I'm going to come clean. I've been away again. It must seem like I'm always somewhere but it's just the way it's happened this year - everything seems to have come at the same time.
This time it was my annual trip away with my six girlfriends. We've been doing this for years (sometimes in England and sometimes abroad) and this time we decided to visit Florence. Even though I have been twice before, I never tire of it as it's such a fabulous place. We went from Friday to Monday and, as some of the group hadn't been before, made sure that we 'did' all the major sights.
As you can see, we went to the Academia gallery to see Michelangelo's David (we were all in agreement it was the only thing worth seeing there) and I'm glad we did, as it gave us the chance to see his enormous hand. I am not joking, his right hand is like a giant's... has anyone else noticed this? I've just googled it and found out that it's probably because the statue was originally meant for the roof of the cathedral (though why this means he had to have a big hand, I'm not sure).
The Uffizi gallery wasn't top of my list of things to see in Florence (not being much of an art buff) but I have to say I changed my mind once I was in there - it was seriously impressive. Who wouldn't be awestruck by paintings such as the ones below?
Those who follow my blog might remember that I hate heights, so on the second afternoon, I gave the climb up the dome of the Duomo, and the even dizzier heights of the campanile, a miss to go wandering by myself. I have to admit that I usually leave the map reading and organising to others in my group (you can't have two many chiefs) so it was nice to be able to plan my time and prove to myself that I'm perfectly capable of walking around a city and not get hopelessly lost.
I'm glad I did, as I discovered the Michelangelo Piazza, with its stunning views over the city (see above) and the lovely monastery behind it. When I got home, I told my husband all about it. But you've been there before, he said. When I told him I hadn't, he produced, as evidence, the photograph he'd taken when we visited five years ago. Spot the similarities?
This is the photo I took this year.
This is the one my husband took five years ago. I knew my memory was bad but...
I try not to feel guilty about all my trips. I really do value each and every one of them and no experience is ever wasted. In fact, I've written (and had published) a story from every place I've visited in the last four years As my old English teacher used to say... it's all grist to the mill.
Now, before I go - a little writing news.
I was interviewed by Simon Whaley for his article in this month's Writing Magazine on 'Time Travel'. Before you wonder... it's not about my next trip into space but about the need to write seasonal stories several months ahead.
I also have a story in this week's People's Friend called Five Minutes More.
And that's it from me for now. No more trips away, I promise... until the next one!