Friday, August 30, 2013

Florence - part 2

On the Monday the conference started. It was held in the old fort in the centre of town. It was a little bit odd crossing the moat and entering the fort each day to go to the conference. The Goldschmidt conference is about geochemistry - of everything and anything. I was a bit surprised how many people there were. It was also great to catch up with old friends who I don't normally bump in to at conferences as they work on volcanoes or soil or metamorphic stuff. It was nice to find out where people have got to and it was really good to see my friend Julie Brown who was doing really well after a rough couple of years dealing with brain tumours. She was on great form and I got to meet her husband Jim.
The entrance of the conference - entering the fort

Julie and Andrea and I having lunch at a trattoria and catching up the last 5 years... 

However, by about Friday afternoon my brain was full and after realising that I hadn't been listening for the last 5 minutes of one talk I realised it was time to quit. There is only so much the brain can absorb and throw in a few late nights socialising with a few alcoholic beverages and it becomes an exhausting week.

So I spent Friday afternoon doing a little more touristing and buying myself a few leather souvenirs. Florence is famous for its shoes and leather goods. I bought myself a pair of sandals, a small bag and a belt, and a new wallet for Aaron. I did find the really expensive shoe shops where they were hand making the shoes... but I can't afford any of those.

One of the many stalls selling leather bags, belts, shoes or wallets

I also climbed up the hill to the San Miniato church. With amazing views down on the city and I the church is spectacular. I spent an hour admiring the outside and the frescos on the walls inside. Not to mention the amazing floor - which looked like lace doilies (the things people put cakes on).

San Miniato church - with an intricate white and green facade

One of the frescos inside

The beautiful floor
Views of the river Arno and Florence from Piazza Michaelangelo 

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