5.31.09 Florence- Day 2

Florence Travel Blog

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"Big Brother" encourages good posture-ha!

5.31.09 Florence- Day 2


Big excitement in the Michelangelo campground for us because we’ve spied an Irish campervan with a similar license plate!  In fact, just the first 2 digits (the year) are different!  It is even from the same county!  How odd is that?  They aren’t there, but we’ve left a note in a Ziploc bag taped to their door.  Wouldn’t that be exciting if they knew Kieran and Orla?


It is raining today and we’re enjoying the down time.  We visited the campground grocery store here, which is quite large.  A nice lady working there helped us perfect our Italian (“Prego” is never said at the end of a request, just at the beginning.  “Per favore” is instead said at the end)   She said it was nice that we Americans were trying to learn some Italian.

Lovely Florence (Firenze)
  Translated, it does not say anything nice about the typical American traveler! 


She also said we needn’t worry about a hazard panel for the bikes on the back of Sugar.  (no one knows where to buy one) and that the police would not ticket us- that they had many people come through here without one and had never heard of the police giving a fine, let alone a 500E fine, for lack of a panel.  Still, I worry and choose to be conservative (mark that down as a first!).


We had a snack of some Italian chocolate chip biscotti dipped in coffee, then made sandwiches of Tuscan bread, which has a very hard crust, but soft inside.  With procuitto (ham) and delicious cheese (Fontina), we enjoyed our 10:30 am lunch.  At this rate we’ll be finished with dinner by 3pm.


We just heard big thunder!  It is raining hard.

Piazza Michelangelo (a big parking lot if you ask me)
  The temperature is nice- you could get by with shorts, but long pants would work too.  We actually got a little chilly in Venice in the evening!  It feels great after being so hot in Greece.



Update:  We wandered Florence today, enjoying gelati at the highly-rated Grum’s store.  The Uffizi had a line long enough to take a picture!  The Duomo is shocking every time because it’s SO huge!  The interior is surprisingly simple compared to the ornamentation that clings to every square inch of the exterior.


We ran into our librarian Dutch campground friends, Aviva and Abraham, who joined us for gelato.  Did you know you can ask for up to three different flavors in a single “piccolo” gelato cup?  Great way to try many creative flavors for 2E or less!


We lucked into the street market near the Duomo- there were leather bags, t-shirts, silk scarves, sandals, etc and we had a great time buying an inexpensive hat or t-shirt along the route.  We also got a few badly needed Italian leather belts (5E) – he quickly size them just right.  He also punched a few holes in the leather straps of our Athens purses, since they were too long, refusing a tip for his kindness.  Most of the sellers were very nice and not aggressive, so we enjoyed our wanderings.


A nice, big-brotherly type market seller did advise one person in our party to stand up straight with shoulders back.

  While embarrassing for Teen, this Mom was appreciative of the help, having repeated that mantra 400 times a day for an eternity.  I took a picture of “Big Brother.”


We called Ned for a long time from an internet cafe for just $.10 a minute.  Charges begin when Ned answers, but I have to push the * button to activate it and so Ned can hear me.  I figured this out on the 4th call!  The internet cafe did indeed require my passport (or passcard) before phone use - I took a picture of the posted sign saying the police want the info.


Funniest thing happened at day’s end:  We’d wandered near the bus station and then pulled out the GPS for help getting back.  As we walked behind three newly arrived ladies with suitcases, they stopped with that familiar confused look.  So I used the GPS to locate directions to their B&B address, then we walked that direction together.  Guess where they live?  Houston!  How strange to help fellow Houstonians right in the middle of Florence, exactly when the GPS was ready for use!  And given the 20 confusing roads leading from their Bus Station, we felt in the right place at just the right time!  Hooray!


Florence was lovely, easy to enjoy, and full of interesting streets, stores, markets, and sights.

Bronze David statue in Piazza Michelangelo
  It was not as mobbed as feared.  We enjoyed walking along the Arno River and wandering around Florence’s delightful historical center.  The city was founded in 59 AD by Julius Caesar- isn’t that amazing?!  Fascinating!


Tomorrow, we’ll head onward.  The exorbitant price of the campground prohibits lingering when there are many more cities to enjoy along our route back to Ireland.


Today concludes Year One of our travels!

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Big Brother encourages good post…
"Big Brother" encourages good pos…
Lovely Florence (Firenze)
Lovely Florence (Firenze)
Piazza Michelangelo (a big parking…
Piazza Michelangelo (a big parkin…
Bronze David statue in Piazza Mich…
Bronze David statue in Piazza Mic…
Piazza Vicchia state of David
Piazza Vicchia state of David
Gelato at Grums
Gelato at Grum's
The Duomo
The Duomo
Passport needed for internet or ph…
Passport needed for internet or p…
Line at the Uffizi- glad we missed…
Line at the Uffizi- glad we misse…
photo by: spocklogic