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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rising from the ashes....


I can highly recommend a winter visit to the Pheonix/Scotsdale for the whole family.

Make sure to drive North and check out the beautiful Sedona area with its stunning red rock formations.

Golf, sunshine, hiking ...all sorts of outdoor family fun.  Soon I'll post some photos from the not-to-be-missed helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

Call Bradley Golf Travel today and we'll get it all set up.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Easter Parade in Florence, Italy

Easter Parade

A few years ago we were fortunate enough to spend Easter in Florence. We'd never been to Italy before, and, as usual, I studied my travel books ahead of time. The main Easter Mass at Florence's fabulous 15th-century cathedral, the Duomo, sounded like an experience not to be missed: a large cart, covered in fireworks and pulled by white oxen, would stand outside the cathedral steps. At the end of Mass, the cathedral doors would be thrown open, and a spark representing the Holy Spirit would descend on a wire from the upper reaches of the cathedral to the cart, igniting the fireworks in joyous explosion.

the family in front of the Duomo Easter morning

Sounded great to me, but not to my family. My husband was still in the early stages of recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon, and he was having trouble enough navigating Florence's cobbled streets without adding in huge crowds. My daughter said she didn't like fireworks. My son thought it would be hard to pray with so many tourists crowding the church. None of them wanted to have to get to the church early in order to find a seat, and none of them were at all moved by my descriptions of the cart with white oxen.

the exterior of the Duomo in Florence, Italy

The final vote was 3-1 in favor of the 7 am Mass.

The funny part was, missing that opportunity gave us the chance to see this:


After Mass--held in a shadowy side chapel, at which we were very nearly the only English speakers--we went down the road to a big fancy restaurant on a plaza, for a bang-up Easter breakfast. As we were finishing we saw that the plaza was filling with spectators.



The people on parade took it very seriously. I would guess they've been doing this since the cathedral was built.

It was wonderful.

We learned a lot about Florence on our trip--including how to avoid 3-hour lines at the Ufizzi--and are happy to help plan your trip there.

Guest blogger:  Kim Bradley