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Stop #07: Livorno, Italy

By David Morris

Florence, Italy

Florence is a very interesting city.  The day we travelled to Florence, it was over 100 degrees and extremely crowded, uncomfortable, and very, very hazy.  The streets were tight, which is very common here in Europe, especially the old sections.  There were also a tremendous amount of people and we were constantly reminded of pick-pockets, so that was always close to mind.  The bus we took into and around Florence moved rather quickly and bounced a lot (if I do this again, I will definitely need a faster lens).  With all that said, do not overly critique my pictues, I got what I can in rather hostile surroundings.  Also, I have discovered, if I had not mentioned it earlier, a lot of the art work, paintings and scuptures, were full nudes.  Because of this and my christian conscience, this seriously limited my picture taking options as well.

What facts I remember about Florence:
1) I took several pictures of a basilica (largest church in town, I think) that is the second largest church in the world.  The first being St. Peter’s in Rome, the third coming up in Istanbul.  Florence is the home of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vince, and Galeus Galila (sp?).  There are many statues (which I did not take pictures of) that were carved by either of the first two.
2) I took several pictures of a special pine tree they grow in Italy called an umbrella pine, which is obviously named.  Apparently, pinyon pine nuts, which we can buy at the store in the states are harvested from the pine cones of the umbrella pines.  One nice lady on our bus gave me the following recipe for microwave salmon using a pine nut sauce:
Mix garlic, butter, pinenuts, parmesean cheese into a basting sauce.  Get a piece of 1/2″ thick salmon and spead the sauce over it on a microwave safe dish, cover the fish with paper towel and nuke it.  She said it is quite tasty and apparently very easy to make.
3) Another crop they grow in Italy and I could not get a good picture although I saw some wonderful opportunites (but at 60 mph, it was difficult), is sun flowers.  We passed on the way to Florence, whole fields of sun flowers with their big bright faces pointing right at the sun.  Really was a wonderful sight that my camera did not capture well.

Pisa, Italy

Apparently Pisa is a rather small city with four POI’s, the basilica, the baptismal, the bell town, and the cemetary.  They are all located within a central court yard.  The volume of people was still very high but at least we had room to spread out and take some good shots.  Unfortunately, I still had to deal with the heat and haziness of everything as well as a very bright noon-time sun that washed out everything.  I tried different filters and setting and will need further instruction from my photographer buddy, David Huffines, on how to deal with these kinds of conditions in the future.  I did not go into any of the buildings due to time, but did enjoy taking what pictures I could here.

Personal experience I want to relate: We were told that the charge for the bathroom was .30 euro (which is cheat to other places we had to go).  So I go get on line and everyone in front of me is female.  So after wating a couple of minutes, the woman in front of me says that the men’s room is to the right.  I looked and sure ’nuff, there it is so in I go.  I glanced at the stall doors and thought I saw the slot for money in the door so I assumed that the .30 euros was for stall access.  After taking care of my business, I was exiting the restroom and a very frantic woman meets me at the entrance (actually she was some way inside the restroom) and talking rather loudly in Italian.  Apparently, the long line of women was not for the restroom but for a lady that was collecting the .30 euros from everyone by hand, not via a machine.  So I paid at that point.  I would have hated to end up in an Italian jail for illegal peeing.  Apprently several other men did the same thing because she was pointing and shouting to each one of us.  She was very good at her job and … dedicated!

Enjoy Pisa.

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