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KansCocoa

Middle Aged Drama Queen's Eastern Med Review: Serenade, Pics, Surprises & Fun!

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Let’s see if I can at least finish up our day in Livorno before I take off for a week…

 

When we last left our shaken travelers…they had all just left – albeit separately – the Accademia…and were gathering outside the exit doors…

 

 

After explaining to the boys that the ear-piercing alarm they had heard in the museum had been detonated by their very own mother, they initially looked at me in disbelief, and a little bit of horror…but then saw the absurdity of the situation, and began cracking up. I’m glad they could see the humor in the situation, because I certainly couldn’t…I was actually trembling…scared to death that at any moment, an Italian policeman would walk up and take me away. And how would I explain accidentally setting off a panic alarm, that I probably should never have had in the first place??!!

 

Only one thing could be more absurd than what had just happened in that museum, and that was this…

 

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…a life-size PINK replica of The David, by artist Hans Peter Feldmann, that is currently being shown in the courtyard near the museum exit. Well. Pink David is certainly attention-getting, and it certainly did make me giggle. A bit. This was now the THIRD David we’d seen that day…Florence is certainly proud of their David.

 

Leaving the Accademia, we headed back to find Elisabetta, patiently waiting for us at the van. Eagerly, she asked how we had enjoyed our visit with David, and we all look at each other…unsure how to answer. Finally, Hubby Mike says, “Well…let’s just say SOME of us enjoyed the visit better than others…and leave it at that.”

 

A very short drive to another part of the little city, and Elisabetta is dropping us off near the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge that is so pretty, that enemy soldiers refused to bomb it back in WWII. She explains that we are now to wander around in this area, to perhaps do some shopping, or eating, or sightseeing. Again – I look at her in panic; what if we get LOST??!! She assures me that we’ll be fine; you can’t get lost in Florence. We have about 90 minutes or so to wander the streets and see what we can find.

 

Our first treasure to explore was the bridge itself. Built back in Roman times, it now contains a swarth of jewelry shops that cater to tourists…

 

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We have a bit of fun window shopping and checking out the (inflated, in my opinion) prices of the jewelry found here.

 

Wandering over the bridge, there are a few places that will give you a fantastic view of the Arno River and the surrounding houses…

 

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It was about this time that my stomach had calmed down enough from the Accademia incident, that suddenly – it hit me – I was STARVING. If I was starving, the Klingons HAD to be all but wasting away…especially the boys. I do have to give them kudos here, because never once did they whine or complain about being hungry. I think sometimes that we were so overwhelmed with what we were experiencing that we kinda’, sorta’, forgot about our own needs…such as food. Crazy, huh? I KNOW, right? Here we are in one of the food capitals of the world – Italy – and we forget to eat.

 

Well. This needed immediate attention…and it wasn’t too long before we found a delightful little café, Ristorante Queen Victoria. The food looked fresh; the prices looked reasonable; and it was air-conditioned. Perfect.

 

Everyone but me went for the pizza…and they unanimously agreed that it was very good.

 

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I'm not a pizza fan...but I have to say...it looked delicious....!

 

As for me, I wanted one thing…and one thing only. I’d had my heart set on having pasta in Florence, so that’s what I did:

 

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Dang...just the picture has me craving this all over again....

 

 

Yum. It was cheesy…it was creamy…and it was seasoned just right. And for dessert? I had cannoli. Real, Italian cannoli…in Florence.

 

 

It’s amazing the medicinal effects of cannoli…soon, I was recovering quite nicely from my Accademia nightmare…I had a happy tummy…the family had happy tummies…and it was time to get back out there on the streets of Florence, and explore.

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Now was the time to really explore…to wander, at will…to find hidden alleyways and surprising piazzas and discover the beauty that makes Florence…well…beautiful.

 

We wandered into the Piazza della Signoria, which is an open-air sculpture gallery very near the Uffizi Gallery, as well as the Palazzo Vecchio. This plaza had tons of barbarians roaming in every direction, and it would be very easy to get lost and separated from your loved ones here….

 

Let me insert a sidenote. Most people probably only have to worry about losing their kids. Not me. I have to worry about losing Hubby Mike. He’ll get so caught up with something…staring at at…pondering it…absorbing it…that the rest of us will inadvertently leave him behind as we rush to see what’s next. And before we know it, we’ll look around, and we’ll be like, “Hey! Where’s Mikey?” and no one will know. Kinda’ like when I left him behind in the crypt in Guatemala….

 

I figured out an easy solution on this trip. We dressed Hubby Mike in a bright neon-green shirt that stood out like a beacon in the confusion of all of the barbarians.

 

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Just like “Where’s Waldo”…only in this case, “Where’s Mikey?”

 

 

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…can you find him now? Isn't it GREAT??!! Easy, peasy....

 

 

If we got too far ahead of him, all we had to do was stop and look for the shirt. Worked like a charm.

 

The Piazza has some amazing statues that even had the Klingons stopping and admiring…like this statue of Neptune here…

 

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You can’t tell from the photo, but Neptune is kinda’ giving The Fake David statue the side-eye…which the kids thought was amusing…

 

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The 4th, and final, David statue we saw in Florence this day…

 

 

Fake David stands in the spot where the Real David stood for hundreds of years before the Powers-That-Be got smart and moved him indoors. If he’s outside…how do you charge $$$ to see him?

 

We at one point wondered into a building (the door was open, and no one stopped us), where we saw the coolest door…to nowhere. It was way, way up high, and so I had the Klingons pose in front of it so you could get the perspective:

 

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Almost time to go meet back up with Elisabetta, but we have one more very important stop to make…

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In the interest of science, it would only be right for me to work on my ongoing research project of Finding the Best Gelato In All of Europe (I hope to write a thesis one day and publish my results…but more research is definitely needed.) This has been an ongoing project since my first trip to Europe in 2009, and I have yet to find the Perfect 10 of Gelato.

 

Well…here we are…in Florence…and rumor has it there should be some awfully delicious gelato here.

 

Soon enough, we found ourselves in a little no-name gelato shop on some little no-name passageway, and before me was this little bowl of delight:

 

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Banana-chocolate chunk…with a side scoop of chocolate….

 

 

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I love my job.

 

 

The gelato was good…but not the Perfect 10. Sigh. I must keep searching until that elusive gelato is found…

 

So…our lovely day in Florence was almost to an end. We wandered a bit more as we headed back to our meeting point with Elisabetta, who packed us up in the van and whisked us off back to Livorno. The car was cool…our tummies were happy…and before I knew it, we were all dozing…except for Elisabetta, of course. And Brad – he will tell you that he NEVER naps, thank you very much.

 

Before we knew it...we were back at the port, and Elisabetta was gently waking us all up and saying good-bye. What a delightful young lady and what a delightful day...for the most part (cough, panic alarm, cough).

 

I would rate Elisabetta and RomeInLimo an A+. For the price, the quality, the service, and the convenience, they can't be beat when touring in Italy.

 

And before leaving you for awhile, I have to share two of the kids’ photos from Florence…

 

First, we have Too-Tall Taylor’s photo…and remember…here we are in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance…beautiful Florence…art sculptures and architecture all around…and Taylor’s photo is of:

 

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What he “thinks” are the doors to the apartment where the cast from “The Jersey Store” stayed when they filmed their season in Florence last year….Can you tell what a proud mama I am??!!

 

 

And Brad’s entry for our travelogue is this:

 

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A Florentine pigeon. Did you expect anything less?

 

Sigh.

 

That's it...until I return from the Freedom...I hope you all come back to visit my report!

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Your review and pictures are great!

 

Yes, you really can't get lost in Florence, it is a lovely, charming city and very walkable. :)

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Loving your review! I'm saving all your guide suggestions! Our best friends were in pizza same day as you...I'm sure you ran into them, looking at the photos...no one was there that day:rolleyes:

Thanks for taking the time to write it...one teeny little suggestion for you...

Lose your purse. Just get rid of it, donate it to Goodwill, anything! You clearly have some kind neurological disorder related to this purse in which once you have put something in it, your brain forgets it entirely. :D

 

Enjoy Freedom, and looking forward to the rest!

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Have a great cruise and we will be waiting......Thanks for an entertaining review. I even got on the forbidden website of cruise critic at work today because I was going through withdrawal.

 

Sue

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Hello! Great review!

Just wanted to consult you on which site you bought tickets for Pisa and the Accademia?

I saw many websites, but I have doubts of any use!

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aw man!! I have to wait all week!? Thanks for the review thus far, Sherri. I'm loving it and cracking up over all your adventure..or mis-adventures! Enjoy the Freedom!

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Loved your review, and did finally friend you. I'm enjoying your cruise and trip to all those places almost more than cruising myself. Almost.. lol

Have a great cruise, will be looking forward to the new review..

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Sherri, Loving your review, I frequently lose interest in daily reports, but you and your Klingons are definitely worth following!

 

One question, did you find out where the "panic button" came from?

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This is fab. We are going on the serenade in less than two weeks and you are really getting me excited by reading your review. Thank you.

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i'm loving this review as well but cant believe we have to wait until after your Mom & daughter cruise to hear the rest. i just hope you have good notes or a super memory !!!!! :mad:

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Sherri, my husband and I are really enjoying reading this review! I think it may be my favorite review I've ever read. Cannot wait for your return from FOS to read more! I really hope you do a review of Freedom, since we will be sailing on her next. Hope you have a wonderful cruise and looking forward to the "rest of the story."

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did you notice the real bird on the tree stump that is part of the statue of the outside David? Taking pictures of birds is a family thing..see?

That David really gets around... I saw him in Vegas!

Really enjoying your review.

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I cannot honestly remember the last time I have enjoyed a review as much!

 

loving it :-)

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Hi another cruiser from KCMO. I have so enjoyed your trip. We love the Serenade and have been on her a number of times. This trip is on my bucket list. Your review with pictures is the best. Have fun on the next cruise.

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I'm enjoying your "Most Excellent Adventure". Can't wait to read more. Have fun of FOS. She's a great ship.

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I love your review, and look forward to read more next week.

 

I would love to be on the same cruise ship as you.

 

Enjoy your mother and daugther cruise. And then please get back with more......:p

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Thanks, everyone!

 

I think we're all packed and ready to go for our adventure tomorrow...

 

And yes...the Italian jail was tongue-in-cheek...I'm at the most famous statue in the world, and I not only set off an alarm, but I run out of the museum clutching a purse - with terror and guilt written all over my face.

 

I'm amazed that I was never questioned...or stopped...unbelievable! I felt FOR SURE that it was just a matter of time before I had to answer to the authorities on what just happened. :)

 

When you said you and your husband were both clutching the purse I thought maybe that he was going to jail, or at least got roughed up. In Hindsight, the whole incident was one of the funniest things I've read here.

Edited by BillOh

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