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Pizza, Piazzas & Planes! My adventures in Italy, London, and Ireland with my beautiful best friend!

A Weekend in Florence!

ITALY | Sunday, 18 January 2015 | Views [388] | Comments [1]


Well, what a fun filled, exhausting, and beautiful weekend!


On Friday, upon arrival, we walked to our hotel. It was quite the walk with my duffel bag. The curse of this trip. Once we got to our hotel, we unpacked and rested for a few minutes. Then it was time for our walking tour.


We met our guide, Clause, in the lobby. He is from Amsterdam but has lived in Florence for 8 years. He was great! He took us on a walking tour down the river walk, across the river, and then into the central part of the city. He showed us his favorite places to eat and was just a wealth of knowledge. The only downside of that tour was that it was sprinkling and chilly once the sun went down.


After a 2.5 hour walking tour, about half of us went to a restaurant for dinner. We were famished and frozen. Plus my feet were wet. So I dried my socks under the hand dryer. I had a less than spectacular plate of carbonara. Hits or misses on every meal. We then grabbed some dessert, a nutella crepe for me, and walked back to the hotel.


Once back in our warm (too warm) room, I shaved my legs (FINALLY!) and Nat and I watched a movie. I put my wet shoes on the heated towel rack. Best idea ever!! After we thawed a bit, our room ended up being too hot. So I turned on the A/C before bed. We finally figured out how to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit. Multiply by 2 and add 30! But, of course, when we woke up it was too cold in the room. Oh well.


Saturday morning we had a delicious buffet for breakfast, and headed on another tour. We saw many beautiful churches, markets, and the graves of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Galileo, and many other famous people. Everything happened here in Florence. It is a city with such a rich history! It is incredible! Also, this city is smaller than Rome, so everything is walk-able. But it will be a 45-minute walk. So our feet were screaming by the end of the tour! We saw several beautiful churches, stopped for a snack break, and continued walking in the pouring rain. I am so glad I brought my umbrella! Nat and I shared it.


As the tour came to a close, it finally stopped raining. Nat and I decided to go do some shopping, since her shoes are on their 8th of 9 lives. We were walking with a few other friends and an American young man heard us talking about needing new leather shoes so he stopped us and told us the place he likes best. So we checked that out. But real leather, in the stores, is so expensive! So Natalie and I went to a open air market and bartered! We bought some scarves, bracelets, and Nat got a purse. I finally got my ring! No purse for me though. The markets are nice, but they can be intimidating when every person you walk past is calling you over to their stand and trying to offer you “a special deal”. But, it was worth it! What an experience! We ran and grabbed a slice of pizza and then had another tour!


In the afternoon we went and saw the “David” sculpture by Michelangelo. It was so tall! I couldn’t believe how big he was! And it was also super detailed. What a talented artist! After that we headed to the “Duomo”, or cathedral, and saw that. It has the largest brick dome in the world. Architects today still cant figure out how it stays up! It was so beautiful! The façade is indescribable.


We then went shopping for a bit longer with some of our friends, and then headed back to the hotel. On the walk back we saw a hardware store so Nat bought some tape to tape her broken shoes up. What a hoot!


Once back in the hotel, we were pooped. We sat on our beds, in silence, for like 30 minutes. And then I laid my head on her stomach and fell asleep. So we were not excited when we had to get up and get ready for the evening. But it was a great evening!


We met the class in the lobby of the hotel at 8:15, but we didn’t leave until 8:30. Classic. Eric had talked with the hotel desk and they recommended some good restaurants. So Eric and I took the map and took the lead. We walked the whole group, 17 of us, to a restaurant just about 10 minutes away. I’m sure the sight of all 17 of us would be intimidating to any restaurant. So we all sat, and I was at a table with Natalie, Kelly, and Anne. Our scary professor had recommended that we try a Florentine steak, so that’s what we did. The tricky parts with ordering it though. The steaks are prices 5.00 euros per 100 grams. But the steaks have to be ordered at a minimum of 700 grams. So the steak would be 35 euros. So we decided to split it 4 ways! We got some potatoes as our side dish, the restaurant gave us bread as part of the cover charge, and it was the best meal I have had yet! It was absolutely delicious! Cooked very well, very flavorful. I was so happy with it! We also all had some limoncello to finish the meal!


After dinner, the group split into 3. Some went to the hotel to sleep, others went downtown to get into all sorts of shenanigans, I’m sure, and 5 of us went across the river to a Piazza we saw on the tour the first night. We found a bar, grabbed a drink, and took it out into the piazza. We sat on the edge of the fountain, chatted, and just took the night in. It was really nice!


When we got to the hotel, it was time for bed. We put the A/C on, and slept hard. Until I woke up shivering. Opps. I went to grab my phone, couldn’t find it, freaked out that we had overslept, until I found my phone, saw that it was 6:00 am, went to turn the a/c up, and managed to drop the lid of the thermostat, which set the motion light in the closest off. Luckily Nat is a hard sleeper! So I went to the bathroom, se the light off again, and crawled back into bed. It was hilarious.

Today we met Clause to tour the world’s first ever museum. The collection started off from an extremely wealthy family’s collection of art, and grew from there. We saw work from Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and many other artists. However, my feet were killing me and I was sick of carrying my purse, so I didn’t overly enjoy it. Oh well.


After we went to lunch. We have a standard procedure of finding a place:

1.)  Read the menu posted outside

2.)  If the prices are reasonable, send a representative to talk to the waiter

3.)  If they speak English, ask if they take our vouchers

4.)  If they take the vouchers, ask if they have a cover charge,

5.)  If they don’t, grab the group and go enjoy a meal together


After those steps, we found a great place! I had fettuccine in a cream sauce and shared ½ liter of sangria with Anne and Natalie. It was a great meal! We have been super lucky with how many people accept the vouchers! So helpful!


After lunch we did some more shopping, grabbed a snack (cannoli for me) and walked back to the hotel. On our way, my eye stopped on a girl I recognized- It was Veronica! So we said hello, and then our mama walked over with the doggie! We chatted with them for a minute, the boys were climbing the tower of the cathedral, and we continued walked. When we got back to the hotel, all 17 of us were lying on the couches, on our phones or computers (since we had checked out this morning) and waited to head to the train station. We walked to the station, found our platform, and we are now on the train back to Rome.


Tonight we will head home on the bus, grab some food, and retreat to our room. Photos need to be posted. Papers need to be written. Families need to be Face Timed. And we should probably do some laundry. This week will be really busy! I can’t believe that we are leaving in 6 days! I will miss our new friends! And now that we’ve finally gotten the hang of Italy. it is time to start prepping for the other part of this trip. Crazy! 

Tags: david, duomo, florence, rain, tired, trains



Wow what a full weekend. We need to do something about your sore feet. I quess you hould have taken walking shoes? tennis shoes, even if they are not stylish. It was fun to see your family, I forgot they were gong there, too.

I am not sure what some of your food was. I am glad that you have a good steak and some good meals. You are getting the hang of things, that is how it always goes.

Sending love to you, Your Mama

  Mary Jo Jan 19, 2015 12:42 PM

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