Monday, February 25, 2013

GE Sponsored Tour, Day One

THE whole point of this trip was something oil–related, I think there was a conference?
{Dad’s part in this was that he and his team were buying spare parts from GE.} Because there were so many people there GE sponsored a tour for the “Spouses” {Really the wives/Girlfriends. And Me.} Spouses is in quotes because I was the only guy {On the Tour} I saw.
 There were a bunch of organised things, but I only went on the tours of the last two days.


We were on Tour #1. 


Portrait: This was quite the official outfit, there was a guide and a guard and a photographer.
This is the photographer, I took a couple of pictures of him because of his grumpy face.


Portrait: Photographing the tourists.


Italian Vignette: Windows in the rain.


The first stop was the Basilica San Lorenzo, burial place of all the Medicis. 
The Real first stop in here I couldn’t take any pictures of, but it was very cool, The Chapel.
Started in the middle ages it still wasn’t finished when Hitler came by. 
It still isn’t, really. The original idea was that all the walls would be covered in this super intricate marble technique where every different colour of a scene is a different piece of hand cut marble, it’s really pretty but super expensive and in fact the Medici’s hadn’t paid it off by the time the last one died.
Which is why it’s still unfinished.


Italian Vignette: The Courtyard of the Basilica of San Lorenzo. 


The Entrance to the Library.
This was a Michelangelo project, and apparently he was a very hep and happening guy, so when he was contracted the Medici that was paying him said “Hey man, do something new and different.” So what he did was he made it like the outside of a building…but inside.  You can see the windows that don’t go anywhere and the columns that don’t hold anything up. 
Seems a little weird now, but The Patron was pleased so Michelangelo got paid. 


Scene: The Library. 
It was pretty dark in here and flash was forbidden, so I didn’t get a lot of pictures. 
Back in the past you used to be able to just walk in here and read a book, but they weren’t regular books, they were fancy. The Medici’s had criteria for the books they collected, they had to be beautiful and they had to be on a unique subject. 
You may be wondering “Hey, where are the bookshelves?” Well along the walls are what looked to me like pews, but with little reading desks attached, and the books were stored under the seat in front of you. I’m using the past tense because at some point they realised all these books were super beautiful and super old and should be kept in glass cases. 


Detail: The Windows of the Library.


Detail: The Library Floor you can’t walk on. 


Detail: The Ceiling. Notice how the pattern on the floor is mirrored, but in wood.


Detail: A representative book in the back room. 
A book in what look like Farsi about the rotation of the planets.


Italian Vignette: Wet Streets and Old Buildings.


Scene: “A Little Coffee Break”


Detail: The Coffee was guarded by Whomping Willows.


After coffee was the second attraction, A Last Supper, {As in, one of many.} This particular one was in the dining room of an old nunnery. 


Portrait: Mr. Photographer Man ain’t puttin’ up with none of your sass.


Detail: Recursive patterns and bored men in fancy hats.


Portrait: Our Guide. She’s speaking into a microphone that’s transmitting into my ear via a little box hanging around my neck. 
This was a technological advancement I was very in favour of because I usually have trouble hearing the guides on these things.


Detail: There was a little museum off to the side with some cool stuff in it.  
When florence was flooded this was the room they packed all kinds of art in, to keep it dry. 
While this looks like the sort of thing ancient egyptians would sell to tourists, it was most likely stolen from a tomb by representatives of “The Only True Religion”. 


Detail: An Adorable Bear.


Detail: Hieroglyphics.
I just spent ten minutes trying to translate them and I didn’t get anywhere, so they’re either upside down, gibberish they sold to the tourists, or not egyptian.
Could also be that I’m out of practice. But I only see two egyptian letters, and one’s backwards.


Scene: A Triptych with all of your standard Christian things, God, Jesus, Mary and Baby Jesus, Apostles? 


Detail: I like this guy because of how small his portrait was.


Fun Fact: There used to be a lot of wooden statues like this one about.
Second Fun Fact: Wood rots.


Scene: After the tour there was a lunch in this really fancy hotel, with a pre–chosen menu and more silverware than anyone but me knew how to deal with.
{Thank you, Disney princess movies I watched over and over again as a child. }
St. Regis Hotel, Florence


Detail: By the third mirror things started to get weird.


Detail: Someone else’s champagne.


Detail: The Ceiling of the St. Regis Dining Room.


Detail: Party Party.


Dessert.


After Dessert Dessert.


And Finally coffee, the only real way to end any meal.


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