My Travel Journal

About Me

My photo
West Virginia
When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

Get my posts by e-mail

December 11, 2017

Italy 2017 - it's a wrap

Just a few pictures I took with my phone and just got around to downloading them this morning (12/11) while waiting to leave for the airport.  I gave up trying to sleep at 4:30 this morning, it's now 5:20 and we'll leave for the airport at about 7:15, with Chris dropping me off on his way to work.

This is buon Natale from Italy... this one and the next two were taken on my walk back from my evening cooking class.  I had pondered taking a bus, calling a taxi, etc., thinking did I really want to walk that far at that hour of the night but I was glad I decided to.  I didn't make one wrong turn, there were far fewer people out and about, and it was a clear, lovely evening.

I love Italian shop windows whatever city I'm in.  And I loved these little dresses that look like little girl dresses rather than women's dress-up clothes cut down to size.  (That's showing my age, isn't it?)
 And the Ponte Vecchio at night...
This isn't a clear picture - the fluffy bumps of the clouds were very clear-cut - not fuzzy like this.  After taking it, I wondered how high we were and looked up the flight details and here's the scoop:
 Check out that temperature!  Glad it wasn't THAT cold in Florence. :)
Yeah, I was pretty bored, although actually this was probably the best flight I've had in my traveling history.  There were many empty seats on the flight and I ended up having three seats to myself which meant I could put all the arm rests up and stretch out!  How great is that?  And the crew were just fantastic, laughing and joking with the passengers, constantly bringing drinks, food, treats, etc.  I told the woman sitting across the aisle from me that I probably had put on about 5 pounds just on the trip.  And I told the crew I thought they were the best crew I'd encountered in my travels and the steward laughed and said "they have happy pills in Paris" so if that's what happy pills do, I'm all for them.
By this time we were headed into Maine as far as I could tell from the map they show on the flight tracker.  This was land I was looking at and a very snowy land.

And that is well and truly the last post for this trip.  I'm about 99.9% positive it was my last trip to Florence.  If I go to Italy again, I would pick a new place to explore and if I just had to see the Duomo, eat at Enzo & Piero, or whatever, I could take a train up (or down) for the day and do it.  I'm still trying to figure a way to end up being able to drive around the countryside, visiting little hilltop villages, and smaller towns with good things to see (and eat!)  I can't imagine driving a rental car out of a large city like Rome but I think if I could get out of the city and then rent the car, I would probably be all right.

At any rate, I enjoyed this trip and, as with all the others, will have plenty of wonderful memories!

A bientôt!

December 09, 2017

Thursday - Museo Galileo

Not the best post ever, but I have to do a "final day".  The weather was although I managed to get to Museo de Galileo which is right off the river (a hike) without any rain.  But when I left the museum (after an inordinate amount of time spent there) it was raining and and cold.  I stopped at the “hole-in-the-wall” sandwich place and got a carry-out porchetta sandwich for a nighttime treat. I would have felt bad leaving Florence without going there - I just find it delightful.  They didn’t have as big a crowd as I’ve seen before, but there was a nice sized group in the rain, getting their very good and very cheap sandwich.

I had decided to treat myself to a nice long lunch. I was ravenous, tired, cold and the only other thing on my to do list was go to Mercato Centrale and buy Parmesan cheese.  So off I went to my Enzo & Piero trattoria. I didn’t order any antipasti or pasta this time because I wanted meat and potatoes so I ordered from the “secondi” section of the menu which I don’t think I’ve ever done by myself. I opted for a slow-roasted beef with black peppercorns and tomato and an order of roasted potatoes.  I also ordered a Montalcino rosso wine, which was very good, and a half bottle which I couldn’t finish. I said probably Icouldn’t put the cork back in and take it with me, could I and he said sure you can, got the cork and fixed me up.  

Anyway, the meat came and looked fantastic and it came with a helping of I imagine cooked kale on the plate.  Took my first bite and oh my!  It was so delicious and precisely what I was hungry for.  I started picking out the peppercorns though because in my second bite, I chewed up 4 or 5 and got a hot mouth! Picking them out or not, the flavor was fantastic and it had to be from more than the tomatoes. The potatoes were wonderful too and went beautifully with the meat. It was like pot roast only bite-size pieces.


Moving on,I have to preface the pictures with the fact that when I finally got to the museum, I was already worn out.  Once I got started looking at everything, I really enjoyed it but had to sit frequently cause I just didn’t have much stamina.  I took way too many pictures as always and knew that I wouldn’t remember what they all were even though I took a fair number of the explanatory signs too. But at the Galileo one, even with the signs, I didn’t understand the science at all, I mean AT ALL!  But all the instruments were as much works of art as they were instruments so I didn’t care that I didn’t understand but I can’t say much about the pictures I’m posting cause I don’t know much about them. :)

There was a quote of Galileo's on one of the walls and I took a picture mainly for January but also because it sure made sense to me:

So seethe Galileo!  And I forgot I took one or two pics on the way to the museum.  They've been decorating Florence for Christmas ever since we got here and it's all getting quite festive.  This morning I passed through the Piazza della Republica and they were just putting up the tree:

This was in Palazzo Vecchio (which must have been where the tree was too...) and I think it must be from some sort of festival they had.  Apparently it consisted of burning candles or bars of wax or whatever.  That small pot of light is a flame still burning and all the red is wax that dripped down.  There's a hole in the side of the white thing which more wax that's dripped.  And I think inside that almost closed door were fresh vegetables!!  Oh, and the thing covered in wax appears to be a man dressed in trousers and a jacket with his upper torso and head gone.  Very peculiar.

So now, the museum with it's beautiful mysteries.  Just remember they're beautiful even if I don't know what they do.


 Explanation of the close-ups below
 This globe and the one below are the two globes in the clock above - one showing the zodiac cycle and the other showing the earth.


Close-up of the "innovative" dial and below, close-ups of the amazing gears needed to run the show




 Looks like a holder for calling cards but probably not
 This seems to be the only photo I have of what starts out looking like a beautiful massive desk and when all the parts are opened, turns into a chemistry lab!  Just unbelievable.  And I just found this video I did of part of their video - don't know if it will open here or not - okay I tested it and it does open but I can't seem to make it any bigger like I do with my photos.  Anyway, the cabinet part is almost right at the start.



 A little history about the collection
 Is this gorgeous or what?  Who cares what it does, right?
 Ooh, I remember this one - instruments for skull surgery and the one below is instruments for gynecology and obstetric chores.

 These make me think of lovely pianos

 This was called a fountain but it has or had a scientific purpose.  Reminds me of something in Grandmother's parlor.



My eyes popped when I saw these two quackers - what could they be doing here?  Turns out they are magnetic ducks - this section was about electromagnetism (I think).  But aren't they cute for serious scientists to play with?

All the woodwork is so gorgeous...
 And I remember a little here - #10 and the red domed lid one are "thunder cabinets".  There didn't seem to be an explanation that I could see of just what a thunder cabinet does.

All of these many pieces that get put together just so, make sort of like Spiro-graph thingies.  I thought it would be for making the perfect circle but it doesn't make a circle - just keeps sort of making big loops.

This room was about telescopes (although the stuff in the cabinet on the left is not telescopes) but the one hanging above certainly was.
 Big ones...
 This wall clock was huge and would need a castle or palazzo wall.  It looks like all it does is tell time but maybe it has another purpose.
 And this has a grandfather look to it but is not a clock
 Pretty, but very scientific obviously :)
 I loved this piece, especially with the little angel peeping out from behind  the center bar (picture below)

Sundials you can carry in your pocket
A cabinet full of beautiful craftsmanship and I think maybe the explanation below refers to the big oblong piece.



Fantastic - and it told them something they wanted to know back then...
 This was huge and magnificent.  Inside there were I think two globes and I got the best peek at them that I could


 There was a room of globes all made by the most famous Italian globe maker of that time (16-1700's)

He was asked what his process was and said that he first makes panels like the ones on this wall which were made from his original plates, then glues them onto the globe with papier mache and does whatever else to them and voila!  A gorgeous globe.
 This is the lovely frontispiece of a large world atlas.
 And yet another bust of America Vespucci - one of Italy's famous sons
 This is an objective lens fabricated by Galileo for a special purpose.  And the book is open to a page with his handwritten notes in the margin.

 A little more history - this time concerning Galileo's discoveries once he had built himself a more powerful telescope than those in use at the time.
 This Medici took Galileo under his protection when Galileo ran into trouble for his "outrageous" and "heretical" statements.
And another big "oooh, yucky" - strangely enough at some point after Galileo died and his body was being moved from wherever it had been laid to rest into a huge tomb in the Santa Croce church, they cut off the thumb, forefinger and third finger of his hand and made them "relics".  I'm thinking he may be the only non-saint and certainly at one time enemy of the church who has parts of himself in reliquaries.
And the man, himself
 And still another piece of good wood work.   This was to prove a theory that a pendulum could make a steel ball go through the spaced arcs at the same speed all the way down.  They had a video that demonstrated and you could count 1,2 and ball through arc, 1,2 and ball through next arc and so on.  I'm not real sure why that was important, but it was fun to watch and wonderful to look at.

 One whole wall of this room was dedicated to glass scientific instruments - thermometers, hygrometers (whatever those are), etc. Although I think the plates along the back are plates.






 These were called tall-stemmed thermometers and they certainly were that.  I have no idea how those could have been successfully blown and also no idea how they can continue to survive.  Being a part of a major collection certainly helps but still, the stems were I would say about the diameter of a refillable ballpoint pens plastic ink tube, maybe one hair bigger.

Walking back - as long as I can see the Duomo, I can figure out where I am.

Italian Word Word of the Day

My Trusty Followers

Blog Archive