The train from Rome to Florence was pretty uneventful, especially in comparison to our other Italian train experiences. We shared a compartment with a older Italian gentleman who gave us a bunch of tips about what we should do in Florence in our one day.
Yes, we know that it is ridiculous to go to Florence for only one day, but it couldn't be avoided. We need to be in Paris by the 26th and time is running out. Plus, Adrienne and I are spending almost a week in Tuscany after Jenna leaves. So, better for Jenna to see Florence for 1 day then to not see it at all!
We arrived in late morning on Tuesday (5/24) and walked through the sweltering heat to our hostel. Italy seemed to get hotter as we moved further north, which is ironic but must have something to do with humidity.
The hostel was really nice and clean, and the dorm rooms only had 4 beds so we didn't have to share with a gaggle of people. Since we only had one day, we decided to run around and see all of the highlights really quickly, then spend the rest of the day enjoying the Tuscan culture.
We walked to the Duomo to take a bunch of pictures and do some shopping. The shopping in Florence was so excellent-- there were street stalls EVERYWHERE that sold a huge assortment of things.
Leather, clothing, standard souvenirs, jewelry, and millions of scarves. Since our last scarf purchase was really rushed, we ended up with silly shiny purple things. So I upgraded my 1 Euro shiny scarf for a 3 Euro floral thing that is much less ridiculous.
We were starving so we went to a little trattoria and had pastas with Chianti and delicious espressos for dessert. The food in Florence is much less expensive than Venice or Rome, and they didn't try to charge us a ridiculous amount for service! Plus, the waiter gave us good tips about where to go in Florence as well.
We took his advice and walked down to the river to check out views of a famous bridge and pick up some gelato. The gelato keeps getting better and better. Or maybe we just keep getting hungrier since we are running around more and more each day.
After walking across the bridge, we went to Piazza de Castellani and Loggia della Signoria, which is an outdoor collection of sculptures. We didn't have time to wait in the ginormous line to see David, so we settled with seeing some of Michelangelo's other works and a replica of the famous David. I'll post all of the statue pics on the bottom of the blog.
Then we hiked up 600 steps to Piazzale Michelangelo for views of the city. The sunset was amazing, so spent a ton of time up there taking pictures. We met a couple from Ohio who told us about a volcano in Iceland that erupted recently. Apparently it is interrupting air travel to the UK, Scandinavia, and parts of Germany.
This is particularly troubling since Adrienne is supposed to fly into London tomorrow then catch the train to meet us in Paris--we texted her and the flight seems to be okay. Maybe they will just divert her train to Paris... wouldn't that be helpful?!
We stopped by a grocery store to pick up bread and cheese for our train adventure the next day, then took our time walking back to hostel through town to take night pictures. Florence is really well lit at night so we got a bunch of really amazing ones.
Thank goodness for this camera-- I would be so frustrated with old one. The increased control you have with an SLR is really nice, but the night/low light pictures are definitely the biggest winner.
I could never succeed with my old camera--- all the pictures would be blurry or over-exposed.
Good job, camera!
Once again, we woke up early to catch yet another train. I suppose our final destination is Paris, but we have a little stopover in Basel for the night. Will post about the train adventures tomorrow! Ciao!
To preface, it was 95 degrees in Florence. We thought we were going to die.