A sadly abbreviated post, but at least something for the record! My last day in Florence was a relaxing one, as I made my way around the gorgeous Palazzo Vecchio. It was just a never-ending parade of gorgeous ceilings, painted with scenes of mythological figures such as the trials of Hercules. They even had a map room, where all the walls were lined with historical maps of places all over the world. From there, I waited in a nice long line to see the inside of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. I decided to forego climbing up inside the Duomo, as I’d already had a number of fantastic views of the city. The interior was surprisingly austere, though apparently that was meant to reflect the religious mindset at the time, but the inside the dome itself was a spectacular fresco of The Last Judgment. I made my over to the major Franciscan church in Florence, the Basilica di Santa Croce. It was a beautiful space, despite, somewhat disappointingly, having its main altar under renovation and covered by scaffolding. It also housed an impressive number of funerary monuments, including ones to Michelangelo and Galileo. Happy that I’d had my cultural fill of the city, I found a lovely little spot, La Prosciutteria for a bite to eat. A huge plate of prosciutto and salami, with a bit of cheese and grapes to break things up, and a healthy pour of wine. I ended up staying and having another glass and another little board of cheese before heading back to the apartment for the night, to relax and pack myself up.
I was up before dawn the next day, as my flight was quite early. I hauled my luggage down the stairs and caught the bus to the train station, where, after a bit of wandering around, was able to find the shuttle to the airport. I made it with plenty of time and so I settled in for my several hour wait. Unfortunately, the plane that we were supposed to take was diverted to Bologna, which meant our flight was delayed for several hours. After A cacophony of shouting Italians at the flight desk and an additional 2-hour wait, we were on our flight to Zurich. Thankfully, some industrious person had pre-arranged some of our revised flight plans and was waiting with a set of boarding passes, so I was able to grab them and relatively quickly board another plane to Frankfurt. There, it was about an hour and a half before I boarded the flight to Chicago. Magically, as I was scanning my boarding pass, I was given an upgrade to business class. The wide, comfy, fabulously-reclining seats were wonderful, as was the 3-course meal and steady supply of bubbly. They also provided big, fluffy blankets, so I was able to catch a bit of sleep when I wasn’t busy eating. The 8-hr flight flew by, and about the only thing to mar the whole experience was the fact that I left my glasses on the plane (in the special glasses compartment they provide for you). Otherwise, a lovely end to a relatively stressful travel day.