Pisa, Florence, Italy
14-24 June 2012
After the Great English Countryside Wedding Experience, Tomomi and I hopped onto a plane for a few days in the fierce Italian sun.
We were lucky to have gotten a British Airways package trip which bundled flight and hotel for a decent price. To be honest, we were at a loss where to go (Amsterdam? Paris? Stockholm?)one week before we were due to fly (yet again evidence of our excellent planning prowess), and prices were already sky-high (so much for lastminute.com). So in the end, we pretty much had to go for a package which could fit into our time schedules and budgets, which turned out to be Pisa and Florence, and not a bad trip at all.
I'd been to Florence about 10 years ago, and really liked it, so was happy to go again.
|We went around talking (shouting) to each other using the first hand gesture indiscriminately. The whole of Florence must have thought we were so rude wtf|
Our flight landed into Pisa Airport from which we could catch a train into Florence, but it was still early afternoon when we landed so we decided to do a whirlwind tour of Pisa. Which really only comprises one thing--- that tower which names escapes me at this moment but you'd probably figure it out when you see the picture below.
|Was not tilting as much as we thought it would!|
|Tuttomondo by Keith Haring|
|Our first taste of Italy. The most beautiful mussel and bacon pasta from a sleepy trattoria crowded with locals and houseflies.|
We then grabbed the train into Florence which was crazy hot, crowded and rather unpleasant so we were glad to get off and look for out hotel, which was right next to the train station. I wonder why train stations are always in such seedy neighbourhoods....
|Good Morning Florence! View from our hotel the Best Western near the Train Station|
|Duomo. Doesn't this picture make it look like a very intricate chocolate cake?!|
|Osteria L'Antico Noe. Reccommended by the Japanese dude.|
|I still can't get over the freshly baked olive bread. Ate so much of this despite knowing about....|
|the huge florentine steak that was coming right up. So delicious.|
|Ponte Vecchio at night. I think Italy is more romantic than France any day. By the riverbank, a little tavern/osteria is set up for people to enjoy wine and dinner. Love it!|
|One of the many bridges of Florence by dusk. Aren't iphone apps the best?|
So the whole point fo me going to Florence was to visit the Uffizi Gallery, but I neglected to book tickets online, thinking that I would be able to buy them at the door. WRONG. Mistake number 2: Waking up only at 9am, then having a leisurely breakfast (we were really ogling the gorgeous gay couple having breakfast at the next table) followed by a lazy walk round the various piazzas meant I only reached the museum at 2pm after lunch. The queue simply did not move an inch in the one hour I waited. I decided to then give up and just wander around the other side of the river, fuming at myself.
Tomomi had decided against visiting any museums anyway, so had cleverly wandered off to do her Japanese-tourist-shopping thing.
Fortunately, the charming backstreets of the non-touristy part of the city soon had me back in good humour. I think this is also the side of the river I stayed at way back in 2000 (I remember it being a hostel converted from a old nunnery).
Along one of the streets, an old Italian gentleman in a wheelchair who was being pushed along by his friends suddenly shouted very loudly in the quiet street, making me jump. My first unkind thought was that he had Tourette's but he was really going "Ciao Bella!" at me (ok fine, it was more of my very attention-seeking red floral dress since I was so far away from him). How about that for perpetuating the stereotype of the romantic Italian man!