Friday, June 27, 2008

florence part 1

So getting to Florence was kind of no good. Night trains are not the most fun thing I've ever been on, but I had to take one from Hamburg to Munich to Florence. It was so hot and you couldn't sleep because they kept opening the door every hour or so asking for your ticket. I got to Florence at 6 am, and checked into my hostel and luckily they had a bed open so I could crash for a few hours. When I got up, I decided to wander around for a bit.
One of the first things I went to get was gelatto, Italy's famous ice cream. It was really good, but I think it was similar to the gelatto I've had in other parts of Europe. Still, though, ice cream shops were everywhere and they were really cool because the tops were all crazy decorated with the flavor they represented.
I grabbed a map and then started making my way around Florence. The first place I visited was the Cathedral of S. Maria del Fiore, and the Duomo which was right next door. The cathedral was the world's 4th largest and it was beautiful. It was built in 1296 and was covered with green, white and pink marble. Along with the beautiful cathedral was about 47,000 tourists. There are so many tourists in Italy right now. I hear more English on a day-to-day basis than any other language, even Italian. So that part was kind of annoying- it meant that everything had about a 45 minute-3 hour wait (like for example, the David statue). Crazy. The inside of the cathedral was kind of boring, except for the ceiling, which was a crazy nice fresco.

Random fact: everyone in Italy really does ride around on Vespas, or similar looking scooters. In fact, instead of parking lots, there were vespa lots instead. One of the things I have always wanted to do was ride on the back of a vespa through the streets of Italy, but I settled for a picture of the vespa lot instead.

Even though I was wearing pants, I decided to climb the bell tower next to the cathedral because I wasn't hot enough in the 90-100 degree heat and sun. This fixed my problem, and I was sufficiently whoa gross and sweaty and hot when I got to the top, all 414 stairs of it. 414 stairs doesn't sound like that much, but it was whoa enough. I would climb a million stairs, get to a terrace and take a million pictures because I thought it was the top, and then I would see an even smaller staircase to the left. Then I would climb a million more stairs, think it was the top, and then see an even smaller staircase to the left. The final staircase was whoa tight. The view from the top, though, was worth it. Florence is such a beautiful city! I think when I get home I'll put together some of my panoramic pictures and when I remember I might upload it, but for now I'll just put this one up (right).
I wandered around some more, and then called it a day because I was whoa tired.
The next day, I met my new roommates and they were really cool guys from New York so I ended up getting some food with them and then we started wandering around the city. We went to see a bit of what I saw the day before, and then we ended up splitting ways because they wanted to check out one part of town and I wanted to check out a different one-the bridge and the other side of the city. On the way to the bridge, I passed by some guy painting a giant picture of Mona Lisa on the sidewalk. I figured it was one of those scams, where a really impressive painting is already mostly done, and then the guy just like pretends to paint on it, but never really does anything, and collects tips. Turns out, though, he really was painting it because when I came back that evening, he had the hair almost all done.

But that day I walked around some more, bought more ice cream and pizza, and walked to the Ponte Vecchio, Florence's oldest bridge that survived WWII. Eh, I thought the one in Prague was better because this one was just completely full of shops selling gold watches and various kinds of flashy stuff, but the one view from the bridge was really nice (above). I was getting good by this point at asking completely random strangers to take my picture because I had like 0 pictures of me in Sweden and Norway when I was by myself. On the other side of the river was a much quieter part of town, where I went to go see the Church of Santo Spirito (below left) and the Pitti Palace, which I didn't have time to go in, but was pretty from the outside. For lunch I had this really good Italian sandwhich, baguette, panini thing with real mozzarella and procuitto (sp? These computers don't have spell check so I don't know if half the stuff I am typing is correct) and it was soo good. And whoa cheaper than the main city center, where everything was overpriced for tourists. I walked back home after that and passed by some statues outside a museum, and this one looked familiar, so I took a picture of it. Turns out that it was familiar because there was a large picture of it in the hostel, but I'm not sure if it is actually famous outside of that. But it was still impressivly graphic.
That night I hung out with my roommates downstairs in the bar and one of the guys decided to start messing around with the Dj equipment, since no one was watching. One of the bartenders came around and asked him if he knew how to Dj, and he said yes (this was not true), so the bartender like came back with a case full of CDs and told him to go at it. So, for the rest of the night, I hung out at the Dj booth and watched him figure out how to mix songs, and helped him pick out music. I tried it once or twice but decided to just stick with picking out songs from the CDs. Still, it was so fun!

1 comment:

rsgradio said...


Is pizza better in Italy? Always wondered.