After taking the train from Venice
, we arrived in Florence
and sat in a park with a mother openly breast feeding her child. Meanwhile her other children came up to us to ask for water. Since I didn't have any they became interested in the camera and spent 15 minutes asking for me to take more pictures of them. I had to delete the majority so I had room for more. We found our hostel which was really just a room in a random building. It had a shower in the corner of the room which I would later find did not drain too well. In fact, a five minute shower spilled out into the room creating quite a mess and a sort of feeling of disgust that all of my dirtiness was now scattered across the floor.
Moving on from that point. Once settled, we made our obligatory stop at the local McDonald's. I know a lot of you will be appalled by that statement, but sometimes traveling you just need a feel of home, and we had little money and we were hungry. As student travelers with money as an issue, my friends and I got into doing the hop-on hop-off bus tours as cheap ways to see the best sites and venture into areas of different locations that would otherwise not see. We did the same in Florence.
We visited the historic Duomo first. We climbed up the entire dome from Hell up to Heaven. (When you see the inside of the dome, the mural portrays both scenes.) The view from the top was amazing. Through my travels, I found that you don't need a lot of money to enjoy traveling.
The views of Florence from the Duomo are another example. You pay the fee to get in, but you are rewarded for it. After we were done with the tour of the Duomo, we walked through the market outside. One man tried to sell me a leather jacket with the enticing words, "You buy coat, you look like Brad Pitt." While I wouldn't mind looking like Brad Pitt, I'm not quite sure a leather jacket would do the trick. I think plastic surgery maybe. If a doctor was walking down the road and said, "go under the scalpel, look like Brad Pitt", I would be more inclined to trust him.
From there we went to see the David. Florence is known for its art, but its lines to see the art are equally famous. We were fortunate to get there early and wait for less than an hour. Seeing the David is a memorable experience.
I still can't comprehend how someone could carve something so amazing out of marble. Michaelangelo is deservedly thought of as a master of the Renaissance era. The detail in his work is awesome. I was taking a class at the University of Westminster in art and society, and wrote a paper on the topic because I was so inspired.
Back on the hop-on hop-off bus, we headed to the other side of the river to see the other David. Yes, there is more than one. This one is a replica that is in a square that overlooks Florence. There, we ate at a touristy restaurant, but for good reason, it had the best view of the city. Sometimes in travel, you just need to stop and smell the roses, this was one of those times. I called my parents in the states because I was so excited about the view.
And after eating and walking for a good portion of the day, we made our way to a quaint church. And it was there where my life changed. I might possibly have taken the best nap I have ever had in Florence. I know it's a strange thing to remember a city for, but this was one really good nap. We made our way to a few benches outside of the church for a rest, but ended up in 30 minutes of complete bliss. Waking up in Tuscany on a warm spring day has a way of changing a person.
My friends and I all finally woke up and were ready to move on. We made our way past Galileo's house and about a five mile walk back to the city, interrupting a surpised bunch of pigeons on the way. When we got back to the hostel, we got cleaned up and headed to dinner. We found a spot to eat near the Duomo and had some authentic Italian food finally, then headed for some gelato.
We ran into some friends we met in Venice. They would later come with us on the journey to Pisa
and Rome that followed, but after some conversation, we headed out to experience the nightlife that Florence is famous for. What we got was a bar playing European 80's MTV videos. How we got there I don't know, but it happened. It was probably not what people usually talk about when they rave about Florence. We made the best of it, but instead of keep searching, we needed to get to bed to get up and head to Pisa and then Rome the next day.