“Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.” -Eudora Welty
I woke up Thursday morning in Venice with plans to get some breakfast on the way to catch the train to Florence from a station that was five minutes from our hostel. Right when my friend Hannah and I walked onto the street, another girl in my group called to tell us our train to Florence actually departed from a different station and we would have to take a train from the closest station to get there. While Hannah gathered up our other friends who were still getting ready, I ran down the street to find breakfast. I’ve only actually skipped breakfast once in my life when I was around 7-years-old and decided at that moment that I never would do so again. Nobody would make me toast without butter or cheese, so I bought a banana and hoped I would find something more substantial at the train station.
I met up with my friends on the street and we ran to the station to take the train to the correct one. We had a few minutes before the next train left, so I went into the café and bought a prosciutto sandwich. Not exactly what I crave at 9 a.m., but at least it had protein and carbs to keep my satisfied for the three hour train ride to Florence.
We bought our tickets, validated them, and power walked to the platform. All the while I thought Hannah and Eric were right behind us. When we arrived at the platform, I realized this wasn’t so. I called Hannah because we had only a few minutes before the train left and she said they had gotten left behind, but were on the way. Jess, Kayla, and I boarded the train and stood at the door continuously pressing the button to keep it open, so they could jump right in. The moment they got to the platform, the door closed and stopped responding to the button. The train proceeded to pull away as we watched each other’s sad faces through the window. I swear my life is a movie.
Thankfully, Hannah and Eric were able to catch another train a few minutes later and we all made it to the second station on time. The ride to Florence consisted of some great napping to relax from the hectic morning. Three hours later (if you were with me in Italy you would know I am saying this with a certain accent), we arrived in Firenze. We went to the hostel and dropped off our belongings because we couldn’t check in for a half an hour.
We were as hungry as a horse (get it?), so we decided to eat lunch while we waited to check in. My friends wanted pizza and I wanted a salad, so I grabbed one from a restaurant on the other side of the plaza. Lettuce, kiwi, pineapple, shrimp, and more for 5 euros. It had great potential, but once I sat down with my friends and opened it up, I realized the lettuce was brown. I decided to suck it up and eat around it…until I saw a little tiny bug on one of the pieces of shrimp. I immediately marched back to the restaurant and had to convince the waitress that “No, it is not a part of the shrimp. It has legs.” She handed me back my 5 euros, which I spent on an insect-free salad from a different restaurant.
We started off our sightseeing for the day with the Duomo.
There is historical significance behind this door that I am unsure of.
Beautiful cupola on the inside of the Duomo.
Kayla, Eric, and I decided to break off from the group to do our own extreme sightseeing. No better way to get some energy for the busy afternoon that lay ahead than a cup of dark chocolate gelato.
Before I get any further, I would like to give a quick shout out to my cousin Kristen down under. Thank you so much for the Florence recommendations! I never would have gone to the amazing church I am about to discuss if it hadn’t been for you :] If only I had had more time in Florence to do every single thing you had told me about. Miss you!
The Santa Croce Church, where some fairly famous people are buried…
The Santa Croce Church had more to offer than the Duomo such as this quaint courtyard and of course the opportunity to “hang out ” with some of the corpses of some of the best Italian artists/physicists of all time.
We walked along the picture perfect river to Ponte Vecchio.
(From left to right) Myself, Eric, and Kayla in front of the famous bridge.
So. Many. Vespas.
More love locks. These are officially allll over Europe!
The Ponte Vecchio is the coolest looking bridge I think I’ve ever seen
and has the most spectacular view.
We crossed the bridge to go to the gardens at Palazzo Pitti, but they had closed at 3:30 despite that the hotel receptionist had told us everything in Florence closed at 6:30. We took a few pictures in front of the palace to try to make up for it.
With a few hours suddenly open in our schedule, we weren’t sure what to do with ourselves. We had passed the Uffizi Museum on the way to the bridge and we were still close by, so we decided to give it a shot.
A tower next to the museum.
Entrance to the Uffizi.
Hallway because we couldn’t take photos of the paintings. I probably wasn’t even supposed to take a photo of this…oops. It was a nice museum, but having already been to so many European art museums in the past few months, I wasn’t as enthralled as I should have been. You can only see so many paintings of religious scenes or royalty within a couple of months before your eyes glaze over.
We then walked across town to meet up with the rest of our friends in the leather market. I was so tired and my feet hurt so badly that I refrained from buying anything. If you know me, you know that’s a pretty big deal. As a group, we went to the Accademia to see the David because our friends studying abroad in Florence told us it’s open for free after 7 p.m. on Thursdays…or so they thought. We showed up and it was clearly closed. The door is right below the flags in the above photo.
It was slightly disappointing to not be able to see the David, but my stomach had already been growling for an hour anyway. We went to a restaurant called “Gusto Leo” that had been a recommendation from a girl that had thought the Accademia would be open.
However, this time she was spot on. We walked in and were greeted with half-filled flutes of champagne. The best had yet to come.
Potato pasta pillows with pollo in pesto perfection
My favorite meal of the trip. The freshness of the basil and the homemade gnocchi made a world of a difference.
We rested for an hour in the hostel before meeting up with some friends at the Duomo to go to their favorite gelato place. It was then time for a shower and bed because we had to wake up early to roam (hint, hint) to yet another city in the A.M.