Florence, Italy – Day 1

(I’m going to add some old blogs that I wrote last summer here first, to get things started. This is from a 10-day trip we took to Italy)

Day 1 in Florence, 15 July
So, I’m sitting here in my hotel room in Florence at 1000 PM after waking up with a major headache. The last 30 hours have been hectic! We left Lubbock on 13 July to head to DFW, where we spent the night before heading out on an 0830 flight to Florence on the 14th. The flight was fine, despite a 1-hour late takeoff from Philly which caused us to miss our connection in Frankfurt. The USO in Philly is awesome! We had hotdogs and chips – tasty and free, and sat in comfy chairs while we surfed the net and charged the laptop. The Frankfurt Airport – what a mess! We had to go through security again as we changed terminals. I had 2 unopened bottles of water in my bag that I got from the USO in Philly (not realizing we had to clear security again) that I had to throw away.  We walked forever to get to our gate and waited for three hours for the flight.

Glad to finally be here on the afternoon of the 15th and off of a plane, we caught a taxi to our hotel, only to find out that they had a pipe burst on Sunday and most of their room were unusable till it’s fixed (hopefully today or tomorrow). They had already made deals with neighboring hotels to put us up for tonight, and we will move back there tomorrow. A pain for me, but I really appreciate that they found us a place to stay instead of saying “sorry!” Very nice people, and I can’t be upset with them.

We got settled in our hotel, headed to the IT (tourism) office to purchase our Firenzie Cards, which will get us in all the major museums fro 3 days, and allow us to NOT have to stand in long lines to buy tickets. Expensive, but worth it! I headed across the street to the bankomat (ATM), only to find out that my debit card can’t do international transactions, despite the bank assuring me it would. I had to use my MasterCard credit card to get a cash advance. I think I’ll go inside a bank tomorrow and see if I can use the debit card there to get cash. I managed to get 270 Euros with my credit card, and off we went! I’ve found that my basic Italian is good enough, so far. I was able to verify the local time with my taxi driver, introduce myself to the people at the hotel, and order dinner!
Florence Cathedral and Brunelleschi's Dome
Luggage unloaded, cash in hand, camera on shoulder – off we went! First, we came the awesome Cathedral and Baptistery. WOW! I’ve seen photos but to see it in person is amazing – this thing is HUGE and marble. I expected Brunelleschi’s dome to dwarf it, but it didn’t. Another awesome thing, was the crowds around the Cathedral area (but not a good awesome). The line was LONG to get inside. That’s on our itinerary later in the week, I think I may need to readjust it a little. We walked past the Medici Palace, and I was able to peek in through an iron gate at the courtyard. WOW – I knew I was standing on the sidewalk that Michelangelo probably walked on, and was looking into a courtyard where he and Botticelli admired the artworks. This place is also on my list.

Onward to Palazzo Veccio, where David stood for 300 years, before being moved to the Academia, out of the elements. There’s a replica there now, and it’s awesome. I took photos of many of the statues in the plaza and alongside the Uffizi (I think) museum. It’s amazing! Another crowded place. We headed to the Arno River and Ponte Veccio. That was our destination today, just a little “Renaissance Walk”, and dinner and then a nap after our 30-hour trip. We stopped for pizza in a touristy place (it was just ok, nothing special), walked across the bridge lined with gold shops, and headed back. Before getting to the hotel, we stopped at “Perce no?” (Why not?), a Geleteria I’d read about, for awesome Italian gelato. We each got a cup with cantaloupe and watermelon. Melone (cantaloupe) was my favorite when we lived in Aviano 22 years ago. It was just like I remembered! Fresh, ice cold, sweet, juicy cantaloupe – NOTHING like American ice cream.

We walked back through the Cathedral area and crowds, through the horse and carriages waiting for passengers (maybe we’ll take a ride!) and back to the hotel. My foot was KILLING ME, and Tony was cranky – we were both worn out.

We turned the light off at 5:30 and went to bed LOL, and I awoke at 8:30 with a major headache. Took an aspirin, ate a granola bar, and typed this out. I’m feeling better now. I think I’ll take a Z-Quil and go back to bead so I’ll get a good night sleep and wake up fresh tomorrow morning.

First thing on Day 2 in Florence: Climb Brunelleschi’s Dome!!
Can’t wait!!

Ciao, ci vediamo piu tardi!

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