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Sunday, July 4
This morning we woke up just sweltering in the heat of the train, and the rest of the day was equally bad. There weren't any lockers in the train station, so we had to carry around a poster we'd bought yesterday though everything. It's amazing we didn't tear it up. The baggage check-in place worked just fine otherwise, though. We again tried to call Erika, but never could catch her at home.
We left the station and rode the bus to the Milan cathedral, which is also called the Duomo. The neat thing was that they were having mass at the same time they were letting tourists in. So I got a cool picture of the priest-guy saying something in Latin. The stained glass windows in the church were amazing, but that was really the only great part. Then we went to a nearby shopping center that was really neat architecturally. Can't explain it, so wait for the pictures.
We then walked to the Chiesa Santa Maria della Gratzie, which is a little church far away from the center of town. It's also where da Vinci's "The Last Supper" is at, and where lots of tourists were. Not exaggerating here: we waited in line over two and a half hours in the hot sun just to get in. The worst part was that since it was Sunday, there wasn't ~anything~ open within five blocks. I finally, finally found an open gelateria when I was wandering around and got lost, and bought a couple of cokes. (There had been some bars open, but you can't get drinks to go from them.) After asking directions four times--boy was I glad to be back in Italy where I know at least a little of the language!--I found the church again. The coke lasted maybe 3 minutes before it was gone and I was hot and sweaty and bored again. But at long last, we got in. The set-up for viewing the painting was truly awful. They only let 25 people in at a time, then they move you through a series of rooms all together, never opening the next door before closing the last, and then you finally come into the right room. That room is just huge, which really made me mad. They could fit a hundred people in there at once. And you know how long we stayed in that room? Maybe four minutes. The restored version doesn't look much better to me, which I thought was really sad. Anyway, then we ran back to the train station to catch the ride home. We got to Florence about 6:30, then rode the bus to Scandicci, then dragged our luggage up the hill to the villa. That last part was so awful. We were so hot, sweaty, and tired that I just wanted to lay down on the grass and go to sleep. When we finally got here, Greg got in the shower first, but I took a long cold one after he was finished. It felt ~so~ good. Sadly, we never contacted Erika, but I guess we'll try again tomorrow now that we have her number.
We had church services that night at about 9:00, and afterwards it was really neat to hear about everyone else's experiences. But things got quiet fairly quickly as everyone wanted to go to sleep!
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