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Florence Sightseeing Tour by Foot – Day 67
Tuesday 6th October 2009 – Florence
It was time to see the city of Florence, and to find out what beauty it holds for me. I have been here before, but remember very little about it. I wondered what would be waiting for me today.
I awoke with a bit of an awkward belly this morning, I’m blaming the poor microwave meal from the night before. I won’t be making that mistake again. Breakfast was actually really nice this morning. Its all you can eat, within reason, so I took advantage and had a lot. It didn’t go down too well with my upset belly but I was determined to go out on a full stomach today.
This Italian guy I’m sharing a room with, although I’m now sure he’s Spanish, brushed his teeth 3 times this morning, and that’s only when I was around, he may have added to that number after I left. It was very strange I thought.
I went into the city today to do the usual sightseeing, so I got the 17B bus, which passed the train station, so I could get off there and begin the walking tour. So I started and finished at the station today.
I headed first south to Santa Maria Novella, then to Ognissanti. I walked over the water and observed Santo Spirito before making my way to Piazza de Pitti and over the famous bridge, Ponte Vecchio. North east was the direction I took next, and to Palazzo Vecchio, Santa Croce, then all the way north past numerous famous and historical buildings before reaching Piazza della Liberta. West next to Fortezza da Basso, then south to all the bits I missed along the way. There was much to see, and far too much to write about individually. I had a pizza along the route, which actually wasn’t too bad.
At the end of the walking tour, I found myself in the market place around Santa Maria del Fiore. It was good fun, very lively, lots of hustle and bustle. It took an age to walk anywhere though for the armies of tourists taking up all available floor space. Past many stores, the shopkeepers say to you as you pass “Special Price”, and its also written on a lot of price tickets. Everything is ‘special price’. I remember this from the college trip I took here, and how it became a joke between us. It was a good day, but by now I was ready to call time, and come back to the hostel.
I stood on the bus at the very front again, this time with a ticket, and watched as we navigated through the people who were spilling off the pavement and onto the road in front of us. I giggled when the driver sounded his horn at them and they quickly hopped back up. It felt like I was gliding along the road standing up, while looking through the big windscreen of the bus. I wondered how great it would be if you could glide like this, wind in your hair and on your face, looking at all the other unfortunate people who don’t share your gift, walking along the pavements.
I also remembered a moment I had today, when I walked near a homeless woman bent double on the floor, shaking, and watched as she got up, sat up straight, moving very freely. I watched as she counted her money and put some in her pocket, leaving a little in the cup she had. She adjusted herself and bent back down and began to shake again. It made me think perhaps I wasn’t so harsh to suggest a lot of it is an act. I’m sure of it now.
I got off at the correct bus stop today and walked the country road to the hostel eating an apple, sharing it with the flies constantly circling my head. Its these flies that like to fly straight into your eyes again, oh how I love these flies. The mosquitoes were diving in as well so I hastened my step a little. I came in to the hostel, sat on my bed and squished a mosquito that I heard about my ears. At least it was one less to harass me as I sleep.
In a couple of hours I was feeling peckish again. I still hadn’t found that ideal pizza, the one that I was dreaming of having when I got to Italy. There was a pizza place at the end of the country road that lead to the hostel. Surely I wasn’t going to have another pizza, 2 in one day, but I couldn’t resist the urge. It was getting late and all the shops would close soon, so I had to eat something, and the hostel is out of town a bit, so I thought, why not? This would be my last chance anyway.
I went in and got a table. It was quite nice inside and I had a good feeling about it. I ordered my pizza and a beer and devoured it extremely quickly. I didn’t know if I would be able to manage it all having already had a pizza today, and it was huge, this one. But I did, and it was very nice, although not great. It was a little crispy, and burned in places. I guess I will never have a pizza as good as the one I had on the college trip with my mates all those years back, never mind.
I was full and came back to the hostel content. Nobody else was in the room so I just got ready for bed. I knew I had a busy day tomorrow with a lot of travelling. It would be good to get some sleep.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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