2010
Oct 
14

Hobbling Tour of Europe

Filed under: Italy — Russell @ 3:10 pm  

For about two weeks I’ve had a pain in my shin.  It increases during the day but is gone in the morning.  At first, it seemed like a simple sprain but it hasn’t been getting better and it is more likely shin splints.  This is not a good thing to have on a trip that involves a lot of walking, some of it with a heavy pack.  Today, I begged off the museum tour rested, albeit in a local café.  It if doesn’t get better before we leave Italy our next stop may be a beach somewhere for some R&R.

In Florence, we tried to reduce walking by signing up for a hop on/hop off bus.  This works well as it stops at many of the museums.  Hopping is now my preferred mode of transport.

Yesterday, we hopped over the Piazza San Marco to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia.  This is an art school with a top notch museum.  The place was busy, but we had become Amici Degli Uffizi, which let us skip the line.  The bulk of the collection is devoted to 14th century religious artwork.  Much of it was commissioned for display in various churches.

However, these pieces are over shadowed by the work that everyone is here to see, Michaelangelo’s David.  The Accademia doesn’t keep you in suspense.  As you enter the second room you turn right and there he is in all his splendour.  Standing 100 feet away beneath a domed window, David is perfectly proportioned and strikingly realistic.  The statue rises 17ft above the pedestal and dominates the room.

Approaching, you brush past several lesser works.  Each a masterpiece in its own right, now relegated to adorn the path to the greatest sculpture ever created.  It has been said that once you view David there is no need to see any other works.  They can only disappoint.

It does seem odd it to spend time with a horde of strangers in the contemplation of a huge naked guy.  In order to make light of this strange phenomenon I’ve decided to adopt a form of profanity based on the statue.  The next time I’m fed up with tourists shuffling down the street, gawking at the sights, I’ll yell, “By the stone scrotum of David, move aside!”.  It could be quite effective.

After the museum we had lunch at Ristorante Accademia on Piazza San Marco.  There we met an American couple visiting from California.  The restaurant is highly rated and at first I thought it was for the good food at a reasonable price but the owner seemed delighted to have us there.  We met his infant child, got good advice on where to buy gelato and were treated to a delicious after dinner lemon liquor.  Highly recommended.

After this we boarded the bus and headed home.  A lovely day only marred by the pain in my leg.