dinner we walked back across the Ponte Vecchio Bridge…down the center with no stops. Then to the straw market to rub the Boar’s nose for good luck and to ensure a return to Florence in the future. Continued walking to Piazza della Signora to see the David statute and then on to the Domo….Florence’s huge cathedral. While we were standing in the square at Signora; Barbara used the cell phone to call her family and wish them a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve seen lots of American’s wearing green hats today but tomorrow will be a big celebration here in Italy for St. Joseph’s Day. We’ll probably hear lots of firecrackers.
Then the hunt began for a taxi…we knew we had to walk beyond the cathedral and the pedestrian area; but even when we had arrived at streets with cars we could not get a taxi to stop. Jim tried going into small hotels but they wouldn’t give us the time of day. We saw a MacDonald’s just about the time I thought of calling our hotel and asking them to call us a cab. When we told them that we were outside of a MacDonald; the clerk told us to go inside and ask them to call us a taxi.
In I went cell phone in hand; at first they didn’t want to but when I offered my cell phone to make the call the girls took pity on us and made the call. We finally reached the taxi dispatch and he sent us a cab within four minutes. Tired but finally safely back in our hotel…we called it a night!