We've had an amazing day in Florence! We've seen and done so much considering the amount of time we've been out, and we have some really good photos. This is what the trip is all about.
We are now back in our hostel - Sam is in the shower at the moment and I'm in the room. This hostel is really good, the staff are very friendly, we have a 3-bed dorm room all to ourselves, the showers are good and the locations is good. We're very happy with it, especially for the price we paid for it.
This is the view out of our window:
Tomorrow we will be moving on to Rome in the afternoon (probably about 3 o'clock-ish, we still haven't reserved the train but they are very frequent) after spending the early part of the day experiencing a few more things that Florence has to offer. Luckily, most of the things we saw today were all quite close together and it was very easy to plan a route to take, but there are a couple of things that we couldn't manage to see, so that's for tomorrow.
The weather's been really nice. Although last night it rained heavily and it rained a little this morning, by the time we were in our current hostel and since then it has been lovely sunshine and about 25 degrees. Perfect.
I had another look at the weather in Canterbury earlier...I actually feel sorry for you. I'm not even gonna joke about it anymore. I can't believe the temperatures particularly; they're pretty fucked up. Let's hope the weather gets better then, definitely by the time we get back!
So now I'll go through what happened today from where I left you off in the last post - in the new hostel. I don't know the Italian equivalent for 'vamos', so I'm just gonna say 'let's go!'.
So when we got up to our room, we checked our internet stuff and then planned what we were going to do in Florence for the rest of the day. The very helpful woman at reception gave us a city map and showed us where all of the main locations are, and told us her recommendation of a place to go, so we used this, coupled with advice from other people and our limited knowledge to devise a route we were going to take.
Conveniently, the first place on our route, and where a lot of the important attractions are, is close to the train station, which is on the route of the number 17 bus that stops just outside our hostel. So we decided that the first place we would stop at would be the train station so that we could book our tickets to Rome for tomorrow.
When we got on the bus, there was a pebble on my seat. Because that's common.
We also noticed that the mother and child that were opposite us were English. Sam asked the mother if they were from England and she said yes and that she was form London. He then asked her what she thought about the city, and she said she really liked it. She said she was studying in Torino and was just there for a couple of weeks on holiday. She then asked us about our trip and we told here where we'd been and where we were going. It was really refreshing to talk to someone from Laaandaaaan (she didn't speak like that by the way)... the accent was familiar and it felt close to home which was nice.
We got to the station and headed for the ticket offices.
And then we realised we didn't have our InterRail tickets with us.
There was nothing we could do, but we knew that we should be able to book a train tomorrow as they are so frequent, so we left without worrying.
We were both quite hungry as we'd only had dry cornflakes at this point, and we saw the McDonald's again...oh fuck.
We felt SO bad. We won't do it again for a long time. It was just so cheap and convenient, and it would pretty much sort us out for the rest of the day.
As went entered, something amazing happened.
A woman behind the counter was just passing a meal to a customer on one of the trays as they normally do, but the customer somehow missed the tray with her second hand.
There was a scream.
The meal crashed to the floor and SHIT WENT EVERYWHERE.
There were fries like 10 metres from where she dropped the tray. Not one was left in that shitty cardboard thing they give you.
Hilariously, even the burger managed to flip out of its closed packaging and ended up on the floor.
Coke was spilt.
The woman behind the counter and the customer looked on in horror.
I laughed and laughed and laughed. I could not stop laughing.
The woman behind the counter reacted semi-angrily, but it seemed that the woman didn't have to pay for a new meal, which she got.
Within about ten seconds a man with a broom and a dustpan swept up the evidence.
I was still laughing, even when the woman was getting a new meal. She must have known I was laughing at what she had done. It was just so FUCKING hilarious. I would have loved to have seen that shit in slow-motion and set it to some mega dramatic song.
I'm almost in tears laughing about it as I write this post. Sam is looking at me a bit strangely.
Maybe she did it on purpose and was trying to take down the capitalist machine like me and Sam?!?!
Moving on, me and Sam ordered chicken and bacon wrap meals and devoured them, and then headed off to explore.
On the first street we walked down from the station area, we found a beautiful building called the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella (which explains why the train station is called the Santa Maria Novella). We didn't go in because we had to pay and we didn't have much time because we wanted to see the other things on our route, but we got photos of the outside:
After this, we just had to walk down one more street and then we would be at the cathedral (or Duomo as it is called here) and the busy square in which it is located.
We couldn't believe what we saw when we got there.
That was the baptistery with the cathedral behind it. This is the first sight you see as you walk up the street.
Here is the cathedral and the clock tower:
Cathedral door and window. You can see how decorative it is. Green and white also seems to be a theme throughout.
Statues above a door of the baptistery.
The golden door of the baptistery, which Wikipedia tells me was completed in 1336.
A carving of a squizza next to the doors! Random!
We then moved round to the other side of the cathedral:
However, on the way up they had 4 or 5 floors where you could look out/take pictures before reaching the top.
Pictures from the first level:
Intricate details of the cathedral.
A view over the rooftops:
This is the staircase:
Photos from floors further up the tower:
The cathedral tower.
Rooftops and churches.
A bell we found!
And finally, after climbing those 414 steps and standing to the side as people came past (they rarely apologised), we reached the top.
This was the view:
The very top!
The cathedral roof and the city.
Looking out towards the train station.
More amazing views:
Sam fitting his head through the metal fence at the top!
It took about 20 minutes just to get down!
So then we were moving on through the main shopping street, towards the Piazza della Signoria.
The Piazza della Signoria boasts plenty of statues that are open to the public, as well as many in the nearby museum. Me and Sam didn't really have the time or money to wander though the museum (it must have been about 7.30pm at this point), but we did have a look around the square and at the statues.
From here, we walked to the nearby Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge adorned with jewellery shops.
When we got to the end of the bridge, we saw a Gelateria (a place that sells Gelato, the Italian version of ice-cream made using a higher proportion of whole milk to cream - it is richer). A friend of Sam's had recommended this particular place, and seeing as we hadn't had gelato since being in Italy, we went inside.
I got 'fruits of the forest' flavour, while Sam got strawberry. It was FUCKING AMAZING. Sooooo much better than normal ice-cream. But also FUCKING EXPENSIVE.
Here's me enjoying mine:
Ah, good times!!
Look at the cones!!
After getting our guideline daily amount of fat in the Gelateria, we headed tot he right of the bridge to find a palace. It was closed, as we half expected as it was quite late, but in retrospect this was good in a way as it gave us more time later on.
So we walked along the river in the direction of the Piazzale Michelangelo, the next place we were heading for.
Here are some pictures we took on the way:
We found the entrance to the Piazzale Michelangelo with its tower.
And we headed up the hill next to it to a viewpoint over the city.
When we got to the top the view was spectacular. This was the place suggested to us by the person in the hostel, and you could really see why, especially at this time of day.
Here is a selection of the photos we took:
It was a stunning view.
As it was getting quite late and would be getting dark soon, we decided to head back to the hostel. It seemed like too much trouble to head back to the train station and get the bus back, so we walked back instead.
On the way there, we witnessed a beautiful sunset alongside the river. We took many many photos, so here are some of the best ones:
It was incredible and we felt very lucky to see it!
Walking back took quite a long time, about 40 minutes, but the journey was ok, despite it getting increasingly dark.
And that more or less brings you up to date with what happened today!
There is a thunderstorm going on outside. There's been some big flashes of lightning and loud claps of thunder, but I think it's passing. Pretty cool.
I just thought I'd end with something funny.
We book our hostels that we stay in on the wesbite HostelWorld (www.hostelworld.com). On the pages for the individual hostels, it is the owners of the hostels that write the descriptions.
This can be very funny when the owners are not comfortable with English. Take a look at these examples:
(By the way, we haven't stayed in these hostels!)
From a hostel in Milan called 'Scream House' (Megalols): "The hostel is born in 2010"
- All of this sounds pretty creepy!!
"There is a balcony where you can smoke and make friendships with other clients."
There is a checklist of facilities/things provided by the hostel on the hostels page. But there seems to be a bit of a paradox going on in this one:
"Breakfast included" "Breakfast not included"
So which one is it?!
"Hotel Adelchi is centre of Milan"
Wait, it's the WHOLE CENTRE?! WOW! I'm staying there, especially for that price.
It's always nice to be entertained when you're desperately trying to find a good hostel.
But anyway, I better get off to bed now. It's really late again...fuck, I don't want to get back into this habit. It's because the photos took so long to upload today for whatever reason.
So tomorrow's post should be from Rome if everything goes to plan! We should have already done a few things too so look out for it!
Until then, ciao!
Jack - 12/6/12 - 04:36 in Florence, 03:36 in the UK