So after the debacle of actually getting to Florence and finding our hostel, we had a couple of hours to fill before we were able to check in. We deposited our bags, freshened up (as best we could in a cramped hostel bathroom after spending the past 25 hours travelling) and got on our way. We spent our time wandering around the city, aiming to get to the famous Ponte Vecchio. I have been to Florence in the past and didn’t think too much of it. But this time, for some reason, the city seemed to be more beautiful, more interesting. Despite the mass of tourists crawling around the streets, the city still manages so stay alive with Italian magic and authenticity. Upon arriving at the Ponte Vecchio and seeing it logged down with tourists, we decided against walking along it, instead choosing to head over to the statue of David in order to see him in all his naked, very naked, glory.
By this point, we were literally walking with closed eyes so we made our way back to the hostel in time to check in. As soon as we got into our room, we lay down on our beds and finally submitted ourselves to a couple hours catch up sleep. Ahhh, bliss.
I awoke feeling disorientated and slightly confused but infinitely better. Once we were feeling more alive and fresh, we headed back out to experience Firenze by night. We ate some dinner, ambled slowly around the city, finally making our way down the slightly less frazzled Ponte Vecchio and finished the night off with a quick glass of vino, in one of the (what we discovered later) the more expensive platzas. Oops. We also discovered that in Italy, they give you nibbles such as crisps and bread and then expect you to pay for it even though you didn’t order it. We just thought they were giving us free food. We were loving it. And then we realised. We did wonder why our food bills were more expensive…
The next day we headed to Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower). We walked around the beautiful cathedral marveling at its height, its design, its general vastness in such an otherwise small city. The exterior is beautiful; covered in intricate designs and elaborate panels, it’s hard not to lose yourselves in its beauty. What I’ve taken from Italy so far, is that everything is so elaborate, so glorious, so momentous. Gorgeous buildings tucked in amongst small, tourist clogged streets, fascinating designs smothering their walls, making even viewing them from the outside an amazing experience even if you do miss out on exploring the inside (In all fairness, I would have loved to explore the inside of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore but after seeing the queue and feeling the heat on our backs, we decided to continue exploring the streets of Florence, basking in the afternoon sunshine and preferably stuffing our faces with gelato. We’re in Italy! If you can’t stuff your face with gelato in Italy, where can you hey?!).
We decided to head back to Palazzo Vecchio and sat on some steps with said gelato, people watching and shading ourselves from the Italian sunshine. A mime, Grey the Mime , began a performance nearby where we were sat and he was surprisingly good. Not much of a clown/mime fan me, find them a bit odd, but this guy was actually quite funny. That’s about as praising as I can get towards a clown to be honest. I did love however, how whatever language, whatever nationality his audience were, he managed to make everyone laugh without even speaking, just with his actions. What a clever clown. Slash mime.
After a full day of wandering around Florence, we made a move back to the hostel. Hostel Tasso was one of my favourite hostels that we stayed in over the duration of our three weeks in Europe. It wasn’t the best, there are probably a hundred better hostels but the atmosphere and the laid back nature of this hostel made it relaxing and open to be in (no, it didn’t have anything to do with the really attractive receptionist. At all. Not even a little. Well, okay. I admit, he was nice to look at).
After three weeks of traisping around Europe spending all our hard earned cash on meals out, we decided to stay in and cook in the fully equipped kitchen. The kitchen was amazing, seriously. All clean and sparkly and white washed surfaces, and best of all a disco ball which bounced off the light and danced around the room. Being a rubbish cook but fantastic wine drinker, I sat on the table drinking my glass of vino and relaxed as my friend went about the business of cooking a gorgeous Paleo infused dish which was so delicious I was nearly tempted to start the Paleo diet myself. And then I remembered that I liked cake.
We sat outside, in the hostel courtyard, with another glass of vino, munching on our food and generally loving life. Florence is just so….ahhh….I don’t even know. It’s the kind of place you just don’t want to leave.
We enjoyed an eventful night of drinking lots more vino, meeting some Americans (plus some rather boring Germans. It was okay, they left after a while and party moral was restored) and making our way out (eventually) to one of the platzas for (another) glass of vino. The night did end however, whilst we were chilling back at the hostel, with afore mentioned attractive receptionist managing to drop my friends phone, cracking the screen and nearly making her cry. It was okay, in return, he gave her two bottles of wine. Because you know, two bottles of wine apparently makes up for a smashed up iPhone screen. Ah well, all’s well that ends well. Well, not for the phone. But hey! Free wine!
We awoke the next morning feeling sad and dejected that we were leaving Florence but soon perked up when we realised that in a few short hours we would be in Rome. Rome!