Sunday, May 17, 2015

Florence log 3 - Take it easy

Today we adopted a more relaxed approach to Florence. We started off in the market near our hotel - I wanted a restrained Florence t-shirt (ie the fleur de lys only, preferably with no writing whereas my wife wanted a hat). After walking around the hundreds of stalls selling virtually the same products, we eventually found what we were looking for. As we were so close to the hotel, I walked back and left the items there.

We then set off for the centre, using a different route from the one I had used the day before. This one goes down alleyways and both shorter and more picturesque. Once near the Duomo, we took a left turn and ended up in Piazza San Lorenzo. Today was very hot, so we cooled off with an ice cream; to quote my wife's guidebook, a minute in Italy without an ice cream (gelato) is a minute wasted. I hadn't indulged as the weather had been too cold in our first few days but today it was a necessity.

I was aiming for the Great Synagogue of Florence, which is some way behind the Duomo. I found it, but because there was some kind of inter-faith conference taking place, I couldn't go inside. The building looks extremely strange for a synagogue: as Wikipedia puts it, The synagogue was opened in 1882; its Moorish motif and design was based on the Byzantine cathedral of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

From there, I walked back to the Duomo, getting partially lost in the vast network of streets "behind" the Duomo, eventually realising where I was when I stood outside the 'Lush' soap shop - via del Corso. I then picked up my wife, who had stayed in the Duomo area, then went back to the hotel, stopping for a lovely fish lunch in a trattoria in via Faena.

When I got reconnected to the Internet, I saw that there was a message from Felienne Hermans; we had intended to lunch together, but there was a series of missed contacts. We agreed to meet at around 4pm; she came to my hotel, we went out for a cup of tea, discussed life, PhDs/DBAs and spreadsheets, then I walked her to the ICSE conference area, where she registered (I had registered in the early morning).

In the evening, we went on the Segway tour: this starts from the Segway shop which is hidden behind the Duomo. As it happens, we were the only participants, so we had the guide to ourselves. I strapped the camera on to my helmet, turned it on, asked whether it was working then trusted that it would film something. I've looked a little at the footage: something was filmed although not necessarily what I wanted to film - mainly the second floors of buildings. The film cuts out prematurely; this certainly is not because of running out of 'film' - the file is 1GB in length; maybe the batteries died. At the moment I don't have the 40 minutes to look at it.

The tour itself was interesting, not least because we had to manage riding on the Segway. This is something which takes a little time to get used to, and riding over cobbled stones doesn't help. The tour didn't go very far from places where we had already visited, but this time we got a personal explanation from a knowledgeable guide.

No comments: