Friday, August 8, 2003

Fiorenze Henderson

Florence. Fiorenze. Florence. Fiorenze. Florence and/or Fiorenze. I don't know where the hell I am. Fiorenze Henderson?

The Florence train station looked like how I expected it to, like a movie. A huge slatted dome like an airplane hanger with light coming through in shafts. Spinning signs and changing lights. Loud, gesticulating people. Stray pigeons. And an instant enclosure of body moisture when we stepped off the train. I think I liked it even better than Waterloo.

I feel farther from home than I ever have in my life.

The Duomo was... cute. Like a half-assed version of St. Paul's and the color of mint chip ice cream. But the city itself is beautiful. The River Arno is also soft and green, but more pleasing and not brown and sick-looking like the Thames. We saw an statue garden outside the Uffizzi that I liked a lot. Mostly men statues. Kristen pointed out that the only female statues were either being raped or the decapitated Medusa. I thought Perseus and Medusa was the best one there — a beautiful and horrible form in green stone on a white marble pedestal adorned with grotesque human forms and skulls. Seems like I've seen Medusa a lot since I got to this side of the world.

I had some good lasagne and we met a girl from Alabama named Nicolette. I would have expected to hate the Alabama accent, but on her it was actually charming. I think I get to see some genuine Renaissance art today, a few more good shots of culture with Agnes and Charlie at the Uffizzi while Kristen's beaching because she spent a month in Florence with Hillary O last year. I saw Michelangelo's grave and Macchiavelli's and Enrico Fermi's. And also the inventor of the radio. They're all in Sante Croce, where the great men of Italy apparently spend their afterlives. Charlie correctly pointed out the oddness of Galileo's presence in the church as well, seeing as how — great as ol's Galileo was — the church condemned his theory of the heliocentric universe up until about a few years ago. Crazy Italians.

When it rained yesterday, the city changed — wet for a few hours and therefore bearable. The veranda at the hostel overlooks the entire city and we could see a wildfire burning in an irregular, red semicircle all night. I think the smoke may have helped block out the sun a bit. The hostel here is odd, but way cooler than Balmer's in Interlaken. We stay in tents that have padlocks on the zippers but can be entered just as easily by lifting up the corners and sliding right in. Next Rome and then Barcelona and then Paris on the night of the nineteenth. I might get to see Caitlyn in London before I fly home.

Something funny: with an pitiful honesty, Charlie said he's never understood why boxer briefs are called boxer briefs. Gelato rocks my face. Sixteen days.

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