Florence to Rome in evening, Friday 20th February 1998

Across the Bridge to the Palatine Gallery, Florence, Italy


Well I made it up to Florence yesterday evening after a three-quarter hour delay because someone on the previous train got arrested for some reason. I felt the chilly night air as many people were walking about. I chose the smart Academia hotel: statues, parallel mirrors, and the best hotel I have stayed in during my trip. I relaxed watching TV and watched half a time travel film in dubbed Italian – still enjoyable. I slept well and had breakfast in the hotel with helpful staff, a real businesslike luxury. I am now sitting in the Jolly café with a cappuccino after having spaghetti con marinara at Mario’s near the leather market. A busy day! I tried to target the early closing museums first but most seemed to be opening later: the Pitti Palace with Palatine Gallery across the bridge and the Boboli gardens with a view of Florence with many sculptures. I visited the Duomo and went up the tower next to it, and then the Uffizi Gallery. I am moved more by music than by visual art. Children were playing volleyball outside. I waited for the unacknowledged meeting but no one showed up – the letter probably did not get through. It was still enjoyable sitting there watching people go by at the Duomo entrance. I heard some Slovenian spoken and then my stomach dictated that food was required, which led to Mario’s and this café. It is the last day of your holiday Marko. Is it possible to say that it went quickly yet seems like I had more than a years worth of experiences? I am close to the station so I will probably check times for trains to Rome. I hope I do not worry staff by writing in a journal in cafes, Mr Journal. My stomach is ok but not quite 100%: maybe it is the transition from healthy Thai food to more fatty European food. Black is a popular colour in Italian fashion. I have no more postcards to send, no more overnight 12 hour bus journeys (relief!) and only one more plane trip for a while. Perhaps my enjoyment of travel and sampling another culture can be exploited in my job. I need a rest. I have got to make an effort to keep up my fitness when I return – exercise three times a week. There are important things one can identify with the benefit of a clear mind on holiday. Continuous communication is an important part of Italian life. It is suddenly a very popular bar – people were perhaps finishing a week’s work. I believe I will have enough time for the Sistine Chapel and a quick walk through the Vatican museums tomorrow morning. The shock of all the beautiful decorated old buildings is even more apparent and emphasised because my previous cities were Bangkok, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. The centre of Florence gives the impression of a small cosy place but the view from the tower lets one see the full size of Florence. Home is just down the road in Europe. The cost of the whole trip was about £3000 – I can not think of a better way of spending the money. I have no urge to do any more shopping and almost feel repulsion as I walk along a street full of stalls due to my overdose in Thailand. Italian can not be that difficult to learn. A nice Sunday lunch might be in order. Well-done Marko! I need to obtain a copy of the company’s mission statement or generate my own. The prospect of work on Monday does not fill me with horror. I believe this is a good sign. I have an incredible feeling of mellowness and relaxation, happily observing life, little details like a warm feeling behind the eyes. How many people that actually went to Oxford wear Oxford University sweatshirts?

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