Florence, beginning to play some

Florence Travel Blog

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Neat little electric car, saw a couple of them in Florence. It's a Pasquale.

Yesterday we arrived in Florence.  It was a little over 2 hours on one if TrenItalia's fast trains to get here.  Managed to snap a couple photos of the country side from the window as we were whizzing along.  After arriving, we checked into our hotel, a quaint little place along the river, Hotel Balestri.  It's nice enough and has a good bit of character.  The bath room has a shower head sticking out of one of the walls, so it's hard not to make a mess, but, again it has character !

At lunch we met a couple of guys at the next table that own a leater shop here.  We followed them back to their store and Beth, my co-worker tried on a couple of coats.

The Florence Duomo
  Quite nice but VERY expensive.  A brown 3 length was 2000 euro (3000 US dollars).  It looked good but OUCH.  Needless to say she didn't make a purchase.  Most of the afternoon we just walked around the city checking things out.  We found a market to return to today for some souviners, and also found the Museo dell'Opra del Duomo (the museam of the large Catholic church in town), a place we intend to return to this afternoon for a little culture and air conditioning. 

The main piazza in town is the Piazza Della Signoria in front of the Uffizi Gallery.  We spent a couple of hours there enjoying the sculpture and people watching, stopping at a resturant along the square for a cold drink and snack. 

We also stumbled on a nice resturant last night where we ended up staying until mid night.

  It's the Caffe Concerto Paszkowski on Piazza Della Repubblica.  There was a group performing everything from what were evidently some Italian classics to every style of American music imaginable.  The crowd, about a half and half mix of Americians and Italians went wild when they cranked up Gloria Gainer's I WILL SURVIVE.  It was a lot of fun but we passed on joining in on the can-can line during New York, New York.  We requested Sweet Home Alabama, but they weren't able to pull it off.  The female vocalist and the gist of the chorus, but that was about it.  My camera battery died so I don't have any photos from there, so I'll make some tonight and add them the next time I have internet access. 

The whole internet thing is proving to be more of a challenge here than expected.  The hotels (most pretty old) don't have much connectivity and I'm hesitant to do personal stuff at work.

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Our very Pro-USA (and republican) waiter sporting his US Flag pin.

I'll explain the title of this section later further down in today‚Äôs writing.   This morning, we set out in searcy of the San Lorenzo street market and spent most of the day there (it's huge), taking a couple of breaks for food and a quick afternoon nap at the hotel.  One friend from work who had been here last year set us with a shopping list of things she wanted, so we started out the morning in a mission.  I was being pretty good at first watching Beth go out in search of things on 'the list'.  In the process I started scoping out booths that would be worth a return visit.  One guy was 'barking' at me to come try a leather jacket, I commented that I was too hot natured to wear jackets and kept going (however, I did really like the one that he held out for me to see).

The street of the San Lorenzo market
  After a pass through the entire market, we started going back to the more promising booths.  Mainly picking up gifts for folks at home and working our way through 'the list'.  Then we get back to the leather jacket booth that had yelled at me on the first pass.  The first one I tried didn't fit quite right, and the next one fit, but was a bit trendy for my taste.  The guy in the booth went back to the first one and said, "you like? follow me".  I should have known that was a sign of trouble.  We went to the store, which was behind the booths set up on the street.  It was a very small shop, but the walls were lined with leather jackets and he set out to find my size in the first one that I'd seen on the street.  In the mean while, I spotted another one on the wall.  When I checked it out, it was (of course) about three times the price of the one on the street - ah but so nice.  Well okay, you know the rest of the story.
  I left with the jacket, but got him down to better than half of the marked price.  Beth, my co-worker, also found one that she liked and got a similar deal.  We both left happy. 

Being about 1 in the afternoon now, we set out in search of a place to eat and found what looked to be a sidewalk cafe (later we went inside and realized that the place was HUGE with just a few tables out under a canopy).  When we walked and were seated, the first thing the waiter asked was where we were from.  When we told him, he responded with "Al-la-baaaaam-a, that means you're a republican, we like republicans !"  He went on to point out that he was wearing pins of both a U.S. Flag and the state of Texas on his apron.

The clock in Piazza Della Signoria only has one hand.
  Next the cell phone came out, and he had a picture of George Bush on his display.  Beth and I were laughing so hard we could hardly hold it in.  Then it gets better, he comes back with a pin of an Alabama flag; he was familiar with both Birmingham and Mobile and said he had friends in both cities.  As the patio continued to fill up, there were representatives from several places.  We were Al-la-baaaam-a, New Jersey was a few tables over, France was right behind us (he didn't much like them), England next to them, and one Italian guy at a table next to us.  He was cutting up with everyone there (except the lone Italian man who really didn't seem to appreciate all of the humor) and after bouncing back and forth several times between us and New Jersey, announced to the crowd; "God Bless the U.
S.A - Even the Democrats!  At this point, Beth and I about wet ourselves.  At the end of the meal, we decided that both the food and company were so good that we would come back for dinner.   For the evening meal, we were joined by Chicago, Kentucky, Canada, Alaska, the Japan, and England.  The couple from Kentucky said that the concierge at their hotel had recommended the place because of their pro-American attitude.  The restaurant is "Il Porcospino" (The Porcupine).  It's located behind the cathedral on via San Lorenzo and both the food and service are truly excellent.
The buildings around town are covered with sclupture built into the walls
  You even get a little entertainment thrown in on the side. 

In yesterday's notes, I said that we were going to try and hit the Duomo Museam.  Well, we never made it.  Alas, we left Florence almost completely culture-less.  There is, however an amazing amount of art available on the streets just looking at the buildings and the sculpture in the squares.  They also have some amazing street artist who spend the day creating chalk art on the streets, only to have it washed away over night by the street cleaners.

Neat little electric car, saw a co…
Neat little electric car, saw a c…
The Florence Duomo
The Florence Duomo
Our very Pro-USA (and republican) …
Our very Pro-USA (and republican)…
The street of the San Lorenzo mark…
The street of the San Lorenzo mar…
The clock in Piazza Della Signoria…
The clock in Piazza Della Signori…
The buildings around town are cove…
The buildings around town are cov…
chalk art on the streets
chalk art on the streets
photo by: monky