Florence Smells like Flowers

We need to talk about Florence. It is known as the city of flowers, but I never imagined that it would actually smell like them too. But, as I sat at the second floor of a hop on, hop off bus, I struggled to hide my heavy breathing, scared that someone would mistake my attempt to take in all the scents of having trouble with my lungs. It would really be too bad if they had shipped me to the hospital, although judging by the rest of the city, it might just have turned out to be the most beautiful hospital I’ve ever been to.



I like to believe that I’m somewhat interested in art. Somewhat. I did successfully spend hours at the national gallery in Oslo, Norway, and I do like to draw. However, when I was faced with Florence all I could do was to admit that art is fine for a little while, but eventually my mind will wander to places I have long forgotten by now. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a great painting just as much as the next person would, but visiting the galleries inĀ  Florence, I got this feeling that most of the works went way over my head.


The only one I recognized was The Birth of Venus…

In addition many of them were surprisingly, at least to me, violent and macabre, and it honestly doesn’t take much before I’ve had enough of that. Perhaps I’m just not sophisticated (or hipster) enough to really appreciate the Renaissance artists. I’m more into other types of art – dance, drama, and, if paintings are to be involved, I believe I prefer the Romanticism (think landscapes).


I stumbled upon a rehersal for an opra, which made me realize that I really want to attend one.

Florence is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. It’s preserved so well that, when looking at it, it seems from another time. As many of the settlements are indeed ancient, this makes sense. The sidewalks are made for one person (forever alone), and there are palaces, cathedrals and gardens popping up everywhere. When I say the latter I mean the kind of gardens that have been around since the 16th century and that you can get lost in if you’re not careful.


The palace at the beginning of the gardens was once home to the Medicis- an insanely rich family from the 14th to the 17th century.

What makes all of this even more amazing is that the city still seems oddly up to date. It has somehow managed to incorporate new structures and modern opinions with its heritage-listed buildings and timeless art. Truly a city worth spending time in.


Nothing Else Matters

I have to tell you about last night. I went to an open piano concert. My plan was to just stop by and then return to the appartment my family is renting from a local. I felt kind of out of it after hearing the shocking and horrible news of what happened in Florida, so I wanted to just stay in and watch the rest of the game between Italy and Belgium, which was on at the same time. However, when I got there I realized that I would miss the rest of the match.

Twelve pianos. I have no idea why there was a concert, who the pianists were, or what any of the italian they were speaking meant. First they played Mozart (during which I leaned over asking “do you think they are playing something famous?”) and other classic pieces, but it was when they started on the medleys, when they gave me Nothing Else Matters and Coldplay songs, that I closed my eyes and just listened. I sat next to old people and hipsters, tourists and locals, and it didn’t matter. Loving music is something everyone understands.

As we were all united by our mutual love, one of the pianists took the word. He cleared his troat and I expected more italian. However, what came out was broken English and he said: “thank you all for coming tonight to *italian, italian*, I want us to take moment, the world needs more love and openness. I think of the tragedy in Florida and all horrible happenings now.”

So, to everyone, and especially you Americans and the LGBT community, I want to say that the world is thinking of you and that we’ll be strong – together.