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Firenze is Always a Good Idea; Florence Day 1

Morning came fast and I felt I should be way more excited that we were about to go explore a new city. But I just did not want to leave Venice. We slowly got up, got ready, packed our bags and checked out of the hotel. As we made our way to the train station, I realized the walk there wasn't as bad as we anticipated. It definitely helped that we scoped it out the night before. And hubby even kept his promise. He lugged his suitcase and mine, up the few stairs we encountered.

photo by me
Train Station in Venice

When we got there, I stayed outside, just standing there looking at the canal and beautiful building across the street, while hubby went in to check the board and see if our train updated which platform we had to go to. We were still early so we stayed outside for a while more. It was fun watching all the different sorts of people getting on and off the train, coming in and out. Laughing, stopping to take photos, drinking their coffees, on their phones . I wondered what each persons story was. Before I could get lost in anymore thought, hubby was saying we needed to go inside.

As our train and platform number updated, I took one last look of Venice, and headed to the train with hubby. We sat in our comfy seats next to an older couple who was on the same exact Costco trip as us. I dozed on and off for most of the trip but enjoyed trying to stay awake as well. As we passed through other little cities and towns, it almost made me feel as though I was getting to see even more of Italy.

As our train was arriving at our new destination, we heard the couple sitting next to us say the hotel they were staying at. It happened to be the same one as us. So we thought we would follow them, not closely to seem creepy, but close enough to figure out where we were going. Unfortunately, they headed to the taxi's. We had planned on walking. So we had to turn around and go back the other way. As hubby tried to figure out where we were going from a screen shot he took on his phone, I was getting annoyed. I already didn't like Florence. There were too many people and the fact I almost got ran over by a Vespa numerous times was really ticking me off. And hubbies long legs were on a mission. He was way ahead of me. And the more I had to keep stopping because my suitcase wheel was getting stuck in the gravel, the more pissed I became.

We finally made it to our hotel. I was out of breath. Sweaty, hungry and ready to relax. But our hotel room wasn't ready yet. So we left our luggage behind and decided to go explore a little bit and find something to eat for lunch. We walked by some beautiful bridges and down more side streets like the ones I had liked in Venice. I was still trying to warm up to Florence though. In the distance, we heard loud cheering and decided to go scope it out. A crowed of people dressed so beautifully were standing outside of a church, taking pictures. We are pretty sure it was a wedding. But whatever it was, it was beautiful and everyone was smiling. I couldn't help but get out of my funk I was in, and smile too.

photo by me
Caffe Del 900 Where We Ate Lunch

As we kept walking we found another little side street that had a cute café called Caffe Del 900. We decided to sit down there and eat some lunch. Eating outside at the cafés, had become our favorite thing to do. People watching and just enjoying the scenery; couldn't get any better than that. We were so hungry that when we got our food, I ate it in what felt like 2 bites. By the time we were done eating, it was time to walk back to our hotel and see if our room was ready. Sure enough, it was. And I was so excited to see it. I loved our room in Florence, so I assumed I would here too. When we walked in, there was a mini cake dish that held biscotti's and two little shots of, well we weren't too sure. But we thought maybe a wine of some sort. This room had a balcony and I couldn't wait to get outside and see the view. Now having a full tummy and seeing this view, I started to warm up to Florence a bit more.

We remembered we had booked a time slot to explore one of the museums, LE Gallerie Degli Uffizi. So we cleaned ourselves up quick and headed out. Earlier in the day, we had already scoped out where the museum was, so we knew exactly where to go. We walked by the same bridges and buildings from earlier, now all really starting to grow on me. I was still trying to get used to the hustle and bustle and Vespas/Taxis/Cars. When we were in Venice, we didn't see any of that, since it is surrounded by water, there is no transportation besides boats! And here in Florence, about every 10 minutes, police and ambulance sirens would go off! That sound became implanted in my head by the end of our stay! And if I am being honest, I miss that sound now! (Hear the sound here).

When we got to the museum, the line had already started. But we had purchased skip the line tickets, which made the line move a bit faster. We had to go through security (just like an airport) and push through a crowd of people, and walk a few flights of stairs; but we eventually made it to the beginning of the exhibits! For those of you not familiar, Uffizi is the major painting museum in Florence. I am sure most of you know Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor. So there was only one piece of painted art work by him here. Called, The Doni Tondo 1503. There were even many amazing pieces by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raffaello Sanzio and many more. We got to see the beautiful painting of Medusa by Caravaggio as well. Room after room was filled with statues, paintings and the most astonishing ceilings you could ever imagine. We hadn't realized just how big the museum was. By the time we reached exhibit room 100, I was sort of ready for some fresh air. But I was also in such awe. We could have stayed in that museum for hours.

We decided to head outside and get that air. I hadn't seen it at first but when hubby told me to look up, I had another 'wow how beautiful' moment. Right there in front of us, was the The Arnolfo Tower. Or also known as Palazzo Vecchio. It stands 94 meters. It had previously belonged to the ancient palace of the Foraboschi. And is now one of the most visited monuments. You can see all of Florence from the top! We enjoyed the view for a bit longer, and then decided to go explore some more.

my pic
Arnolfo Tower

As we walked we came to the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio. And sitting in front of it was the Statue of David (a replica). The real statue of David is housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia. While seeing the real deal would have been cool, we thought the replica was just as awesome. We really had to pick and choose what we wanted to spend time in line waiting to see. And waiting in the line for the statue wasn't really at the top of our list. Especially because for us personally, the replica was truly enough. On the other side of David, there was another statue, Bartolomeo Bandinelli’s Hercules and Cacus. It amazed me how much detail was put into all of this architecture.

And if you kept turning around, you would see many more breathtaking art. In fact, we were standing right in the middle of the Piazza della Signoria. A beautiful square. There is an outdoor room, where many sculptures are on display for all to see. Each piece has its own story and meaning. The best part; it’s absolutely free. We sat there for a while just taking it all in, because there certainly was alot to see. This definitely became my favorite spot in Florence.

After a while, we became hungry. It seemed like we were always hungry! I guess that's what happens when you walk 1million miles a day! So we decided to go search for a place to eat for dinner. As we were walking, I saw a big crowd of people standing by one of the bridges, looking at something. As we made our way over, I realized it was the sunset they were all admiring. No picture could capture what we were looking at. The sky looked like a painting. It was mixture of red, orange, purple and pink. And as the reflection of the sunset hit the water below, I felt like I was in a dream. The beauty we had seen in Venice, was going to be hard to beat. But Florence was definitely doing it's best to win me over.

photo by me
Florence Sunset

We kept walking and found a little place to stop and eat. The menu was all in Italian and our waitress didn't speak English, so it was a little difficult. It made me realize how much I truly want to learn Italian. I started to, but found what I was using wasn't helpful, so I never finished! Even with the language barrier, dinner was delicious and so was the wine! One thing that was hard to get used to in Italy for us, were the bathrooms! Some didn't have toilet paper, some didn't have toilet seats, the flusher was usually on the wall and most bathrooms were tiny. Of course for me, tiny didn't bother me. But for hubby, he struggled! In fact, he even rolled his ankle coming down the tiny staircase from the bathroom.

I saw him limping back to the table and I thought. "Oh boy." When he told me what happened, I wasn't sure how he was going to manage the rest of the trip. Especially since after dinner, we hobbled back to our hotel. And when we got there, his ankle was swollen like a balloon! Luckily we brought a first aid kit- because usually I am prone to accidents! He took some medicine and iced it for a bit. And we just hoped and prayed by the next morning, it would feel ok. When he fell asleep, I went out to the balcony to get one last view of the city. It sure was an exhausting day, but I was feeling so thankful. Here I was, in Italy with hubby. I couldn't ask for anything more. As I crawled into bed, I closed my eyes with a smile on my face, wondering what we would find tomorrow.

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