Fascinating Firenze!

[15-jan-2004]

Well, Our arrival in Florence was kindly due to the lovely service of Trenitalia! The big train system here in Italy! We used our pre bought Eurail passes and comfortably sat in first class! There is more room on these babies then in an aeroplane – so our journey was pleasant. Three hours or so and we arrived in Florence to then hike (about 25 minutes) with our packs to our next accommodation. A bed and breakfast up two flights of mouldy smelling stairs and we were presented with quite a lovely room – complete with four poster bed and silk ties! We were able to watch TV – which is no big deal but have you ever seen the Cosby show dubbed in Italian? Or how about Family Matters? the Steve Urkel guy – doesn’t sound the same with a voice that has broken and is speaking rapid Italian! Still, we enjoyed the challenge of watching an Italian game show!

The shutters were so effective that we awoke thinking it was fairly early – it was so dark! But in fact, it was 0930hrs! So, after munching down the “included breakfast” – consisting of a stale croissant (over wrapped in plastic) and an unusual beverage of a pear juice popper – we started the day! No idea where to go we just started walking. The dog sh!t here is a lot better than Rome, although it is still a hazard!

After half an hour walking we found the tourist bureau complete with free map! And we plotted our day. Of course first stop was a Church! The HUGE Santa Maria Novelle Church still in the process of being restored was a marvel to see. Very old, very historic and very serene. It was also freezing! The San Lorenzo Square was worth a visit (skeleton and all).

The next day consisted of a marathon effort to see the statue of St David. Dave was very excited to see a naked man that is his namesake! Apart from walking about an hour and a half, we then trekked up a very very large, steep – well, hill doesn’t really cut it! It seemed more like a mountain to me! (Even Dave had to take his jumper off as it was hard going) But, we made it. Hooray – but, bad news, It wasn’t even the real thing!! ARRGGGHHH. The view was incredible and it was pretty cold up there (I am sure there are pictures of this view – have a look). So, I admit to feeling a little whingey (just a little) as the statue was a copy Dave was still on a mission to seek out the real one.

Luckily we found some other very tired tourists and we shared a cab to the Galleria Dell Accademia a big art gallery/museum of really old things (as museums often are). There he was, in all his glory broken hand, penis and all! This made Dave’s day! (Now we could go back for a Nana nap). The story of David (Michelangelo) was very interesting and the restoration process over hundreds of years pretty amazing. Well worth the visit to Florence.

A quick mention of our favourite Florence restaurant – a little Vietnamese place where on the first night we had to work out the menu. It was in Vietnamese of course, but then in Italian. So, where a noodle dish was described as spaghetti with chicken and so on! A challenge really. But the food and prices were so good we went back and were a little more adventurous with our ordering. Our visit here has been less hectic than Rome and the historical sites are worth a look.

Dave & Narelle