July 27, 2011

As the retreat came to a close, we said our goodbyes and made promises to keep in contact.  We turned out the Ebbio drive that I had grown to love and returned to Florence.  While I had a twinge of sadness at the end of this chapter, I had great anticipation for my next adventure.  I had a week in Florence to explore the world’s greatest arts destination.  My curiosity was piqued as I wondered how I could continue the magic of the last week.  I suspected the week would not disappoint!

Fortunately, several of us were able to enjoy the day together exploring Florence.  We checked in, and in some cases found, our hotels and hostels and then set about to explore.  It was an interesting weather day as mother nature vacillated between rain and shine, unable to make up her mind.  As we toured the city, so many of the sights were familiar from my impromptu tour when I first arrived in Florence. We were the typical tourist, window-shopping, gazing in wonder at the architecture and enjoying gelato. 

After a day of meandering and bidding farewell to friends, three of us remained and we enjoyed dinner at a restaurant off one of the piazzas, across from the carousel.

Ebbio provided us with a week of healthy, wholesome, delicious vegetarian cuisine.  I enjoyed all of our home-cooked meals, but I really wanted a steak.  My body had been begging me like a petulant two year old begging for a cookie.  Just as a worn down mother, I conceded and savored a perfectly prepared steak with a glass of Italian wine. Heavenly.

The rain subsided after dinner and the apres rain lighting gave a golden hue to the already stunning architecture.  The Duomo was magnificent in all her glory.  It was so easy to see how the Renaissance were inspired to create their works of art.  I couldn’t wait to see some of them up close and personal.

We took our final photos, said our final farewells and I was off to my hotel for a relaxing evening.  I was already thinking about tomorrow.  The only museum I wanted to experience was the Uffizi because of its amazing Renaissance collection and tomorrow, I was starting my day there.  I couldn’t wait to roam among the masters, to feel their greatness and to learn their lessons. Yes, the magic continued.