Friday, February 08, 2013

The Grand Hotel Baglioni

This is a very cool hotel, it’s not a super cheap hotel but it’s at most ten minutes by foot from anything you might want to see in Florence. Everything cool is within about a mile, including {But not limited to} the Duomo and Michelangelo’s David.
 If you can, try and do what we did and get a multinational oil corporation to pay for it.

Scene: The Grand Hotel Baglioni

Scene: The Lobby

Detail: Information cubbies.
CC: My Mom. 

I didn’t take a lot of good pictures of our room, I was too busy either passing out from jet–lag or climbing to the top of renaissance buildings.

This is the chair dad sat in while I covered the desk with maps and well–designed sugar packets.

Our windows were pretty cool. 

The windows in the hallway were pretty cool too. 

Detail: Window knob.

This is really a terrible picture, but this is our hallway.  Those pictures on the wall {That I spaced out on photographing. Jetlag.} Are of alternately rebuilding florence after a flood/world war two, and that time Hitler and Mussolini stayed here.
{Because, you know, celebrity guests.}

Sugar packet they had in the buffet upstairs.
I liked the letters.

Detail: The wood floors in our room. 
Don’t walk on these in wool boot–socks while super tired, you’ll break your neck.

Italian Vignette: Our Bathroom.

Detail: SOAP

Detail: Outdoor rooftop eating area it was too cold to use.

Panorama: You’re going to have click on it.  

Panorama: So before we left I figured out that our hotel was going to have a great morning view of the duomo, So I spend quite a bit of time thinking about how I’m going to get on the roof. 
We arrive, try to stay awake but after we exhaust our espresso ‘Limit’ and go to the museum Dad could think of, he basically passes out. 
So I spend some time walking around the hotel, taking the stairs to every floor, looking for things to photograph and eventually I get to the ‘Roof’. which is as high as the stairs go.
This wasn’t the Real Roof,  it’s just sort of a hanging garden outside eating area that was closed because it was really pretty cold. {I didn’t really think this through, I was only wearing a sweater.} But from this area I can see the real roof, which is where I can tell all the good pictures were going to be. 
I look around and I find two sets of stairs up there, both with locked gates. 
As I was standing there, freezing, staring these gates and wondering if I could climb over them 
{I probably could have} this gardener type guy walks up to me and I say “Hi!” Real friendly, you know, “Could you unlock these gates?” But I asked him in English and he was Italian so he really seemed to have no idea what I wanted. 
So I thanked him and ambled downstairs to the information desk. 

They told me point blank that the rooftop area was only open in the summer. 

 I thanked them and went back to my room, disappointed but thinking about how not–very–tall that gate was versus how rubbery my shoes were. 

The next day we wake up at 4:30 {AM} and walk round a pitch–black closed city until the rooftop buffet in the hotel opens up at 7:ish.  Now, to get into the food area you have to walk by this grumpy–looking guy who was actually pretty nice, who theoretically writes down your name and room number but really just kind of waves you through. 
After breakfast we have to walk by this guy again to leave so I ask “Hey, I know it’s closed but could you please let us onto the roof, so that I can take a picture of the beautiful church?” I meant the Duomo,  but he understood. 
 He says something like “Oh, I don’t know…” Real wafflley. I say something like “Hey, that’s okay” and I turn to leave, I get about two feet and he says “Oh, okay.” grabs a keychain and we follow him outside, into the hanging garden area. 

The whole time he’s grumbling to himself in Italian. 

He unlocks the gate, we thank him and he goes back inside, and I take some beautiful pictures and panoramas, most of which didn’t turn out but whatever, I got a couple good ones. 

A couple of days later at breakfast in the hotel I’m telling this story to another photographer in our little group and she says “Oh yeah, he let me up there twice now, real early. I got some great pictures too.” 

The next day at breakfast I look out the window and there’s a couple of japanese tourists up there, and the day after that I’m wandering around again, looking for pictures I forgot to take and I see that he’s just left the gate unlocked because { I assume } so many people kept asking him about it. 

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And have a nice rest–of–your–day you guys.