Tuesday 10 February 2015

When to visit Uffizi gallery?

I have been to Florence, Italy quite a few times before. I like it there, but M. absolutely loves it. Actually it is definitely one of her favourite cities, if not the favourite one.

We know the city quite well and we have visited the majority of its many sights before. The city has many museums worth visiting, but the most famous of them all is definitely the Uffizi museum. Apart from the Vatican museums (well, technically Vatican is not Italy), I suppose Uffizi is the most important Italian museum.

No matter how strange this might sound, we never got to visit the Uffizi museum before. On some occasions we did not have enough time (it can take most of an afternoon to slowly walk through it) and on other occasions we just did not feel like queuing in front of the entrance for hours.
If you are really into art or if you plan your visit in a company of a knowledgeable guide, many hours might pass before you find yourself on the streets of Florence again.

No matter what, it is always good to plan your visit ahead of time. This is even more essential if you happen to be in Florence in peak tourist season - i.e. spring and summer months. You can expect fewer crowds in winter months. In any case I suggest you book your tickets on-line directly through the Uffizi museum homepage or if you plan to hire a guide, it is probably even better to book through one of many tour agencies. Some even offer skip the line option that is well worth considering.

This time we were in the city just during the Firenze Marathon weekend and we did not know how many people to expect queueing in front of the entrance of the museum. Usually we explore museums on our own, but since we were really happy with a guided tour we did in Rome, we decided to look for a similar tour company in Florence. Luckily we found out Skip the Line: Uffizi Gallery Tour is on offer by City Wonders tour company.

Simply put, if you choose one of the Skip the Line options, it is always the right time to visit Uffizi!

This is why we booked our Uffizi tour through them and were not disappointed. Chiara, our guide, took excellent care of the small group. Her knowledge on the extensive collection of artefacts housed in the museum is admirable. It was quickly evident she enjoys every aspect of her work and also knows many interesting stories about numerous museum pieces. With sharing many details from the lives of artists as well as the people depicted in various works Chiara helped us see the exhibition from a much wider perspective.

I think it is fair to say that after 2 hours everyone in our group was really satisfied with the result of the tour. Although our brains were already overflowing with information, M. and I decided to stay in the museum for a bit longer and stroll through the parts we enjoyed the most for the second time. We also seized the opportunity to take another look at a stunning view of the Ponte Vecchio from the top floor of the gallery.

If it has been a while since your last visit to the Uffizi, there is another thing worth noting... At the moment they allow use of all kinds of cameras inside the gallery (as long as you do not use flash). So if your camera was the only thing you were missing during your last visit, maybe it is time to pay them another visit.

We were glad we opted for this tour and can easily recommend it to anyone. If we visited Uffizi on our own we could hardly get so much out of it.
Thanks again, Chiara!

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them all in a much more flattering resolution.


Monday 15 December 2014

The return of a backpack

We woke up well rested but my tendinitis problems were far from gone. Again, it was just a little bit better.

This was day 13 of our almost one month long Camino de Santiago adventure. Click on the Camino de Santiago label to see all related posts.

I was glad we managed to hike 34 kilometres on the previous day. I could have never made it with my backpack (we got it transferred to the place we were staying at). This morning... the backpack was back. Just as heavy as two days ago.

The way lead us through the centre of Fromista and on towards Población de Campos, Revenga de Campos, Carrión de los Condes and finally Calzadilla de la Cueza - our destination for the day. It was quite an ambitious plan. Since the distance between the last two towns is 17 kilometres, it was either 19 or 36 kilometres. Obviously we aimed for 36.

The start was quite hard and not too promising. Our bodies got used to walking with minimum weight throughout the previous day and were complaining about the change.

I was not the only one with problems. Despite those new silicon heel pads M. was also experiencing some pain. Nevertheless they did make the pain appear a couple of hours later then usually.

We pushed on and after another long day of pretty much uneventful scenery we made it to the recently renovated Albergue Municipal de peregrinos in Calzadilla de la Cueza. Just next door to it there is another good looking (and a couple of Euro more expensive) private albergue. The private one even has a pool but since it was not too hot and quite windy we did not care about it and opted for the cheaper one. We were satisfied with our choice.

Once again we saw quite a few familiar faces at dinner. Most pilgrims spending the night in the small village gathered at the only place serving Menú peregrino. We washed down a mediocre meal with a few glasses of OK red wine. We were starting to miss the good wines of Rioja.

We shared our plans with a few fellow pilgrims and despite some communication difficulties we were happy to discover we will probably run into eachother again.

After dinner and an extra glass of vino tinto it was time for some well deserved rest.


Wednesday 12 November 2014

Blood-red poppy of the Camino

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them both in a much more flattering resolution.

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