Thursday, April 02, 2009

Reviving our Spirits in Florence

Nerves had become totally frazzled at our house with the economic meltdown of the past six months. When we found a super deal to Florence, Italy for a week's vacation, we decided to go. Florence is a great city to visit now due to its past. Under the Medici, it was the banking capital of the Western world five centuries ago. Then, bad banking practices led to bank failure. Since the Medicis ran not only banking but government, there was no bailout. Time has nearly stood still in the city center ever since. Spared of fires and destruction from war, there is a certain aspect of time travel, except for the hoardes of tourists from every country and the ever incessant noise which echoes off the stone buildings and streets.

Florence is a hard city to travel in, but people have been visiting since the Crusades. I image early tourists found similar conditions. Costly water, overpriced restaurants, limited bathroom facilities, few places to sit, and a confusing transportation system means you are reduced to focusing on the most basic human needs. It's hard to worry about the things that are bothering us all when, amid the incessant sound of ambulance sirens, you wonder if you might be the next victim, carted off when you keel over from too much sightseeing. There is more art and more to see here than I had ever seen before in one place, and our minds were freed from the worries that have been testing our patience.


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