The Big Clearout and Memories of Florence

You know how it is... a big festival is approaching, visitors are threatening to descend, the spare room needs sorting out, you plan to move something from the spare room into another room, but that means you have to make space for it, which involves emptying a cupboard... and before you know it ...

This is/was my computer room... the remnants of my business are kept in here, it also doubles as my linen cupboard and where I keep my genealogy files, plus the paper store, the place where we dump old tech, cd's, books, floppy disks (!?) etc...

"I'm just going to make a space in the computer room... it wont take more than half an hour...."

Three hours later and I am sat in a pile of waste paper trying to sort into recycle and shredding piles... I've already put several unwanted bits of old tech on Freecycle and I'm getting quite bogged down with it all when I came across an old notebook that I used as a diary in 2005.... mmmm.... February 2005, Billy Steve, Billy Christina and I went to Florence for a long weekend. Florence is counted among one of my most favourite places in the world...

...... at the end of the the three days I wrote a summing up of my favourite and least favourite things about the trip......

The Worst things about Florence

1. The drains - terrible smells - especially right outside our room.
2. Cleaning the drains - large (relatively) noisy machine during the night right outside our room and an even worse smell.

3. The beggars - Albanians or something, terrible nuisance, the women with their flowered head squares and dirty faces, long flowing skirts and faded and dog-eared photos of their children, someone's children! Fewer men, one on his hands and knees outside a church, hands, together in prayer, another his forehead to the pavement hands held out before him.

4. Everything is either half built or half demolished. The whole place has an air of a building site.

5. The prices. It definately seems to be more expensive than the last time we came.

6. Breakfast in our hotel has become self service - it used to be a little more elegant with a waiter serving us.

7. The air-conditioning (which at this time of year is a heater) in our room which is like a de-humidifier drawing all the moisture from my skin, I've aged like a prune overnight.
8. The narrow streets and the crazy driving - and how no one, driver or pedestrian, takes any notice of signals - Scary!

The Best things about Florence

1. The narrow streets and how you have to keep your wits about you as a scooter whips around the corner. Exciting!
2. How often you look up or around and suddenly centuries have peeled away before your eyes.
3. The food and the long lunches, shops closed from 1pm to 4pm - more than enough time to eat!
4. The way everyone blatantly stared at Christina's make-up or clothes. Goth's must be so rare here. Some shop assistants even came out of their shops to watch her walk along the street.
5. The Duomo - Brunelleschi's frescoes. Sigh.

6. The ceilings of the Pitti Palace.
7. The yellow stained-glass windows in the breakfast room of the hotel, so bright and cheerful with the yellow tablecloths and napkins.
8. Terracotta rooftops - and the view from the top of the Duomo, which is almost medieval (if you ignore the TV aerials!)

9. The large wooden doors and heavy door knockers.
10. The softness of the water - even my castile soap lathered!
11. The lack of large shops in the city centre, no supermarkets, no conglomerates like Boots or Woollies - each shop, small, individual and personal.

Ah such memories... makes me want to go back again... alas next year will be an expensive one so I don't think Florence will be on the cards... but then again.. it will be my 25th wedding anniversary... I just might have to squirrel away some extra cash.


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