a hard days flight part 2

November 6, 2017

Leg one over.

We were delayed about half an hour leaving Milan because reasons. I was fair chomping at the bit to get in my giant tin can.

I watched most of the most recent transformers film, and boy, wow.

Watching it felt like taking drugs, because it’s just so amazingly incoherent. Almost literally nothing which happens makes sense, or is connected to anything else. Anthony Hopkins is in it, and appears to have been infected with a markov chain generator. A bunch of things happen between the various characters which feel like they are supposed to be deep and meaningful and…aren’t.

Also the action is super bad and boring. I don’t know you make bad action when half your characters are giant fighting robots, and some of those robots are dinosaurs, and one of those robots is a three headed dragon.

Also getting the character of Grimlock so wrong is an incredibly impressive feat.

Also earth is apparently unicron, so…nope, still does’t make sense.

Anyway, I didn’t bother watching the end, because I was tired and it was amazingly bad.

Still better than the 2017 mummy though. Or at least more watchable while still being roughly a zero star film.

rantrantrantrantrant.

The trek through Dubai airport was fine; you have to cover a fair bit of distance but I’ve still got 40 mins before boarding. I would happily board now and sit on the plane; the paranoia about missing it is real.

Ah someone just hit me up for a shoe shine. No sir, I’ve played loungey shoey before.

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A hard days flight pt 1

November 5, 2017

Have I not used that title before?

Who on earth knows. We’re going in.

I’m currently sitting in the emirates lounge in Milan, about to start 25 and a half hours of sitting inside essentially sideways rockets.

Today was a huge day of shut-up-and-waiting. Fuddled about in the hotel room until I had to check out, and then went and sat in their lounge for several hours. Watched a bunch of netflix. (Turn Turn Turn from shield season one is still a really good episode).

And almost infinite nervous energy. I’m pretty sure if you hooked my up to a battery I’d break some kind of conservation of energy laws of physics.

Eventually, it was time to head off to the train station.

Also, Bologna train station is really a nothing station. It’s not like most german stations, where there’s a bunch of cafes and whatnot, which is really weird given it’s a massive hub station for italy.

Also, Italian train stations don’t have seating at all on platforms. Don’t know why.

Train was up on the board when I got to the station, which is weird for italy, and running 20 minutes late, which is less weird. Eventually it turned up and I got on, found my seat, and looked out the window into a dull grey nothing.

I got to Milan, and tried to work out where the actual hell I was being picked up by the driver.

The address they’d given was ‘Piazza Duca D’Acosta’ which is a massive space and there was also an absolute downpour happening. I was a little early, but they’d said the driver couldn’t wait for long.

So I tromped up and down inside the station, waving off an unending supply of jerk bags touts trying to sell me an umbrella, and couldn’t see him.

Eventually they called, and said ‘go to hotel <unintelligible>’

Uhhhh….

We talked back and forth, and eventually worked it out (it was only about 2 mins walk across the square), and stood out the front of the hotel, a little awkwardly waving off the hotel staff to explain I was just waiting to be picked up.

And waited.

And waited.

The service called again, and we had a conversation where they claimed the driver was there and I was bloody sure I was, and they said they’d call the driver.

Who, as it turned out, was essentially around the corner and not actually at the hotel.

It’s fine; I didn’t need that not-stress anyway.

Anyway, at that point, in the car, everything was fine. I couldn’t find the seatbelt; the driver said ‘Oh it’s ok in italy you aren’t required in back seat’.

I moved to a different, belt-able seat.

The drive out was fine although I was super glad I wasn’t driving, as the rain was torrential. And it being italy, that meant that people drove about 3 inches apart at the speed limit (rather than 1.3 times the speed limit and about an inch apart). But the driver did everything fine.

Also Milan airport is a real long way from Milan (about 50 mins).

And then from the checkin to the gate is a fair walk.

So now I’m sitting at the gate//lounge, which are the same thing here. Until about two minutes ago it was me and 10 staff and no-one else, but people are now trickling in.

Next blog probably from Dubai, and maybe also one from Sydney, depending on how long I’ve got.

 


End of days

November 4, 2017

So It’s the end of my last non-travel day. Tomorrow I’ll be durdling for about 6 or 7 hours, then getting on a train to Milan, getting in a car, going to an airport, durdling, fly, durdle, fly, wait some more, fly, etc.

But today was not that day.

This blog, however, begins at about midnight last night, when this happened:

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It’s not the clearest photo, but that pink thing is supposed to be the base of the bed, and you might notice that one half of the remaining bed is much, much lower than the other.

It’s the standard european issue where ‘double bed’ means ‘lol jk two single beds stapled together’

There is a mattress protector joining them, so presumably what happened was I rolled over into the gap, my weight pushed down, the mattress moved into the gap with me and flicked the base out from under us.

Unsurprisingly, this woke me up fairly sharply (although luckily doesn’t seem to have screwed my back).

I got up, and tried to work out what the hell I could do to fix it, and then decided I needed to go downstairs and talk to someone.

I then realised I probably needed clothes to do this, and redressed.

I went downstairs and told the guy on the front desk I needed help in my room. He apologised and said he couldn’t leave as he was the only one here and he needed to be able to let people back in the hotel.

I told him I had destroyed the bed.

Moments later, front door locked, we were upstairs. Between us we got the bed back into a functional state and he legged it back downstairs.

Placing the spare pillows on the gap-line to prevent me rolling over into it again, I (eventually) got back to sleep.

Looking at it today, I think the two bases must have not been pushed together when being cleaned at some point; I don’t see otherwise how I could have applied enough leverage for my exciting action.

This morning they offered to move me, but were going to move me to a worse room with the same bed, so instead the cleaner suggested adding another, larger wool thingy to hold the mattresses together better.

Lets hope so.

Anyway, then the day started and I did some stuff. Horray, stuff!

I started off at the Medieval museum, which had some nice bits and pieces.

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A bunch of students/church goers, and almost certainly the sculptor or the patron of in the middle looking out.

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It’s weird to me how often, in sculptures and carvings of this ilk (people fighting monsters) how pathetically small the monsters are depicted as. That’s less St George VS scary dragon than St George kills a scaly dog.

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hercules catches a fish

The museum wasn’t huge, but all the staff were super friendly.

Also they had sword guns.

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Also this gun dagger, which seems *super* useless as a dagger; you sure can’t stab anyone with it and the mechanism seems fragile.

They also had a series of illuminated manuscripts which I’m almost sure were hymn books

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but using some non-standard musical notation.

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a Medieval D4

A short walk from here was another church//Cathedral (A church, in Italy? Outrageous!)

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From here, it was over to the archaeological museum and then to the city museum.

The Arch. museum was pretty good, although half of it was closed, so only the eqyotian bit was available. The staff were super apologetic when I was entering, but I had euros and time to spend and it was a decent place to spend both.

I walked to the city museum via one of the many slightly raised walkway areas, which are an interesting and somewhat unique thing about bologna.

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The city museum itself was fine but not fantastic. It might have been better if I was willing to use audio guides and/or could read italian, but none of the exhibits were exactly exciting looking so I kind of doubt it.

Some interesting art of the city, and a few sections on famous people from bologna (Pope ‘Gregorian Calendar’ Gregory and Cassini, I recognised)

 

This left the time about 4pm; I was going to go to another thing but instead realised I was pretty tired, and so came back and had a nap.

After that, dinner and back here.


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At this stage, bring on the trip to the airport; tomorrow will be working out how to drain time and then going on a trip.

See you all during the week.


Bolog blog

November 3, 2017

Dear busker: I hope to hell you stop singing in the next hour or so.

This is the risk, I guess, of being just near one of the major squares; noisy bastards. He is, thankfully, better than the busker who was out there earlier, who was the laziest busker I have ever seen. He had a stereo playing music and an iPhone he was reading the lyrics from and he was, if I’m being charitable, singing along. I’m pretty sure he just had some iPhone version of singstar or something.

This morning was a fairly standard train morning; get up, pack (doing a semi-final pack, as I’ll try to avoid opening the bag or re-jigging the contents too much; hopefully it’ll not need repacking) and head to train.

Getting on a train in italy is something of a challenge and irritation, as instead of knowing which platform it will be on as soon as you get to the train station (or, if in germany, six months in advance unless something changes) you have to stand around looking at the departures board waiting for the platform number to come up, occasionally getting told which platform to go to with less than 5 minutes before the time it is theoretically supposed to leave.

I had exactly five minutes, so walked with haste and got onto the train, which then sat their for 10 minutes.

Bologna is only ~30 mins away, so the train ride was easy, and then a quick taxi ride over I was at the hotel.

It’s not incredibly flash, but it’ll do.

Back was a bit fershnickered, so I rested here for an hour or so (thankfully they let me in immediately even though it was only about 12).

also: Busker seems to have stopped. Hooray.

Just near my hotel is Basillica di San Petronio, and it’s a kind of weird building.

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It’s half-clad with marble, with the top half

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having all of the holes set up for cladding, but was never finished. (I couldn’t find the exact details but it looks like they just ran out of money).

The inside is nice but nothing spectacular.

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Then wandered off to the art gallery. The way to get there was just directly through the middle of the university, so lots of students, some celebrating…no idea what. It felt like the wrong time of year for a graduation, and didn’t quite look like a wedding, but there was a lot of glitter and excitement.

The art gallery is not huge, but had some cool and/or funny art.

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Look – I can use my powers to make that guys toga untie itself!

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From the cartoon ‘Steamboat Jesus’

Seriously – that one is just weird. There’s lots of the ‘Jesus being crucified’ art around, and a lot in this gallery, but that one just looks exactly like he’s dancing in an old cartoon – betty boop was my other option – that weird kind of cartoon dancing where the arms and  feet don’t really move and it’s basically a 6-8 frame gif.

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This one looks very standard until you zoom in on the chest wound

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and…maybe it’s not deliberate, but that looks to me quite like a pair of lips. It’s only missing the ‘bow’ at the top to seal it, but it looks really lippy.

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Another thing that I find funny about a lot of these paintings is how frequently they go all muppet-babies; just having John the Baptist or St Peter or whoever hanging out with baby Jesus.

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Baby Jesus, of course, being another thing a lot of artists from the gold-foil period had difficulty with; some combination of not wanting to make him look too human and being godlike etc, I guess, but this baby is seriously buff. It’s not quite a six-pack, but that baby has been doing some serious lifting.

The only piece of art of particular note was

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which is somehow a Raphael that *doesn’t* feature the madonna and child.

The rest of the gallery was sufficiently decent.

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I wove my way back to the hotel, passing the somewhat leant tower of Bologna

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and making it back here. After a brief rest, I headed out to a nearby games store, had a lengthy chat with the very delightful chap who owned it, and then went to dinner.

The hotel had recommended a couple of places. The first one I went to had an almost secret door (You enter from the street, and are in a wood-panneled box with no indication of which one is the door) and a kitchen that didn’t open until 7:30. (it was 6:45).

Deciding this was madness and their menu looked no-where near exciting enough to wait at least an hour before eating, I went to option number 2.

It was also quite empty, but actually open, so despite feeling a little underdressed (everything was extremely white and clean looking) I sat down and ordered.

The food was delicious, and I had probably the best steak I’ve had in europe. I’d decided, while looking at the menu, that I would get desert elsewhere, as I realised I’d been in Italy almost a week and not actually had anything from a gelatoria.

I signalled and asked for the bill, saying I didn’t want desert. The acknowledged.

Some time passed.

Wondering if they’d understood, I signalled again. They said they were bringing me some complementary…something, which ended up being a tiny tiny piece of cake and some almond biscuits.

I ate some, and tried to get a bill, and they said it would be soon.

At this stage, I was starting to wonder if perhaps I should just estimate the bill, leave money and flee. (My guess ended up being about 10E high, so hooray that I didn’t).

I’m not really sure what happened, but it was weird.

Food paid for, I grabbed a gelato between there and the hotel (it was great; they had that extra-dark chocolate, mum, we’d seen elsewhere, which was good but needed something to help cut through it a little, taste-wise)

Tomorrow will be some museums, and a final pack. I need to talk to the hotel about checkout times, and then on…Sunday? Is today Friday? I head home.

See you all soon.


Emergency Eclair

November 2, 2017

Apparently thisDSC04274

is all kinds of closed for what the sign on the door makes sound like ‘safety reasons’.

Todays plan was to go to the above (Santa Croce, where a bunch of famous people’s tombs are (some are super fakes), dantes house, the galilleo museum and back to the uffizi, and finish off the shopping I needed to do.

I spent all of the money, some on me, so that’s…good? Lots of gifts for people, anyway.

Dante’s house is a fairly ordinary chunk of florence, which is to say it’s 500 or more years old and made entirely of stairs and roof tiles. Entry was pretty cheap, but it would want to be – while there are a few cool items

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it’s mostly reproductions or later sculptures or paintings.

I did enjoy the depiction of the layers of hell, purgatory and the celestial sphere; particularly

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in which it is revealed unto us that the layers of the heavens go moon, mars, venus, sun, jesus, birds, ladders, stars, heaven. Which is pretty obvious, right?

the various text describing dantes life was pretty well layer out/written as well.

Downstairs, in the bookshops, I found these gems:

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arg – didn’t come out – the titles are things like ‘The children’s Dante’s Inferno’ which seems like cheery bed time reading.

I then wandered up to Santa Croce – closed – and then did some shopping on the way back to here. At one store, I bought <secret> for <secret> from a lovely little italian gent. When I went to pay, when he realised it was on visa, we had to go to the machine at the front of the store for some reason. He picked up the machine, took my card and just…leaned his whole body out into the street, standing at a 45 degree angle. Sensing my utter confusion, he explained that wifi in florence is mostly pretty bad, because…well it’s all old narrow streets, all the buildings are made of stone, and as he said ‘You can’t dig to put in optical finer – whenever you dig, you find an older city beneath, and someone opens a museum in your shop’

Which seems accurate.

On the way back, I purchased myself a chocolate eclair which I promptly forgot existed. This would become vitally important.

So, refreshed slightly, I headed back to the Galilleo museum.

My recollection of a previous visit is that it used to have more in it or maybe I was in a better frame of mind for it that time. It’s decent, but not exciting.

Except for one exhibit:

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One mechanism next to another mechanism

That, for anyone reading who’s never seen one, is an armillary sphere. (possibly one that never functioned)

What they’re for is depicting and predicting the orbits of the planets, assuming that at the centre of those orbits is

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Earth.

Of course, it turns out that ‘at the centre of the solar system/universe is earth’ is a pants on head insane turn of phrase and the whole machine is an epic screw-up, scientifically, but it’s a gorgeous screw-up so some leeway is allowed.

I also found this

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to be pretty cool; it’s a compass-and-sundial, so you can work out which way to face to get the time. (ish; you probably strictly need to know latitude as well?). Although it occurs to me now that where the sun is probably helps some amount with working out which way to face it but look I’m not an old-timey watchologist so just keep on moving.

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this hair means SCIENCE

And after this it was back to the Uffizi. Some douchebag poverty tourists were busking near the area where you queue to get in which was pretty annoying, and then they got extremely moved on by two armed police. And not the base-level police, this was the Carabinieri (I think) who one might at first glance believe to be just the army, and then at second glance had assault rifles the length of your arm and so when they tell you to just move right along you do so. (It ended peacefully but both I and one of the Carabinieri clearly at one point thought these idiots were going to try and argue with them, which just seems like a terrible life plan)

And then, a brief bit of queuing later, I was upstairs in the Uffizi, the stairs not having bothered me at all.

Yes, there are lifts in the Uffizi, why do you ask?

Uffizi: still great. This painting:

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Still the best.

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This statue?

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extremely confused as to which way up a duck should be held.

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Barry was concerned that his new costume might be a tad breezy

The 7 righteous virtues is another painting I didn’t put up last time; DSC04313

it’s pretty lovely. One by Botticelli, the rest by…ah I want to say Lippi but it ain’t. Flublerbl Fruphepturp.

Crowds still settled in the same places as the other day, with Primavera still having more nearly always than Venus.

Also, unrelated: It is weird that we (the english speaking world) happily call Primavera the italian name (it means spring) and other paintings (like Callumny or Callunia) not. Language is weird.

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Johnny Mustache is unconvinced this soup will work

Also, why is ‘people tormenting animals by not feeding them grapes’ a meme in statues?

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I trundled on through and got to the designated chair room (the uffizi has removed most of the spots to sit inside the big rooms, likely to improve the flow of traffic, except in room…70ish, which is just seats) and noticed this:

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The ceilings on the lower floor are insanely high. No wonder its such a stairapalusa in here.

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“This isn’t one of the Magi, it was old man Winters from the farm up the road this whole time!”

This is Da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi. Some noble family or other contracted him to do the painting for their house or family chapel, and paid him a fair sack of Money.

And waited. And waited. And then went and asked, and him being Da Vinci he’d done a bunch of sketches, and also built a machine which turns cats into owls, and one which fires balls of flaming sulfur half a mile, and invented a new language, and…well whatever raving geniuses do.

Hiring Leonardo must have been a high risk enterprise. Because if the idea bored him, he just wouldn’t start, and if it over-excited him as this obviously did – I mean look at the just bonkers amount of detail in the horses in the background (Leonardo probably bought some dead horses and was super into making the running motion look just perfect, but also seeing if a horse running on a treadmill going backwards could go forwards) – then you would likely never see your painting, or funds, again – you needed something that excited him just enough to get started and also finished.

And probably patience.

They did eventually just give up and get Lippi (actually) to do it.

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After that, it was dinner time. Dinner tonight was less successful. The garlic bread was great although extremely strong – it came with half a nob of garlic (not half a clove!) on a fork so you could increase the garlicness, and I’m pretty sure the other half was already on the bread. Entree also good.

For the main, I’d ordered deep fried chicken and vegetables. Look, it was probably objectively a mistake up front, but when it came out it was just a plate full of deep fried things.

Weird, i though. No vegetables.

I bit into one and…oh.

It was not, it turns out, a plate of (deep fried chicken) and (vegetables). It was              (deep fried chicken) and (deep fried vegetables).

I am not sure what that vegetable was, but it was pungent. I eventually found the reasonably small amount of chicken, ate it, paid, and left.

and thanked forgetful past me for emergency eclair.

 


All Saints Daze

November 1, 2017

I headed out to Chisea Oggnisanti – appropriately all saints church – and took a fairly slow route, not in any particular rush, as it was a wednesday and it wasn’t like it would be closed. Just a wander through the streets of florence.

I came across another church – I mean, florence isn’t as infested as Rome, but if you walk 3 blocks and take a few random turns and you haven’t come across a church then at some point you have fallen into the river. I was going to pop inside, but they had some kind of service on.

Weird, I thought.

I then continued on and eventually got to Chis Ogg, and went saw some obvious tourists entering and exiting, so went inside.

Where a church service was in progress.

November 1 is, as it turns out, some kind of public/religious holiday/festival in Italy. This caused some moderately interesting times.

Looking at the signs, the service had started about 40 mins ago, so I could wait it out; it took about another 20 or 30 minutes. Unlike quite a few of the tourists, I waited outside because obviously. I (and others) had one or two false re-entries, as groups trickled out – including most of the nuns – before it finished, but eventually they were done.

Chisea Oggnisanti is where Botticelli – my favourite artist – and Simonetta Vespuchi – his muse and almost assuredly illicit lover – are buried. It also, like most italian churches, contains some pretty good art. I guess that’ll happen when you’re in the art capital of the world and extremely talented artists are in your congregation.

The ceiling is also pretty extraordinary.

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That ceiling is completely flat; you can see a line of black dashes along the side – that’s actually a couple of centimetres from the top, all of the light grey stuff is just a perspective trick.

Visited B and Sim; there was a section open that hadn’t been last time I was here where someone or other famous was buried as well. Took a few pictures, determined that (once again) getting in to the last super wasn’t a going concern, and left.

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Again wasn’t n a rush to go to anything, so took a fairly leisurely wander back. Ended up on this street

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where someone was in driving hell, or as it is known locally, ‘Florence’.

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I actually had to step into a doorway so they could not whack me with their mirror, after they’d just done about an 18 point turn to turn onto this street, and they looked so flustered and lost.

I came back here, and headed out to do some shopping.

A lot of the stalls have this weird off-putting habit of showing you a thing, and when you ask the price they say something like ’42 – but for you 37. No, actually, today 34′.

If you’re going to pretend I’m getting a bargain, you have to give me time to haggle and think I’m winning. I’m sure I could have pushed them down more, but it’s just such a weirdly tactic.

Ended up buying the things from a nice italian gent who told me his (identical to the random auto discount store) product was 25, and when I asked for a deal saying ‘No is just 25’ which – look I could probably have tried to push but the simple nature of the transaction was appealing.

After dropping that stuff off at base, I headed to the Medici chapel. It’s super close to the hotel, and although not the most exciting thing in the city it is just very nice.

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The ceiling in the upstairs chapel is an un-capped dome; presumably it was built before the main cathedral, as it’s not like the Medici wouldn’t have been able to pay for whatsisname to do the cap-trick.

(The dome of florence cathedral – DSC04215

was the first fully closed dome built (ever? certainly in the west). Turns out if you’re not clever, when you close a dome it has a tendency to crack and collapse in on itself.

The scale of the Medici chapel is still pretty amazing.DSC04203

Just an incredible set of expenses must have gone into it.

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Maximus always hated judging the ‘Best Butt in Rome’ contests’

My next stop was off to an exhibition I had almost wandered into earlier in the day, celebrating…well actually I’m not strictly sure. It was ‘Firenze Cinquecento’ but that would be 500 years of florence and florence goes back to before 1517 so…???

This was at ~5 or 6. And florence was *crazy* busy.

The area around Il Duomo and the major streets leading to the other big squares were jammed with people. I assume it was because of all saints day, but it was absurdly busy – not quite shoulder to shoulder but not far off.DSC04219

And people were trying to drive though these streets. Some of them were honking furiously, which it turns out is an inefficient method of going through 5000 people, especially as those 5 meters away can neither see nor hear your car. You might as well get out.

Which (and sadly I didn’t take a picture) on taxi driver did – parked across two lanes of traffic on a theoretical road and I have no idea where the driver was. Probably having a smoke a few meters away, but he sure gave zero damns about the other cars trying to get around him if so.

Anyway, the exhibition.

Exhibition was mostly art up to about the 17th or 18th century. Nothing outrageously good, but some nice art. I’d have bought some posters or something from the shop, if only anything in the shop related to the exhibition.

Dear museums: Dance with the one who brung you. I don’t need, at this exhibition, 15 different postcards of David, or of Birth of Venus, or the god-damn Mona Lisa. I mean, sure, have a small amount of that so people with diarrhoea of the brain can be dreadfully uncreative, but sell me nice things about the things I just saw!

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This one is interesting due to something you can barely see in it –

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That’s a communion wafer below Jesus. This painting is a catholic anti-protestant propaganda piece – it wants you to understand that Jesus is legit dying right into that wafer, just for you.

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The rapture will be strictly pants-optional

I find this painting powerfully weird. But apparently Jesus is much less keen on pants – and non-cape clothes in general – than most of the other people in heaven. Although that one guy to Jesus’s right is trying, but has only managed to turn his clothes into a large purple nappy.

You do you, purple guy.

The other thing about the art in this exhibition is…

Ok, ok look, I need to talk about stairs, but you must understand it isn’t a complaint, ok? Everyone?

Ok.

This exhibit is in Pallazo Strozzi, where they often have exhibitions of various less famous art from around the joint.

The exhibition space is two moderately lengthy flights of stairs up.

The paintings here are mostly the walls of other buildings. The painting of cape-Jesus and nappy man is quite tall – Jesus would be maybe neice-height – so the painting is maybe 3 to 3 and a half meters. And is the wall of a building, so made of bricks or something. They were inset into the walls here, but I’d guess they must have been a hand or more thick.

And there doesn’t appear to be an elevator.

So I don’t know who the hell got them in here, but dang that must have been a process.

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Sweet Zombie Jesus!

After this I went off to dinner. It was nice.

Actually this reminds me of a story I neglected to tell last night.

So at all the restaurants I’ve been to, they bring out bred for you. I have no idea why; the bred they bring appears to be stale and mostly tastes like slightly moist notebooks. Possibly it’s the remains of leftover product from the markets.

None the less, bring it they do.

Last night, I got a pasta entre-sort-of thing, and it came with bread.

I finished the pasta, and they took it away. The head waiter asked the waiter why it’d been taken, as I had more food coming.

And so it came back, very sorry, you have more coming, sorry, etc.

And then a different waiter took it away, about 40 seconds later, and made it almost to the kitchen, and then brought it back.

And then I drank some water, waited for the main, which came out. And the waiter took the bread away.

I could see the head waiter, in conversation with another couple who were ordering, looking pleadingly/murderously as this waiter took the entirely unwanted bread, hoping to catch his eye and tell him to put the freaking bread back.

A minute later, the head waiter returned the bread, making sure all the waiters understood it wasn’t to be taken again. I forced myself to eat some of the weirdly damp and yet also entirely desiccating to the mouth bread, just to prevent some kind of bread-based revolution occurring and me being bread-knifed on the way out.

Tonight I had a different dinner entertainment, not at all to do with my food. The place I ate was rather popular. About every five minutes, half a dozen people would troop in, ask for a table, say they had no reservation, and troop out after being told to put their names down and come back in half an hour or more.

This repeated until a group of 5 Americans came in and when the waiter asked if they had a reservation, said ‘Oh we’re just going to join our friends who already have a table’.

The waiter looked to where they were pointing – a table for 2, occupied by 2, with other very full tables near it – and quite clearly very nearly lost it. He managed to convince them – in a way that you would call technically polite – that, no, there was no way in hell he was going to attempt to seat 7 at a table for 2, please get out of my restaurant.

He did not suggest they come back in half an hour or an hour.

 


Art of gold

October 31, 2017

Florence is a place of great art. You’ve got Michelangelo’s David, you’ve got Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, you’ve got Davinci’s annunciation.

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You’ve got Optimus Prime’s epic poo.

On days where I visit the uffizi, it turns out, I take a lot of photos.

Had a good sleep in, and started the day a bit late. I spoke to the hotel people downstairs, and said I wanted to see the uffizi; they said I was unlikely to be able to get a ticket.

Not sure if they meant ‘from the people we get a cut from’ because despite them trying and failing at 10:20, I picked up a ticket on the way over from what I’m going to misspell as chisse Ognisanti, got in a line, and was inside by a little after 11.

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I remembered, of course, that the Uffizi would require some stairs, but I was sure I’d be fine with them – got to the top a little out of breath but fine.

Then remembered there was a second flight of stairs.

Got to the top and was less fine, but functional.

If they had added a third set of stairs in the renovations, there would have been tears.

But no!

They have remodelled the Botticelli rooms though, and probably for the better.

Before, it was one big room with birth of venus on the left wall as you come in, Primevera opposite it, and everything else very much lost in the crowd.

Now the first half room has this

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as you come in, with this

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on the left side, which is just an entire wall of from some florentine church or noble home or something.

The room also contains a lot of the early/not as good Botticelli stuff.

The other room is very dominated by

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but also has

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and more importantly, the greatest painting in the world,

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The level of detail on Callumny is actually quite interesting, and seems to me to be unusual for anything Botticelli paints that isn’t Simonetta Vespuci’s hair. If you look at Birth of Venus, there’ some detailed hair, and wings, but the background is extremely background; the water is a series of soft wave-squiggles so you know it isn’t grass.

Callumny, on the other hand, is super detailed – the individual panels on the columns are all very detailed.

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Interestingly, the new structure appears to have pulled the crowds somewhat away from the birth of Venus; Primavera had bigger crowds both times I was in this room, by a considerable margin, which was not my experience on previous trips. Could just have been timing, of course; the big tour groups cause a lot of clumping – but still.

Part of the reorganisation, although its unclear if this is permanent, was in moving the Leonardo’s well away from the other renaissance stuff, towards the end of the gallery. Possibly this was due to a just-finished exhibit about the restoration of Davinci’s adoration of the magi.

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The building was reasonably crowded, but it always is. It struck me somewhat that the building is is full of random fresco ceilings and portraits which in many galleries or museums would be one of the major draw cards, but in a place like this they can barely be bothered to have signs telling you what they are because there are soDSC04072

damn many

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of them.

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one of his lesser known works, ‘John Travolta vs Medusa’ from 1975

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What do you mean, Joseph, why would I look tired? The son of God wouldn’t scream – it’s not like I’ve been seeing Simon from next door!

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It also surprises me sometimes where people cluster – very few around this, which I’m pretty sure is one of the good Raphaels, and heaps around the Michelangelo painting which is – I mean it’s ok, and by ok I mean very very good, but it’s not the best painting in its room, let alone the floor it is on.

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This is ‘Mary, Jesus, and the two people who paid for this painting’.

I continued on, had a break at the Cafe for Tartuffo,DSC04086

and the doubled back to the Botticelli room before continuing on.

 

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Keanu Reeves, Imortal vampire

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I do know what is supposed to be happening here, but I’m not sure I can make a caption funnier than just the painting itself. I also would cower before a glowing death baby.

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Also, just so we’re clear: There is no way this baby is not about to eat that bird. They look so excited at the prospect.

The Davinci exhibit is only partially deconstructed, as it turns out, so I spend some time eyeing off his work.

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the detail on those hands, as elsewhere in the painting, is amazing. As is the text; I’m pretty sure that must be close to readable.

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Our father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, please stopeth dropping seagulls onto me; yea, for they poke me in the coconut.

The rest of the day was wandering and relaxing, for the most part. Looked at some options of things for gifts for people, ate, relaxed – it was nice.

See (in a non-literal sense) you all tomorrow.