Tag Archives: Travel

61–Tuscan Holiday Parte Una: Firenze

NOTE: This post is another edition in the continuing dialog between the two faces of rilla. The identity crisis is explained (if such a thing is possible) in the first post. Click here to read: 1 — Introduction

Rilla: Think I’m going to fly.
To Italy.
Todayeeeee, yeah!
Have me a little Tuscan holidayeeeee. Yeah!!

Close-up of a sculpture that used to adorn the Florence Cathedral. Now it is in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo for safekeeping.

rilla: What’s that? Italy? Today? You could have given me some warning. Time to pack?

Rilla: Erm…it’s just a song. You know. I’m not going today. Not really. I mean…I…

rilla: Oh no. Not again. You’ve already been. Haven’t you? Haven’t you? You went without me.

Rilla: Well…now that you say so.

rilla: Why didn’t I know? You didn’t give me a chance. It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

Rilla: I tried. You were busy. You know. You were working on that darn manuscript of yours and when you get involved, why, I can’t even make you look up, let alone hop on a plane to Italy.

rilla: Huh. If you’d shown me what I was missing…I’d have taken a break.

Rilla: Shown you? What do you think I’m doing?

rilla: After the fact…what good’s that anyway?

Rilla: You mean you wanted me to show you the pictures I took before I took them?

rilla: Well. Well, yes. Why not?

Rilla: Hey! Look! Isn’t that the cat walking all over your keyboard again?

rilla: Where? Oh no. Sha-do! Sha-do………..

Rilla: Whew! Oh, joy! She’s gone…

The Singing Gallery by Luca Della Robbia for the Florence Cathedral, now in the Museo Dell’Opera del Duomo

Now. Where was I?

Oh, yes. Italy.

Stopped off in Firenze where they have a little dome…

Staying downtown,
made it easier to roam.
Peeked in at all the windows lighted,

The styles, so ooh la la,

and that rainbow shoe…how much?

Mama mia…OUCH…

…checked out the food instead!

So, so much to see,

The view of the city and the campanile from the gallery atop the Cathedral Dome on the cupola tour

no time to sleep at night.

Night view of the river Arno taken from the Ponte Vecchio or “old bridge”, the only remaining covered bridge in Florence.

Great masters at every corner,
Like Donatello,

Donatello’s controversial bronze sculpture of David victorious above Goliath’s chopped off head was the first free-standing sculpture created since classical times.

in the Bargello,

The Bargello museum is a grim gothic palace/fortress where at some time prisoners were held and executed in this yard until capital punishment was abolished in 1780.

Celini and Fellini…

Close-up of Celini’s bronze Perseus with the head of the Gorgon which stands tall in the loggia in the Piazza della Signora. He signed his name on the strap across Perseus’ chest.

…even street-art’s a delight.

Colored chalk on sidewalks, though copies of great masters, are amazing. One artist did a new one every day. Each one takes him 8 to 9 hours to complete.

All that viewing takes its toll,
Time for another gelato,

Gelato and gelato and gelato makes the world go round…or just me.

cheese by the round,

Farmer’s market in the Piazza Santo Spirito.

and nougat by the pound…or a tenth of a kilo,


Then, back for Michelangelo,
so sad his pieta,

Michelangelo’s last pieta designed for his own tomb in which the melancholic Nicodemus, one of the soldiers who took Christ down from the cross, is meant to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo who became very religious at the end of his life. He smashed the sculpture when he found an impurity in the marble. Lucky for us, it was restored and completed.

and heavenly mosaics that tell,
of a ghastly, gruesome hell.

Detail of a mosaic of the devil eating sinners in hell inside the ceiling of the Florence baptistery.

rilla: So. Taken care of the cat. What did I miss?

Rilla: Oh, nothing, nothing.

rilla: What’s this?

Detail of the “much-reviled” fresco inside the majestic dome of Florence’s cathedral, built by Brunelleschi and painted by Vasari and his student..

Rilla: Just a painting from the inside of the Florence Dome where we climbed up into it and stood right below the frescoes. It was awesome…

rilla: You know what it reminds me of?

Rilla: Hell?

rilla: That’s what your pathetic attempt at rhyming does to my head. AND, what will happen to you, if you leave me at home next time you go wandering around the world.

Rilla: Humph! That’s what it’s like when she tags along. And when she’s not there…nothing but paradise!

The Gates of Paradise–east doors of the Baptistery of the Florence Cathedral carved by Ghiberti after he won a competition against Brunelleschi, his main competitor.

58–On the Road Again! Continent # 6 South America

Brasilia! The capital in all its modern glory.

The Parliament buildings–the dome on the left signifies order and the dish on the right is for progress, the two ideals mentioned on the Brazilian flag.

Guards in front of the government building in all their dashing finery.

The National Library

What I call the blue church. Some ridiculous number of shades of blue are incorporated into the stained glass walls resulting in a cool and calming space that is breathtaking.

The Blue Church chandelier presented to the church.

The national museum in the foreground with the Catedral behind in the town center.

The Catedral up close.

The breathtaking interior of the cathedral.

Inside the Catedral was a revelation. The glass walls/ceiling made for a brilliant bright space that made me feel I was outdoors and yet enclosed in an air bubble.

Time for a cool refreshment! Coconut nectar, yumm.

And here are a few friends I’ve made in my short sojourn.


55 — Through a Spanish Window or Door

Ah! Spain! The sights, the sounds, the food, the wine.

In June, we spent three glorious weeks traveling through the country, starting out in Madrid, driving through Andalucia, and ending up in Barcelona. One of the most enjoyable things to do — peeking through windows, and a great number of doorways.

Spanish Bull

Spain and Bulls…not bull…though I’m sure there’s a lot of that here, as anywhere. I refused to witness a bullfight, as yes, I believe it is one of the cruelest things you can do to an animal. But, the creature itself is a majestic sight to behold…especially when it scares the bejeebers out of you glaring right at you out of a shop window as you unsuspectingly turn a corner.

Spanish Restaurant

And in Spain, there isn’t very far you can turn, without some reminder of the bullring or…


…ham! Legs of ham decorate so many of the windows, and Spanish ham, Jamon Iberico, or pork or bacon or any other porcine delight is ubiquitous and delicious.

Cholesterol warning–look away if you’re on a low-saturated fat diet.

Cheese Shop

Can’t eat that ham without a hunk of cheese. Yummy! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But that’s the neatest thing about window shopping–no pounds gained. If only I’d stayed on the outside of those windows.


But, the real reason we came to Spain was to see the awe-inspiring remnants of Moorish glory. In Sevilla, the Alcazar and its gardens provided so many windows on to a delightful time long past.

Garden Gate

Roaming the streets on a hot sunny afternoon in Southern Spain, there’s nothing more inviting than the glimpse of a courtyard garden. Too bad the gate was locked.

Spanish Fans

Time to shop for a fan, instead…there’s any number to choose from, whatever your desired material, ostrich feather, lace, ivory, or…blessed by a nude, whatever he is, cherub?

Spanish Fan

Even better, how about one with an entire living room scene painted on it?

Ice Cream Shop

If the fans aren’t enough to cut the heat, head straight for the ice cream shop. Kit Kat swirl or Ferraro Rocher crunch anyone?

Sweet Shop

Did I tell you the food was amazing? Well the candy was even better.

Candy Shop

Did I mention the food…and the candy?

Don Quijote

We were delighted when we came across an indomitable old friend and his companion — in this window, though, poor Don Quixote was more likely to be attacked by a mantilla than a windmill!


After all that walking (and eating) there’s no better place to relax than by a burbling fountain in the jewel of the Moorish crown — the one and only Alhambra!


Looking back on Granada… and the whole of Spain…I would visit again, in a heartbeat.