We arrived at the Mediterraneo Hotel in Florence at 8pm…late as usual.
Dinner was extremely enjoyable. Heather and I sat with Tom, Philip, and newlyweds Trevor and XXXX….I can’t remember her name!! auugh. They were absolutely adorable. We shared a couple of bottles of wine-one red and one white. The food was fabulous-penne with bolognese sauce, potatoes, and beef..and I think green beans?? The wine flowed and toasts were made, conversation was constant and pleasant, and new friends were made.
Apparently, in Europe it isn’t customary to use credit cards for small purchases. We used one to pay for one bottle of wine..and the head waiter looked as if we’d asked him to serve another full meal after midnight. It took 25 minutes to get the bill resolved. Heather and I were just about the last people to leave the restaurant and the waiters were clearing the tables around us. I can understand just enough Italian at this point to hear them saying they want us to leave so they can get our table cleared…but they wouldn’t bring us a bill. Anyway…after a while we head up to the rooms exhausted, but happy and full of wine 🙂
Day two in Florence is jam packed and SO SO SO wonderful. I think it was the best time of the entire trip.
The morning began with a walk to the Galleria dell’ Accedemia to see Michelangelo’s David. I wasn’t expecting to be so amazed at this statue, but I was absolutely mesmerized by it. It was BEAUTIFUL. The detail of the statue, done without a model is just awesome. The musculature, the expression on his face, and the size is really something to behold. I could have sat all day just looking at him.
A walking tour of Florence followed which included stops at the Duomo and the Santa Croce. It is in S. Croce that Galileo, Michelangelo, and Dante, among other historical notables are buried. Also here, is the statue that was used as a model for the Statue of Liberty (there are 3 small versions of the SofL in Europe, one being in S. Croce and one in Paris in the middle of the Seine River).
Our Florence guide, whose name I just cannot remember, was an absolute adorable, quirky gentleman. He had a fantastic, dry sense of humor and was so knowledgeable about Firenze history.
We ended our walking tour with a tour of a Florence leather factory called Misuri. The person who gave us the tour was American and very nice. Some people in our group were used as models in a mini fashion show, including my good friend Michelle. I bought a little leather, heart-shaped coin purse.
Late in the afternoon we took an excursion to Siena. As we were getting off the bus, a pigeon pooped all over an older woman in our group. I feel awful at how hilarious I found it at the time but it was pretty funny. I later heard that this is considered good luck in Italy (the pooping-on-someone, not the finding-it-funny part). We toured another cathedral and made our way to the center of Sienna- the beautiful Piazza del Campo. Here I had my first taste of gelato: chocolate and rum in a sugar cone. I could have died and been the happiest girl ever….until I spilled half the cone down the front of me. I looked like the pigeon-poop woman…and I didn’t find it hilarious anymore.
Running late as usual we had to make our way back to the bus and I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture of the stunning view of the countryside…hopefully Heather got a good pic. In any case, we were on our way back to Florence, and what was about to be the second best night of the European Vacation.
I was saddened by the end of the tour…and walking away from the Palace, I felt as if I had been a part of a pivotal turning point in French history. To walk the same cobbled paths that led the French to storm the Palace at the beginning of the French Revolution is amazing. I can’t even come up with new words to describe the feeling.
Chateau de Versailles
The rest of the afternoon/early evening was ours to enjoy. Michelle, Rosemary, Heather and I hailed a taxi and went back to the hotel to hang out until it was time to leave for the train to Nice. We passed time by shopping along the street of the hotel. It stayed extremely hot all day long and I was extremely uncomfortable and ready to leave hot Paris behind and move on to Nice, Monaco, and the rest of the French Riviera.