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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.

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December 03, 2017

A very satisfactory day

but tonight leaves a little to be desired.  The Wi-Fi is barely working so it will take forever to load my photos - I have a bunch!   And I decided to have Chinese for a light dinner cause the one right next door to the hotel had 4-1/2 stars on TA.  But maybe TA people don't know good Chinese food cause the restaurant was nice as far as decor, etc., and the tea was delicious but the wonton soup had no flavor and the steamed dumplings didn't have much either plus which there was no special sauce for them.  But, that's what I get for getting Chinese in Italy.

So I had planned last night to go to two museums today and if they turned out not to be much of anything, there was another one close by that I could also go to.  Well, they turned out to be a lot of something and I spent probably at least a couple of hours in each one.  The first one was a fair distance away - nothing unbearable, but a hike.  That first one was the Paleontology Museum.  There are nine museums in Florence that are all under the title "Il Museo di Storia Naturale - they're in different buildings scattered around the city and I had never heard of any of them until Maggie gave me an older Florence Insight guidebook for Christmas last year.  It mentioned a number of places I had never heard of so I brought it along with me and that's what I'll be working from this week.  So the Paleontology Museum was fantastic - I think of Italy only having churches, paintings, gorgeous palazzos, etc., all mostly dating to the Renaissance, so this incredible collection of skeletons from like 3 to 1.5 million years ago was unbelievable.  I will need to remember that it may be an old city, but it's filled with people who are doing great things.  There were a fair number of kids at this museum too and they were really enjoying it which was nice.

So, here's some of what I saw and I mostly can't tell you much about it - they have started having some English information but most of it still didn't mean anything to me because they used the - what would it be? - scientific names.  However, unscientifically, I can say this is the biggest rack of antlers I've ever seen!

A fairly complete skeleton - a few parts missing it looks like.
This guy was mammoth and if he wasn't a mammoth, he had to be an ancestor of them I'd think.  The picture below shows a close-up of his leg and foot - that's one large animal.  Oh, and I discovered that these big fairly complete skeletons have nicknames.  This one is Pippo.

Kind of a random one but obviously from a very long-legged creature.
And here we have Pietro, the jewel of their collection.  He is a complete skeleton and I think was discovered just a little under the surface of a field that was being prepared for growing grape vines in Tuscany.
This is such a delicate little creature compared to those in the other room.  Maybe he was a caveman's pet.
These eggs are part of the next scene ... one would probably make enough scrambled eggs for 20 people!
 And I couldn't figure these guys out at all.  There are the five little ones and the one big one and I thought "oh, that's neat, like a clan or something" but each one of the little ones had a different "name" on their card as did the big one.  And then I read something somewhere that made it sound like they were may involved in the evolution of horses, but that seems pretty hard to believe.  I'd believe giraffes easier than horses.  But anywhere they looked cute together if one is allowed to say that.
Now these three are pretty obviously involved in the evolution of horses and I thought I got a picture of the two next to them who were progressively bigger, with the last one looking like a horse.

Next on the agenda was their relatively new room which is centered around the entire skeleton of some kind of whale they also found in Tuscany.  They explain somewhere that way back in the Paleolithic era, the plains of Tuscany were a seabed and so are a treasure trove for skeletons and fossils and such of water creatures and plants.

This whale was discovered by an amateur fossil hunter in 2006 and in 2007 excavation was started.  I've taken a picture of each wall sign that told the story of "The Whale's Tale" (that's what they've named the room).  And I'm going to post them even though they're not pictures cause I want to remember what little I know about it.

And, shoot, I think I forgot the end of the story where, with the help of the fire brigade, they brought it into Florence.  It kind of tickled me that the fire brigade helped.  I wonder how... maybe on top of one of those really long fire trucks where there's a steerer in the front cab and one on the back end of the truck?  The two pictures below are my attempts to get something that looked like something of the whale but I wasn't successful.  It was very long and brightly lit in a fairly dark room so...
 This was back behind the mouth area and was a little shell that never went down to his belly.

 And this was the mouth area.  They had two videos running one with Italian subtitles and one with English and what I saw of them was really interesting.  It was about the excavation and this particular whale, but they went into how the whale figures into many cultures beliefs and such and particularly honed in on the Inuits.  There was a beautiful poem on the wall as you exited and I wish I had taken a picture of it.
 And I swear my camera could not have been any steadier if I had packed it in cement.  I had it on top of a brick wall and was holding it with both hands (thumb, first & second finger) while bracing my last two fingers on the brick wall.  I zoomed in but only to the 4x that is what the camera says it can do well.  And I got this very blurry picture.  But I posted it anyway, because it is I'm pretty certain, the last rose of summer anywhere!  It happened to be in the  Botanical Garden (that also is part of that 9-museum group) which I visited a few years back.  Walking to my next museum and going way out the wrong way before realizing it and having to walk back to the beginning, I took these next two pictures.

First one is a little memory picture for January.  Apparently, that book is loved around the world.

And this delightful nativity scene along with quite a little village was in the window of a bar/pizzeria place!
And good grief, there's still the second museum but it's going to have to wait.  The Wi-Fi is finally better but took forever for most of this post so I'm going to get it saved and put it and me to bed!

Buona notte!


Mary Lynne said...

No comments but I'll comment and post a nice note I got from Rosanna - the wonderful lady I visited in Genoa. She wrote:

You are truly unveiling all the hidden secrets of Florence !
I glad that you are having fun and not feel too much Chris's absence.
Now I curious of your cooking class, let us know what you will learn.
Keep enjoying your favourite city and take un abbraccio forte tutto per te
Rosanna xxx

And so I had to look up the last words to make sure of what they meant. I knew abbraccio was hug because she always sends that but I wanted to make sure of the actual phrase. I did a translate and it came out as "a big hug for you all" That seemed a little strange since there's just me so I looked at the words more carefully and thought "I bet that's "all for you", asked Google to translate just "tut per te" and I was right!! Rosanna is going to teach me Italian eventually. :) I hope she can come to the states sometime and Chris and I can meet up with her somewhere. I keep urging her...

Chinch said...

What a fabulous place to visit and I bet Chris is jealous as can be that he couldn't stay on and see this. And thank heavens for Maggie for finding the tour guide -- wouldn't you think they would keep places like this in all tour books?!? Will be interesting to see how the other museums turn out -- this one seems hard to top. xoxo ooo, Chinch
the extra ooos are all big hugs just for you :)

Christopher said...

Too bad about the wifi issues, but it looks like it isn't holding you back...
I wonder if there is good Chinese to be found in Italy... like, would that little Chinese place we saw in Venice, have been any good? In a country so renowned for food as Italy is, it seems like the exceptional "other cuisines" restaurants would be few and far between...
Neat to visit the "non-touristy" museums... I suppose the guidebooks really are written for the tourist who wants to experience primarily the art/architecture/culture of the Italian cities... but of course, all the world over, there's ancient pre-history to be found, unique to each region, too.

Mary Lynne said...

I wondered about Chinese food in Italy too but as I walk around and especially in the area of my hotel, I've seen several Chinese restaurants and a sushi place and I also noticed that a lot of the store signs are in both Italian and Chinese so I think there must be a fairly good-sized Chinese (or at least Asian) community here. I asked the girl that's here in then evenings if she ever ate Chinese and she seemed nonplussed - but decided no she hadn't. I won't try it again here. :)

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