Monday, August 31, 2009

Night Rider

Almost every evening during the summer just before sunset, I take off on my city bike for a spin around Florence. It's so great to be able to ride a bike at night, I would never have imagined it to be so possible....everything is so lit up that you don't need lights, and the cars are so aware of cyclists because there are so many of us. What a delight! It always makes me feel as high as kite, as free as a bird.

I visit my favorite places and things, beginning with my favorite, very powerful Giambologna statue at Piazza Signoria, where I circle around a few times, gazing at my town hall, the Palazzo Vecchio, still not believing it. Usually there are musicians playing in the piazza, where there's such a profound feeling of life emanating from the tourists whose amazement you can feel in your bones, all of them taking photos in front of the loggia or palazzo or fontana, or the replica of David. Sometimes I even stop my bike when I see a couple taking photos of each other, and I ask them if they would like me to take the photo of the both of them. It feels so good to do that. It makes me reflect on the times when I was a visitor here. I feel so lucky to be able to observe all this as a person who belongs here, rather than as a visitor. But I know that they are probably happy just to be visitors.

Then I take a few laps around the Arno, watching the sun slowly dip behind the river and the Ponte Vecchio. For the last 2 weeks, the sunsets have been spectacular, with brilliant explosions of hot reds and oranges bursting from the horizon and turning the entire river into a rainbow of bright reflections. And the moon is almost full. So, on one side, the sun is setting over the Ponte Vecchio, and on the other side, the moon is rising over the western bridges, the Piazzale Michelangelo and Piazza Poggi. If this isn't heaven, with all this history, with all this art, with all this natural beauty, then I don't know what is.

After the sun goes down, I head up to Borgo Ognissanti and San Frediano. Then I walk my bike across the Ponte Vecchio because it is too small and crowded to burst through on a bike. I often stop in the middle of the bridge to listen to the guitarist who entertains the crowds there every summer night, and again, I think how lucky I am. Then I ride back home through Piazza Repubblica, going past the Duomo and back to my Piazza Sangemini, where I park my bike, and then walk past the lively cafe's to my apartment, where,I again thank God for bringing me here.

After my spin I met Leif for dinner at a trattoria in San Frediano and we talked alot about how we both ended up pursuing our dreams in Florence.