KIDNAPPED AT BILLY BISHOP AIRPORT
I thought I was off to visit Kate in Brooklyn... but that all changed very quickly when she and David met me at Billy Bishop Airport as I emerged from the new 10-stories-deep tunnel.
I didn't find out where we were going until we arrived in Rome about 7 hours later!
We visited the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, where a kind guard suggested I might be more comfortable in a wheelchair. Yes! David was my pusher and I was able to see everything with no compromises. There were no photos permitted in the Sistine Chapel, but it looks like they each grabbed one of all the necks craning upwards and Kate took one of the floor, which she proclaimed to be underrated.
That afternoon we took a fast (250 km/h !) train to Florence where another surprise awaited: Peter and Lisl joined us! The next day we ALL visited my obsessively favourite sculpture, Michelangelo's David. And later, the Uffizi Gallery, home to lots of art including Botticelli's Birth of Venus. Peter became my wheelchair pusher there and we accidentally exited the gallery. He had to find a way back in to return the chair after the entrance closing time!
We relaxed and chatted over wine on our airbnb apt’s rooftop terrace then ate another fabulous meal nearby.
Peter and Lisl were off to Athens to a wedding the next morning. We hung out in Florence another day then returned to Rome and visited the Vatican again: this time to see Michelangelo's Pietà, along with St. Peter's Basilica.
I’ve made a slideshow to show you some highlights, including the St. Peter's Piazza lady's lav and the Pope's chair collection and poetry pasted to Florentine walls.
We ate glorious food, especially gnocchi and gelato. We wandered cobblestoned streets and gawked. We saw lots of art, some with bees found with David’s eagle-eyes in the Vatican Museum. In Florence Kate spotted some Gucci fashion windows featuring bee details. Kate and her David even found a cat sanctuary on the site of Caesar's assassination!
Go watch my little slideshow… it’s only 2.5 minutes and you can see us all smiling a lot. OK I also cried from time to time. It was obviously my party and I wanted to.
AND for those of you inclined to poetry, here’s a sonnet from the master himself:
for Tommasco de’Cavalieri
by Michelangelo Buonarroti
With your fair eyes a charming light I see,
For which my own blind eyes would peer in vain;
Stayed by your feet the burden I sustain
Which my lame feet find all too strong for me;
Wingless upon your pinions forth I fly;
Heavenward your spirit started me to strain;
E’en as you will, I blush and blanch again,
Freeze in the sun, burn ‘neath a frosty sky.
Your will includes and is the lord of mine;
Life to my thoughts within your heart is given;
My words begin to breathe upon your breath:
Like to the moon am I, that cannot shine
Alone; for lo! our eyes see nought in heaven
Save what the living sun illuminated.