La Bella Firenze: The Start of My Solo Traveling

Trip Start Jul 18, 2011
Trip End Dec 24, 2011

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Where I stayed
7 Santi Hostel Florence
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Accademia Florence
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Il Duomo (Collegiata) San Gimignano
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Ponte Vecchio Florence
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I headed to Florence from Venzia to the 7 Santi. I  paid for the previous night that I had missed because I stayed an extra night in Venice to take care of my friend who was ill and had to go back to Geneva, Switzerland. 

I was exhausted from not sleeping for nearly a week. I walked up the stairs and went into my hostel room to chill out. That was the first time I had experienced an co-ed hostel. I was confused when I walked in the room. There was a bearded Canadian fiddling on his iPhone and an artist from Macedonia with a far away look in her eyes. They welcomed me as if I was an old friend and chatted with me for a few hours when I really just wanted to sleep. The beds were so comfortable, with a soft pillow, and two blankets. Much better than the ones I stayed at in Milan and Venice. Unfortunately, it had bed bugs. The bathrooms and showers were co-ed as well, which I found out when I walked in the bathroom to find a guy stripped down to nothing but his underwear, brushing his teeth

The next day was my first day traveling solo. I decided to let myself sleep in a bit, then I went out and wandered the city. My only plan was to walk around and allow myself to stumble upon places. I headed out from my hostel, searching for a grocery store. I walked around for an hour and a half, finding myself in the suburbs and nowhere near the center of the city or near a grocery store. Frustrated and hungry, I stopped by an ATM to withdraw some money. My dad had sent me my debit card in the mail from America, and somewhere in the process, it got slightly bent. Well, the machine gave me my 50 euro, but completely swallowed my card. I was really upset and walked into the bank and told them what happened. They opened the ATM and saw that my card was bent. The man in charge told me that they will not give my card back because it is damaged. Embarrassingly, I burst into tears. I sobbed that if I didn't get my card back, then I'd be stuck in Italy for the next 11 days with no money and nowhere to go. I was hungry and tired. I just wanted my card back. Not wanting to deal with a girl in tears, they handed me my card back and I escorted myself out. Every single time I used my card after that, I prayed that it would be returned to me. 

After the bank, I took the bus to the center. I was extremely exhausted and my legs felt like lead. But still, I pressed on. I stumbled across a couple of impressive duomos and cathederals, an opera house, piazzas, and the Uffizi. I can't really tell you all the places I've been. All I know is I saw some impressive architecture, arches, statues, street performers, and paintings. I entered the Uffizi and saw some impressive Renaissance paintings. My favorite one was The Birth of Venus. It was amazing to think that it was right there in front of me!

On my second day in Florence, I headed to the Accademia. I had tried to go the day before, but the line was just crazy and extended all the way down the street and around the corner. I had gone to the grocery store across the street, where I found twelve apples for one euro and 36 clementines for 1 euro. It was a pretty sweet deal and I was absolutely stoked because I was running out of money.

The next morning, I arrived at the Accademia. There was no line. I was so thrilled that I could appreciate art in peace without being smothered by smelly tourists. I went in and looked at some more paintings of Jesus, but I didn't really stick around for long. I was kind of sick of seeing paintings of Jesus. They weren't my favorite cause they were all the same impression of him looking all sickly and thin, with a bored expression.

After wandering the museum for a while, I turned around the corner, not expecting to see the statue of David. It was such a shock when I did. I had imagined it to be much smaller. It was absolutely huge and meticulously detailed and amazingly proportioned. I loved it! After seeing David, I quickly left to catch my train to Rome. Firenze was great, but the exhaustion was beginning to set in and my true adventures were only about to start. I had no clue what laid before me as I headed south... 
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