Sunday night: I was talking with Mom and Dad about plans for painting school. I have applied to the Florence Academy of Art, but am waiting to hear back (about 3 weeks to go...cross your fingers!). During this time of serious suspence, anxiet, doubt, etc., I have looked into other options. We decided that I would be able to make a better informed decision if I were to see the school in person and talk to masters, students, admins, etc.
So, I booked a ticket.
Monday: Ran into Frankfurt and met up with a friend from church, Dani.
(I received a request for pics of me...that is an awkward thing to accomplish when you travel by yourself...but I finally got one. See? I really am alive and well!)
(View of Frankfurt - the only German city, apparently, with a sygnificant skyline...this isn't the best example of it. Sorry...)She is wonderful! We spent the afternoon just walking around the city and getting me ready for my trip. Thanks Dani!!!
5:00 pm: catch the shuttle to Frankfurt Hahn Airport
8:20 pm: arrive...2 hours late! Just (JUST) in time to catch my 9 pm flight.
10:30 pm: arrive in Pisa. The youth hostel where I had booked a room was supposed to pick me up. They didn't. Through the bustle, I had managed things so well that I had none of my itinerary, addresses, phone numbers, time tables, available. All I have to say is thank goodness for internet stations and taxis. I got there. I slept. Can't complain.
Tuesday: No phone = no alarm clock. Eh. At least I got some sleep! :-)
10:30 am: I took bus then a train into Florence (memo to me: one must verify one's ticket using the obscurly marked little yellow box at the end of the platform before boarding a train in Italy...otherwise those checking tickets get mad...)
12:00 pm: arrive, wander around the narrow narrow streets, try to ask for directions, and eventually wind up at my rather shady hostel. Drop off the backpack and head off to try and find the academy!
1:10 pm: FOUND IT! But students just started their figure drawing session, so I could only talk to the registrar for a few minutes and was told to come back at 4 (without a timepeace, mind you).
Enough of the play-by-play. I got there. The school was wonderful! I made friends immediately with a few of the students who told be that FAA even surpassed their expectations. Great! That helps narrow down options...
After I left the school, I had the rest of the evening to myself to explore:
There were SO many stinking bridges between my hostel and the school - maybe 6? Italian architecture and city planning seems to be MUCH different than German: more solid and angular, somewhat more colorful, and more packed! It was beautiful!
Here are the famous Baptistry and Bell Tower. I still can't get myself to admire this style as much as I am sure it deserves, but it truly was an impressive sight.
Here was a shocking moment for me. I had studied the Baptistry doors cast by Ghiberti in art history. I had been so impressed. Then I walked up to the doors, and saw this. Lovely, of course, but I felt like they were hardly awe-inspiring...
Then I walked around the corner and, BAM!
Here is, I believe,
1) Pont Verochio. A bridge lined on both sides with narrow shops, all/almost all of which sell ridiculously beautiful and outrageously priced jewelry. Would't expect have guessed that from the outside, would you?
2) Pitti Palace. I was too late to go in and see the gardens, but the square in the golden light was worth the walk.
3) Just a view from along the River Arno.
And here is the terrace on top of the Uffizi. Sorry, they don't let you take pictures of the interior, but believe me, the museum was AMAZING! That was my Wednesday activity. I got there when it opened and left just in time to catch my train back to Pisa, but could have done with a few more hours.
And clouds. How can something so unsubstantial as a cloud appear so...substantial? :-) Seeing layers of landscapes - earth, lower clouds, higher clouds - all at the same time is incredible - surreal even. I finally got over my self-conscious lameness (it's a little awkward taking pictures in planes...not sure why) and took some pictures.