We got to the station in Venice with plenty of time and got on the right train heading to Florence. We did not, however, choose the right seats. We needed to switch abut halfway through our ride, oh well. We got to Florence around 3:30, but after waiting to talk to the ticket office we did not get out of the train station until around 4:45 or so. The ticket office basically said that we would need to either spend the night somewhere to get to Montpellier or start our journey at 12:40am and not get to Montpellier until 7pm. We opted to go to Nice instead, only 2 transfers and 9 hours of traveling. We then had a hell of a time trying to find the bus station, after a frustrating 45mins we finally found it and got on our bus. Our hostel was about an hour outside of the city of Florence and so as soon as we left the city, I was greeted with the breathtaking view of the rolling Tuscan hills.
When we finally reached our stop (it was never announced, K knew from google maps), we had a difficult time finding the hostel as well. We eventually found it. Due to our long travel day and the frustrations with finding places, we decided to treat ourselves to a restaurant meal. Before we left though, we got settled into our separate rooms (yep you read that right, for the first night we had to sleep in all female and male because they were sold out otherwise). I met my fellow roommates and they were very nice and we had some good girl time. Kelsey and Maggie backpacking through Greece and Italy for a month.
When I came back down K and I went out. There was only one place that we could see as open and so we chose that.
We had a really good meal.
Later we walked a little and came upon gelato place (that we believe has had the best gelato in all that we have tried in Italy).
We then walked around the neighborhood for a bit. We saw some stray cats, and just observed the residential streets of the place we were staying. When we did head back to the hostel we turned down a street that was a deadens with a bluff that looked out over the valley.
It was breathtaking. Unfortunately, there was a stray dog near by and I think we were disturbing it's way back home so we left shortly after. We returned to the hostel and just hung out and watched the cup.
We tried to get up early, but due to the fact that K and I were in separate rooms it was difficult for K to get up without his Taylor alarm clock. ;) Anyways, we had breakfast at the hostel and then walked down to the bus stop to wait for the bus into Florence. We ended up sitting with Kelsey and Maggie on our way in and stayed with them to find Piazza Della Signoria in the city where we could check our reservations for seeing the David the next day. On our way there we passed through Piazza del Duomo. We took some pictures and marveled at the sights.After we got to Piazza Della Signoria we left them and continued on our way. We went in search of a grocery store, as some searching we found one and stocked up. We then turned our heads to the river and began to head in that direction. We wanted to find a park to sit and have our lunch, but the one we found you had to pay for and I did not want to do that. We walked along the river until we found a free park.
After eating and resting we began walking to Piazzale Michelangeo. This place apparently has one of the best views of the city and so we hiked to the top, was a tad steep but we did it. We stayed at the top for a time, just taking in the breathtaking view.
We took pictures and then began our descent. We then went on a quest for gelato that we had heard was good from a fellow hostel ate. On our way we walked through the bridge of gold, which was really an astounding site. Did not realize so many different jewelry stores could be located on one little bridge. We found it, but it was ok. We did have a fun time sitting on the bridge and people watching as we ate our gelato. We then decided we were tired and that we would head back to the hostel. When we got back we went to the grocery store and stocked up for dinner and future breakfasts. We then hung out with other backpackers, got invited to a pasta dinner one of the backpackers had made and just talked.
It was really fun. We decided to go into the city early the next day with Kelsey and Maggie. We all figured we should go to bed kind of early.
We got up early and made it on the bus, barely but we did it. We walked with Maggie and Kelsey for a bit, but then parted planning on seeing each other at 4pm to see the David. K and I walked to Piazza Della Signoria and had a better look around as we had not the day before. We went to a free outdoor museum. After looking at the sculptures we found a place to sit and planned out the rest of our day. First, we went in search of daily chalk creations and without realizing it we had found them.
We stayed there for a while and watched the artist at his work. The colors that he used were unbelievable and I would have never have believed could make the end result.
We then headed in the direction of where an outdoor market was supposed to be and ended up stumbling upon Fontana del Porcellino. In this center it is lucky to touch the pigs nose because it brings you luck and so of course we did. We continued on our way eventually finding the outdoor market. We walked through it for a bit and then realized that there was a building in the center. We headed inside to see and noticed that it was here that people were selling fresh food.
Upstairs was where people prepared fresh food in front of you. It was around lunchtime so you can imagine that we decided to stay here and get some food. K chose pizza and I pasta.
Everything was absolutely to die for. We were going to do gelato for dessert, but it didn't look good.
We then decided to look for where the David was located, we found it and got our tickets. We had a little to it, but we found a park and wrote postcards. When we were finished it was time to go. We got there found Kelsey and Maggie and headed in. The David was completely magnificent.
So much better in real life. The rest of the museum was insightful as well. Afterwards we walked to the bus station we bought our tickets and waited. Apparently, the platform number that we were given was not correct and so we ended up in Poggibonsi instead of our stop. The bus driver told us that the next bus to where we were going would be an hour. Kelsey and I walked around looking for a grocery store but to no avail. Close to the time when the bus was due to arrive we stood up near where previous buses had been picking other people up. All of a sudden a older man came riding up on his moped. He started speaking to us in Italian, but of course none of us understood him. He asks where we are from and then proceeds to focus on K's LA. Talking about movies and making imitations. Then he asked where we were heading and as a bus is driving away yells after the bus driver where he is going, where we needed to go. Luckily, we got on the bus! Everything happens for a reason right?
Due to the fact that we got delivered to the wrong place, we got back to the hostel later then anticipated and the store had closed so we couldn't buy dinner. We decided to go out to eat and the hostel manager gave us a suggestion. It was a bit of a walk, but it was so worth it. The food was probably the best I had ever had. K had pork chops that were so tender and I had baked veal in mozzarella. We celebrated with ordering tiramisu (which was perfection). We got back to the hostel, hung out with some people for a bit and then went to bed.
Well, the next two days we explored the Tuscany area. That will be in a different post. Until next time.