Thursday, October 30, 2014

My two very different visits at the Palazzo di Pitti

detail of ceiling

I love the name Pitti Palace..sounds like my house on Via Malcontenti (actual street in Bologna I think I posted). I first went there 6 years ago as a student in a summer abroad program in which I lived in a  monastery in a tiny hill town in Abruzzo for 5.5 weeks sharing a room with 3 other women. Two of my roommates had already seen this and the Uffici, our main target, but Donna (not her real name) had not and agreed to hang out with me even though she had zero interest or knowledge of art. She worked on the assembly line at some secondary auto supplier (where Josh had his first job). She and her brother signed up for this program as it took place just a few miles from where her dead mother came from. On their first free day, she and her brother walked to her mom's village and within a minute located relatives that showed her the mom's house. Our cook at the monastery cooked just like her mom did. She thought her mom had invented those recipes.

Aside from our intensive language course in the morning, we had an Italian cinema class in the afternoon. Movies would be shown on the walls of the monastery as soon soon as the sun went down (very late in summer) Cinema sotto le stelle the town posters said as the 300 residents were welcomed to join us.  On the first day, we were asked what our favorite film was and why? Our class had the young students, under 25 and then us older folk starting with Donna at 40 up to almost 80. The young ones managed to say names of pretentious Italian art films as did most of us older folk until Donna.

You know what I think is a great movie? Caddyshack! It's got the cute little ground hogs, it's funny...what's not to like?

So that was Donna, a free spirit. Very pretty and this was not lost among the younger townsmen. I worried that some of them might not take no for an answer. But she wasn't worried.

We had 2 hours before our reservation at the Uffici. We got 2 museums to see in Firenze..I suggested the Pitti Palace which was empty versus the line around the Piazza della Signoria for the Uffici (a big puzzle to me as you get the same art in the Pitti Palace plus beautiful rooms whereas the Uffici is rather plain.) Although Donna was impressed with how fancy the rooms were, the art didn't impress her one bit (nor later in the Uffici). She focussed on finding the ugliest Baby Jesuses.

Hey Sue! she'd shout. Get a load of this one. That's one ugly baby!

Fast forward 6 years and some odd months later. I am with Steve this time who knows a bit about art. Also he is hell-bent on photographing every single detail While he does his thing (my camera and iphone  do not do well in big indoor spaces) I read the card provided about each room's highlighted art. We were there 5 hours. The place is spectucular. Although the b&b lady would have gotten us reservations to the Uffici, we passed. This was spectacular enough.
the medici throne

Queen's bedroom

big art


what to do with 2500 photos?

Well I have been back for 24 hours and still haven't adjusted to our time. Only a small portion of our photos made it to the iPad. We loaded all of them to the computers and then I did a very stupid thing: I tried to upload a photo editor that came with a browser hijacker. Hours spent trying to remove it. The antivirus stuff I have, no help.The hijack program took over Chrome so I had to delete that. I do have Internet Explorer which is not compatible with Blogger so until I sort this out, back to the iPad. I am never downloading a program again and my computer will be replaced by a Mac. Before this all happened, I did clean up my blog. Now it will be messy. 

I ran for the first time in 2 weeks out at dawn in the crisp cool air. I felt fine despite this trip taking a toll on my body. I am all bloated and seem to have some bladder infection which made the second week of the trip very unpleasant needing a bathroom every hour or so and they are few and far apart. Saw Shanna and Tess and later Naomi and Maya. Dealt with some issues here. At some point I will write about this trip before I forget everything.   Just dealing with the photos is time consuming. I did process about a days worth. Steve will take 5 variations of the same thing so I need to select the best. Also only a few iPhone photos do the scenery justice. These here are from what we stored on the iPad. I think our day in Burano was my favorite time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Back in the U S A

But still not home.

We are in Brooklyn as part of a layover at layover is 22 hours, Steve's is 14. We are staying at Steve's brothers and wife's place who picked us up at rush hour. Our flight back was on Alitalia. Italian airline food much better than American airline food and I got to watch Italian cinema: favorite..La Grande Bellezza which won an Oscar for best foreign movie. Such imagery! A montage of fantastic scenes of Rome with interesting music. The last scene with hundreds of migrating flamingos on the main characters terrace overlooking the Colosseum was unforgettable. See the movie if possible. If not, google image search grande Bellezza  flamingos. see below

The iPad did come in handy for our trip. We bought various adapters to upload photos from Steve's camera, my camera and the iPhone (this iPhone will be retired shortly). Every evening we'd spend time downloading photos, selecting the best, and editing them while I drank my spritzi. I also bought the chief ingredient for spritzi, Aperol, assuming it survives the baggage handlers, I will make them for anyone who visits me. The Moms will get a taste at our upcoming group. About half way into the trip, the iPad was full so lots of culling and removing apps. Somehow I can't remove music that ended up on the iPad, which would give me room for 200 to 300 photos. Steve's photos can be 8 mb a piece.

  And we got to sit together. I was nervous I didn't have a seat on the plane as Deltas computers don't sync well with Alitalias. And I am on an overbooked commuter jet to fly home. I put in my bid to give up my seat..we will see if they take it ($500)

This is what happens when you try to use miles and the cheapest seats on a given flight..a whole hodgepodge.  

So back to the land of readily available wifi.  Our last night was at an airport hotel whose free advertised wifi was so weak, I couldn't load even one photo. They said I would have to pay more for the good wifi...they are in for a bad review. And this was one of our priciest hotels. Fortunately Malpensa had strong wifi along with cute shops. We got there early as I was so nervous about having no seat and no way to check in. Delta, who made the reservation, no help. And once we were there, Alitalia was very helpful though they put Steve's luggage tag on mine and vica versa so I am in for a treat when I recheck my bag at JFK. Steve managed to fix it for himself.

We had a great trip. I hate typing on an iPad and the app is not user friendly. In time I will edit these posts and add photos. We stored 1000 on this iPad alone. We couldn't load many of Steve's as the files were too big but once we have a good computer I can post.
Steve on the stairs up to the Roman ruins in Verona


Me getting lucky with Juliette

Flamingo scene in La Grand Belleza

Monday, October 27, 2014

the last two days

Adige river in Verona

Fancy stores in Verona

Mannequin in Milano

Milano duomo

One of the entrances to the walled city of Verona

Piazza Bra in Verona

alley way to the house of Juliette covered with gum and love notes

Some Austrian dude in Verona

Fancy jellies and meringues in Milano

Early morning light on Verona house

tombs of the leading family in Verona..Svringali or something like that

cool design of coffee cups. Milano is considered the design capital of the world

Galleria in Milano

Xmas displays already up

locks in Juliette's house

Where art thou Steve?

The infamous balony

Piazza di Duomo

Tip of the Duomo

mailbox for Juliette

love this bridge

Steve climbed to the Duomo roof while I checked out cool designss in fancy stores

Back in Verona..lots of pink marble. The streets are paved with pink marble

old bridge and city wall


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