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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 07, 2017

Wednesday and another good day

aside from my increasing habit of getting myself lost and having to retrace my steps.  The only time that does happen seems to be when I'm headed back to the hotel in the late afternoon or early evening.  Must be some kind of homing instinct.

At any rate, today I was going to do two museums and only managed one.  Partly because of my going the wrong from the first museum (where I spent a fairly huge amount of time) and having to walk all the way back past that museum and go in the right direction.  So by the time I got all straightened around and figured I was close to the Duomo and so could figure out how to  get to the second museum, I was hungry, cold, really needing to sit somewhere because I hadn't sat since I left the hotel in the  morning.  So I picked out a place to eat where I could get meat and potatoes which I was hungering for.  I wanted to get a meal like Chris and I had at lunch one day which was a fixed price appetizer, entree, a glass of wine and I think even dessert which we passed on.  And it was all good and cost 10 euros.  And this sure wasn't going to be 10 euros but I could get roast pork, roast potatoes and wine for about twice that and just decided to tell myself it was money well spent.  So that's what I did and I was there quite a while and by the time I left I think it was a little after three and I couldn't remember for sure when the 2nd museum closed and if it was 5 I'd feel rushed and my phone was dead so I couldn't check and I was tired so I took my time getting back to the hotel.

I almost forgot - while walking to the museum this morning and only getting messed up about 3 different times, I saw this chess set in the window on its very fancy board and stopped for a closer look.  I saw that the board was needlepointed and thought "wow" and then notice that OMG, it was a needlework shop!  So I had to go in, of course.  It was a fairly large store divided up into about 4 smallish rooms so it was kind of fun to poke around.  But it was essentially the same type of supplies we have here, just more of it all.  But wonder of wonders, I went into the last room and there in the front near a window I hadn't seen outside was a really large dollhouse!  The owner and I had a good time trying to talk dollhouses with her with no English and me with no worthwhile Italian.  But we both knew how the other felt about it. :)

 Probably on 222 count, I would guess...
 I loved the little sewing room

 And then when I came outside and walked up the street a bit, here was this taxi.

The museum today was the archeological one and it was unbelievable - huge building, many, many rooms on three floors and filled with more artifacts than I think I've ever seen in one place.  They have mainly Egyptian, Etruscan (some of the first "settlers" in Italy), Greek, and I think one other one.  I know they had more mummies in their cases than I've ever seen in one place.  I took a lot of pictures as usual and am not going to have too much to say about them.  All of the pictures of glass are a special exhibit for a specific period of time - some owned by the museum, other pieces on loan from other museums.  When I bought my ticket there was a woman at the door to the glass exhibit room (huge - the room, not the woman) who asked if I would like her to accompany me for a free tour of the exhibit so I said yes and was glad I did.  So off to the glass exhibit:

 The little vase in back was so lovely and probably no more than 3" high, if that.
 This gorgeous piece was made using the cameo glass cutting technique where two layers of glass are used and then the pattern (or in this case pictures) are carved out.  The spout shows the beautiful blue of the piece.  Since the entire piece was only about 5" tall or so, the detail on this is amazing.
At about 1-1/2" this one made me think dollhouse.  And what a pretty blue.
I took this picture because the glassware is all from Cypress as is Alex, my son-in-law. :)
Of course I can't remember what she told me about everything but I do know that these are very old.  Some of the glass in the exhibit is B.C.
 Two stunning little perfume flagons
And even though this looks like pottery it's glass!  I have no idea what the figures are portraying but it sure is delightful.
 After the glass exhibit, I went upstairs and was in the Egyptian rooms that went on and on.  The picture below is an explanation of how the rooms are laid out.

 Beautiful penmanship!

 This is the Francois vase and I'm not sure why it is especially pointed out.  There are other bigger examples.  But a very nice man who works there and was out in the garden area when I poked my head out an open door and explained to him that I was curious about the mound in the garden, ended up telling me all sorts of interesting things and told me to be sure and see the Francois vase upstairs.  At that time I didn't even know there was an upstairs so he came inside and showed me where the stairs were.  Spoke basically perfect English so it was a nice visit.  Oh, and the blank spaces are how they put all the various pieces together so it can be displayed.
This one is definitely bigger - the size of the good-sized doorway behind it.  But its decoration is not as nice as the Francois.

A sarcophagus of a Hellenic woman and decorated all over.

 This vase is also bigger than Francois and pretty much complete with no repairs.  So I'm not sure why the Francois is special but it is.
 Another shot of the garden here and below.  The one below has the mound I was talking about.  I asked him if this one with the entrance opening was to simulate an excavation site and he said, yes that they used to allow people in.  He also told me what a tremendous amount they lost of their collections in the 1966 flood.  He said worse than the items, though, was the loss of a lot of their archives that included their research on items in the collection.

 Below are pictures of some of the bronzes and metalwork.  This first one I think is Noah's ark!  And what made me think that was the huge blow-up of it on the wall behind it which made it really difficult to get a good photo of it.

 A delightful piece with all its ducks.  They labeled it a fibula and thinking that was a bone, I had to Google to see what else it might be and discovered that in Italian it refers to a brooch or fastener for a garment.
 Lots of big bowls with these tiny dollhouse size pots - do you suppose some ancient somebody had a dollhouse?
 Just a random piece...
 Another peek at the garden
 So fierce!  I believe this was a wood carving.
 There were two or three rooms of these "cases" seen in the photo above and below and with the help of a museum guide and her two friends who spoke no English and me trying to ask in English what the cases were, it all became quite hilarious.  Finally one of the friends googled what they were trying to tell me and it turned out they were used to hold the ashes of loved ones.  I knew they had said "fire" once and I responded "ashes?" but, of course, they didn't know what ashes meant so we had a good time.
 I thought this guy was a good match for the bored Venus.  He's probably thinking "geez, being filthy rich and just laying around all day is really getting to be a drag..."
 A baby bonnet and sock above and a baby jacket below.

This is part of a portable sundial which is such a neat idea!

So that was my visit (with lots more seen than these pictures show).  I started back and snapped this shot of a building that I'm sure I've seen on previous visits but didn't really remember it.  It's like they've put a decoration on every available space.

And my first clear shot ever of the bell tower at the Duomo.

And that's it.  Came back to the hotel with no trouble getting lost, worked on my pictures for a while, went out and bought some cheese to eat with my remaining wine, and bread and two bean soup mixes to bring home.  Also bought my bus ticket to the airport so I won't have to do it Friday morning and figured out the best path to lug my luggage to the bus station.  Now it's Thursday morning and I have to get going on my last day in Florence.

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