31 May 2007

Florence -- our wild night out with the kids

So after three nights in Venice, we boarded a train and it was off to Florence. As luck should have it, it was raining in Florence when we arrived, too. Dragging your suitcase from the train station to the hotel in the rain is not much fun. It was worse in Rome but I'll get to that in a bit. Kelly and I loved Florence. We loved the relaxed atmosphere and the beauty of the city. We had a really good meal one night with a new friend and we enjoyed some of the best gelato in the world. Upon arrival and check-in we went straight to the Uffizi.
We stood in line for the better part of 2 hours to get in. While waiting in line we met a young guy from North Carolina who was living in Edinburgh. He was going to graduate from school a semester early so he took 6 months to work in Scotland and tour Europe. He was traveling alone and was staying in a local hostel. Anyway so we chat with him while waiting and then walk through the museum with him. When we left we all grabbed a beer together and decided to have dinner together. Kelly and I found a great place and we really enjoyed the veal and the wine. After dinner, we went back to the hostel with our new friend as he noted several people were going out and we wanted to tag along. The next thing we knew we were drinking wine that cost €3 per bottle from little tea glasses and were hanging out with college kids. We stayed out till 2:00 am before finally heading back to our hotel.
Needless to say, we felt miserable the next day. Thankfully, we had reservations at 9:45 at the Accademia to see the David or we would not have gotten up early the next morning. We went and we were completely moved by it. I don't think a sculpture has ever impressed me that much. I think Kelly can agree with me. After the museum we went through the Duomo and we walked across the river and up a huge hill that overlooks all of Florence. We took some amazing pictures, ate wonderful gelato and wandered through strange gardens on the way back down.
We ate cheap calzones for lunch before heading back to the hotel for a nap. For dinner that night, we met my parents and a couple touring with them. The dinner was nice but it was over priced and not as good as the place the night before. It became somewhat of a running joke. My parents, who were staying in 5 star hotels and going to these expensive places to eat did not have more than 2 good dinners over 10 nights in Europe. Kelly and I, who are on the budget trip, used our tour book and had great dinners almost every night but a few. We learned the lesson that our tour book is almost always right. So after 2 nights in Florence, it was on to Rome.

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