Well, it was pretty neat. Come along... you'll see.
Florence, Italy was the next destination during our European adventure of a lifetime.
This was some of the furniture in our room in Florence. Talk about old-school. Actually, it was probably 100 years old or more. (Oh, not the TV. That is definitely newer than 100 years, silly.)
Florence is where we first started seeing a lot of bicycles during our European adventure. I am having a little rest here on a window ledge as we walked toward the main downtown area. See that light-coloured dome way back there in the centre of photo? I'll tell you about that in a minute.
So I looked to my left and this is what I saw... a Canadian flag. In Florence, Italy! Cool. The building is a Four Seasons Hotel. Who would have guessed that? Certainly not me.
So here it is... the biggest deal in the historic centre of Florence.
The Duomo of Florence (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) is the main church of Florence. This impressive Gothic-style church with the red brick dome was built starting in the 13th century and the dome was added in the 15th century. The Duomo offers a stunning view of the entire city... if you're brave enough to climb the 463 steps up to the top of the dome.
Yes, I said 463 steps. Uphill. All the way.
Well, my publishers are not exactly what I'd call 'brave' all the time, and they weren't planning on climbing the 463 steps up to the top of the dome. They tell me they aren't particularly fond of closed-in stairwells that have very little air flow and even less head room (my publisher Al is tall) ... But my publishers aren't very bright sometimes.
On this particular day in Florence, they went ahead and bought a ticket for the 'cupola' of the Duomo without realizing that the word 'cupola' actually means 'dome'. Duh. I repeat - Not very bright.
So you should have seen their faces when they rounded the corner going into the church and were told to keep on moving... and they found themselves having to immediately climb stairs instead of just walking around to look at the interior of the church from the ground floor. Yikes!
They climbed and climbed... and stopped for a few seconds about a third of the way up to catch their breath at a small landing. Then they climbed some more. At what felt like 3,000 steps already (it was only about halfway up, but no one was actually counting) they arrived at a walkway along the interior of the dome and saw this...
...the incredible artwork inside the dome, painted in 1572-1579.
This was the view when they reached the top outside of the dome. Worth the climb. In every way.
Going down the stairs was way easier than climbing up...
...but still creepy in tight quarters, and Al still had to watch his head. He's much taller than this guy who was ahead of my publishers as they went down the steps - all 463 of them - or did I say that already?
So that was an adventure that made us laugh and laugh....
Oh, I almost forgot...
LOOK AT THIS BUG!
Outside the Duomo, this young man picked up a ginormous bug. A locust, we're guessing, 'cause that's what hangs around those parts of the world. And we thought our Saskatchewan grasshoppers were big. Ha! Not even close.
This little angel was just too cute to ignore. We love angels because... well, we do.
And they remind us of all the Earth Angels who pray for, love and support our special eight-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner. We love those wings.
This was the first and best gelato we had in Europe. Homemade and super tasty. The servings were awesomely huge, too.
Europe isn't all fun and tourism, you know. These were some of the sights we enjoyed on our walk back to our room one evening. Interesting statues in a garden and beautiful flowers.
So how do you like this statue of Michelangelo's David? We were pretty excited to see it. We couldn't show you all of David ... because I'm a family book, you know. Gotta keep it PG.
This isn't the real statue of David. It's a beautiful replica, in the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. The real statue is in a museum in Florence, but this one is sitting where the real statue originally sat, and we were impressed.
This isn't the real Mona Lisa painting either, but it's also pretty cool. Created by this artist right in front of our eyes... with chalk... on the sidewalk. I wonder how long his artwork lasts before it gets wiped away. I'm glad I'm made of something more long-lasting than chalk. So people can read me for years and years to come.
Now here's a sight we don't see every day (or any day) in Saskatchewan. A wild boar's head hanging on a hook in a downtown restaurant. We kind of had to cover our eyes while we ate this European-style pizza...
This public telephone was not only a sight we haven't seen for years in Saskatchewan but the design was cool, too. We had to take a photo and show you.
We really liked Florence, but it was time to move on, so we travelled west to this place...
Oh my gosh! It was so cool to hold up this Leaning Tower.
I am just a little book, so it was hard work to do all that holding - with a little help from Publisher Al, of course.
Oh, there you go. That's more like it. And if you look way into the background at the base of the tower, you'll see how tall this eight-storey leaning tower really is. It's quite the engineering marvel.
So that's it for this part of our journey. Stay tuned for our next stop...
Hint: It involves some beautiful blue water.