September 7, 2014
Our first three days in Florence, after a full day of travel (with jetlag) have been spectacular. I hope you like that word, because I’m sure that many of the next two-plus weeks of experiences will earn the right to use that word . . . spectacular.
We began on Thursday, September 4 at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m., when A Last Minute Limosine showed up at my curb, awaiting six of my group of eight, luggage and all. The very efficient women had delivered their larger bags to my house on Wednesday evening, to make the loading process more efficient, so that by the time we all climbed into the very long, smooth limo, the driver had packed the bags and we were quickly ready to head to DIA. Mimosas on the way down, and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check in, show passports, and even to allow United ticketing agents (bless their efficient hearts) to undo a big confusion-glitch compliments of Swiss Air, involving three of our passengers.
However, that effciency was undone by the weather in Chicago, thunderstorms that caused an hour of extra stuffy time on the tarmac before we could be cleared for take-off. But our Italia magic prevailed and we caught all of our connections, uniting our group with our separate traveler, Lydia, at the Florence airport.
Settling into the Hotel Pendini went off without a hitch, their staff warmly welcoming us as they do each time I return with my groups. Eating our way through this favorite city began with lunch at Cantinetta Antinori, an elegant little restaurant in the very fancy shopping district, after which we walked (and sometimes trudged) up a very long hill across the Arno, to get to Piazale Michelangelo and the Church of San Mineota, just in time to hear the monks sing the Mass. High above Florence, we stood together and looked out over the city.
Saturday we met my lovely walking tour guide, Elena Leo, whose abundant knowledge about this area enhances our trip each time we are in Florence.
Just so readers know, my WordPress isn’t behaving as it did on the Camino, and until I figure it out, I’ll do my best to send details of our trip every few days. But the photos aren’t “nesting” in the text in any consistent way. Ah, Viva Firenze!