Actually, I'm no longer in Italy...but my luggage opted for an extended stay. Although I returned on Friday, my bags are still enjoying the lovely sights of Florence, or maybe London, or perhaps Charlotte, NC, each of the stops I had to make on the voyage home. I can't blame the bags. After all, how often do you get to see structures built hundreds of years ago and enjoy some of the best food and friendliest people on the planet? That picture on the left shows the Palazzo Vecchio, the former home of Michelangelo's David, for example.
A few other random observations and thoughts from my visit:
The food was truly remarkable. I don't think I've ever eaten so much over the course of a week. Homemade pasta, tasty pizza, rich tiramisu, piles of biscotti and a seemingly endless flow of Chianti somehow caused my clothes to shrink throughout the week.
The structures and architecture have to be seen to be believed. I've been to other parts of Europe but for some reason the sights in Florence stand out from all the others. It's one of those cases where the best pictures are simply unable to capture all the beauty and elegance.
Michelangelo's David was breathtaking. Speaking of which, that visit featured an interesting combination of technology and history. Standing in line waiting to enter the museum with a colleague, I couldn't recall the specifics of the statue. My Blackberry came in handy as I was quickly able to pull up the David page on Wikipedia and learn all the important facts before we walked in the door.
Your browser plays tricks on you... Every time I tried to go to google.com I wound up at google.it. Ads on Technorati's pages also flipped over to Italian, although I didn't run into that problem with any other sites. Speaking of technology, Google Maps works just as well on the side streets of Florence as it does in New York City, thank goodness.
Most buses are smaller than larger SUV's back here. Like most of the rest of Europe, scooters, tiny cars and bicycles navigate very narrow roads. It's a constant reminder of just how much of a wasteful, gas-guzzling existence we've built here in the U.S.A.