Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Firenze Frenzy

On to Firenze! This is just like touring with a rock band. Well, except the music is different, we are our own roadies, there is no fan base, and the accommodations are hardly star quality. None of us were sorry to say goodbye to that hotel. The air conditioning on the bus got fixed overnight (miraculously), so that was a plus. We are feeling a bit like sardines...there is no room to spare.

A little while into the trip we find out two singers got left at the hotel. This has got to be every tour manager's nightmare. The bad news is that no one knew they were missing. The good news is that this is Europe and the train system rocks, so they actually beat us to the hotel!

We dropped our bags at the hotel (another one geared for tourists, but quite a cut above) and hopped the city bus to town. Good thing we got to sit and not stand on the bus, because it took an hour to get to town...that's how far out of town we were. 
We were off to l'Academia, home of the famous David by Michelangelo. They control how many folks can enter at a time, so you either wait in line for your ticket, or make a reservation ahead of time. We had reservations and got to bypass that line. By the time we were finished, the sun was setting over the Arno River., which we enjoyed prior to hopping back on the bus for our one hour ride home.

Our only full day in Firenze has a rehearsal scheduled just prior to the performance. We are on the Husband Museum Express, so we're off to Uffizi. Same deal with the reservations again, only this time you have to wait in the line for reservation holders (which is much shorter than the line for non-reservation holders) to get your time-stamped ticket to enter. We're a little bit rushed because rehearsal is early afternoon. We did take a detour in the morning to see il Duomo. More 15th century intricate carvings, paintings and mosaics (ho hum)... ;) oh, and the ultimate Course Marshall's, pictured here in their golf cart for all of you golf fans.

We had talked the tour manager into being able to leave performance clothes on the tour bus to pick up when the bus was scheduled to come into town later in the afternoon. That was the good news. The bad news was the bus had to park about a mile away, so we had a parade of garment bags through the middle of town that afternoon. It was about 20 celcius, so it was hot. (Husband tells me I can figure the conversion to Farenheit by doubling the Celsius temperature, then adding 32; so 20 = 72.)

St. Marks English Church was nice and cool after the long walk and the choir was happy to be inside to sing for awhile. The audience for performance was mostly made up of "choir boosters" even though several singers tried to draw in a crowd by singing outside the church for awhile. Hear the choir sing, "Prayer of the Children."

After another fabulous dinner (it's hard to find bad pasta in Italy), we grabbed the city bus with a couple of other singers to go back to the hotel. We were chatting away when all of a sudden we noticed everyone had evacuated the bus! There was a terrible smell of burning rubber, and smoke coming out of the back of the bus! I'm not really sure what was on fire, but notice the man wielding the fire extinguisher...with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth! As is the Italian way, the event was exciting, but not a particular crisis. We just waited around for the next scheduled bus and hopped on board to continue our trip.


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