The SSU travel group has pushed through a series of heavy travel days, driving from Barcelona along the Costa Brava, passing through the Dali Museum at Figueres, and then (after a miraculously smooth entry into France) staying overnight in the medieval walled city of Carcassonne. The Europe team packed up again the following day and headed west along the Mediterranean towards a quick overnight in Nice and a swim in the Mediterranean along the Cote d’Azure. This was followed by the longest day of driving so far from Nice to Firenze (Florence), Italy. The SSU team travelled the length of the French Riviera, passing by Monaco and its crops of perfume roses, and then continued into Italy through the many tunnels that pass under the mountains of the Liguria region, finally arriving at our destination of Florence in Tuscany.
Students have been enjoying the wealth of art and Western history available in Florence, as well as the cappuccinos and gelati. Yesterday we took the SSU team to the Academia to see Michelangelo’s David and his incomplete statues “the Prisoners” and many have been to the Opera (the Duomo’s museum) and to some of the Medici palaces and haunts. Today, Some students are visiting Brunelleschi’s dome this morning at the Duomo and others are buying jackets handbags and other items at the Florence’s famous leather market. Today we will also visit nearby Siena for yet another perspective on Renaissance Italy.
David Levangie (husband of Dr. Margaret Anne Smith) and long time SSU friend Robyn English are arriving from Canada today to meet up with the SSU Europe team in Florence and continue on our journey through Italy. We are sure looking forward to seeing them, and hope that everything continues to fit onto an already tightly packed bus.
In terms of overall group comfort and morale, we are all in pretty good spirits and had a great time sharing music last evening, jamming into the night on all the instruments we brought along and attracting other curious campers. Although they have been good days, most of us (and the team leadership especially) are feeling a bit weary from the hard days of travel, and are wishing the Italian coffees were a bit bigger to help us stay alert! Speaking of coffee, we are also hoping to resolve some electrical issues that are making it difficult to prepare camping luxuries like toast and coffee every morning without blowing fuses. We will also be glad to say Arrivederci to some very intense humidity that is particularly noticeable going up the hundreds of stairs that lead up to our otherwise fantastic campsite overlooking the whole of Florence right beside Michelangelo’s square.
Tomorrow we leave for Rome and I will update you with another post. Caio!