I could hardly climb the four flights of stairs to my hotel room tonight because my legs were like mushy rubber bands! We started the day climbing 463 stairs to the top of the cupola of the cathedral. Small balconies originally used to construct the dome and paint the inside have been turned into opportunities for tourists to see the frescoes up close and personally and also to have magnificent views of the city. Of course, we had to climb the 463 stairs back down again! We saw the Uffizi Gallery which isn’t big, like the Louvre, but every painting is important: Giotto, Leonardo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian and Michelangelo. Of course, the painting the girls liked the best was the one of Adam and Eve shown at the beginning of Desperate Housewives. The kids were troopers, and so is NB’s 83 year old mother, who at one point told our tired group “You all need a rest. Sit here and I’ll go explore.” Reid and I waited in line over two hours to see the David statue while the others shopped. It turned into an incredible experience for him when the 90 Spanish girls behind him found out he was from California. They treated him like a celebrity and got his email address and Facebook page. As he left the girls he said “I can’t believe what just happened to me.” Reid also thinks that gelato is the key to world peace. It IS delicious. So was the bow-tie pasta I had for lunch and the rigatoni with pesto sauce for dinner. Starbucks has trained me well at ordering café lattes and cappuccinos, but being in these cute cafes reminds me how Jim isn’t here with me.
I feel so lucky to be here eating amazing foods and having my soul fed with this beautiful art. Learning Italian has been another joy, and usually people understand my Spanish and are eager to help me learn the Italian word. If I say “pequeno” (the Spanish word) they say “piccolo” and are overjoyed when I say it right. Every time I get some down time, the tears come, but I am thankful for the many, many joys of each day.