Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fantastic Firenze

Today we got up early enough to take the 6:57am train out of Rome so we could get in to Florence (Firenze in Italian) before noon. Believe it or not, despite our record with transportation, we made it to the train without a hitch and once we got to Florence we made it to our hostel without taking any wrong turns…maybe we’re getting a hang of European travel after all (but probably not). Florence is another one of those towns that immediately engages you and entertains you without any real effort. Today we were able to just walk around the city and enjoy the sites. The one bad thing about Florence is that all of their exhibits and museums charge admission, where as most of the cities we’ve been to do have their fair share of free exhibits. Part of the reason, I suppose, that everything has a fee is because many of the museums and exhibits hold famous works from Michelangelo and DaVinci…so if you’re willing to pay the fees you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. We do want to see Michelangelo’s statue of David that is held at the Galleria Academia, but we are saving that for tomorrow morning when there won’t be any lines.

Anywho…back to what we actually DID do today. First we grabbed some pizza from a restaurant nearby that the hostel highly recommended…like all the other places we have tried, this one did not disappoint.

Brief aside…the pizza in Italy is not like the pizza in America, not entirely at least (I don’t want to mislead). Instead of taking at least 20 minutes for prep time and cooking, the time it takes from throwing the dough to pulling it out of the oven seems almost as fast as ordering at a McDonald’s…seriously sometimes it only takes about 5 minutes.

After getting lunch we went to Florence’s outdoor market; lots of leather, lots of jewelry, lots of cool stuff, and a fair share of knock off items…it’s definitely the best market we’ve been to so far. After the market we got gelato (I’ve lost count of how many times this makes), unlike most other times, where I’ve mixed two flavors, I got just chocolate (or cioccolata rather)…rich, sweet, great! From there we just walked to all of the main piazzas and locations in Florence that we were told we should visit. Eventually we made it to Pont Vecchio, Florence’s oldest and most famous bridge where we got our fair share of photos. The end goal of the path we took today was to make it to the Piazzale Michelangelo, a piazza on the top of a hill that overlooks the entire town of Florence. It took a while to get there, and the hike up was no cake walk, but once we made it, it was definitely worth it. From there we could see the hillsides, the river, the town and all of its old cathedrals and architecture…a very cool experience, another that offered many photo-ops. We ended the day at the same restaurant we got the pizza from for lunch; we started by splitting a pizza (salami, sausage, and ham I think) and then Erica had homemade spaghetti noodles (they were fatter than normal spaghetti) and Bolognese sauce, and I got normal spaghetti and meatballs; all accompanied by the house red wine. Of course after this we got another thing of gelato (strawberry and pineapple again, different than the time before but still great); completely unnecessary at this point, but totally worth it.

Stuffed, satisfied, sleepy…goodnight.

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