Italy (Part II) - Florence
(written about the 5th of October)
Back to the grindstone again, time to write some more... i'm currently sitting on a train in the Netherlands, going from Maastricht to Utrecht, and not understanding a single word of Dutch... Makes it fun
Anyway, I think I finished off the last entry in Roma, so, now its onto Florence, also known as Firenze. I must admit that I liked Florence much more than Roma - a combination of a much smaller city, cleaner and less hectic, and a lessening of the 'new country scariness'. Its also a much more pedestrian city - as in lots of pedestrians wandering around, and the streets are pretty pedestrian-friendly. So, much more enjoyable.
Ended up staying in a place called 'Firenze Inn' - a cool place that was pretty much a big old Italian house, with 9 beds in it. The hostel had just been taken over by a new company, and they only had a licence for 9 beds, in a place that could have held 40 (the previous company had lots of beds, ignoring the licence limitations). So, Matt and I had a huge room (one that could've fitted at least 12 people) to ourselves. Pretty cool.
Made the effort to go the the Galleria D'Accademia (which held Michaelangelo's famous statue of David - pretty cool, but kind of a let down), and the Galleria D'Uffizi (which had lots of famous paintings by lots of famous people (can you tell that I wasn't that excited? (there was 2 paintings in the entire place that I liked (as opposed to admiring the skill required), but downstairs, there was a exhibition of modern art, where I liked quite a few of the pieces... Always knew I was a Philistine ))). Thing was, seeing Florence is such a tourist destination, the lines to get in were absolutely painful. Took about an hour and a half to get into one, and about two hours for the other. didn't matter - I got a fair way through my book while waiting. (Side note - Stephen King has serious issues. I was reading 'The Tommyknockers', and its seriously twisted.)
Headed back to the hostel one afternoon (we stayed there about 4 days), and we were both ready to get an early night. Walked into the kitchen, and there was 5 of the people we met in Roma. So much for the early night... Was lots of fun though - especially when the waitress brought out the 3.5 litre 'rocket ships' filled with Heinekin... One of the scary things was that the place was filled with Aussies on a Contiki tour, so it was pretty scarring.
Other than that, found the Ponte Vechio (a cool bridge covered with jewellers shops), and Piazza Michaelangelo (a cool lookout where you can see a panaromic view of the whole city). I wandered up to see a fortress in the north of the city, which was definitely not worth it. Though, I did find a park (which had no tourists in it! Only locals!), and sat and read for a while. Very relaxing - just what I needed.
And I think i'll leave it there, and save Pisa and Cinque Terre for the next time.