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Friday Fun Meets Postcards From Italy: A Blog Mash-up

Postcards from Italy: Firenze, Part 1

Dear friends,

My, it's been awhile since I wrote, hasn't it?  Let's get caught up!  We'll just catch the 10:24 train to Florence. . . 

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The trains in Italy are pretty easy to navigate.  But.  They can be a little intimidating!  The stations are full of people offering to "help" you as you figure out the ticket kiosks -- but they are not official; they are would-be scammers on the make.  Plus . . . there's the language barrier.   And the cultural barrier.  Because things are very flexible in Italy.  (Do you need to validate your ticket?  Maybe.  But it's probably Not a Problem if you don't.)  

Anyway.  After our first rather-stressful-but-somewhat-hilarious  (Rome to Tuscany) train trip, we decided to have Pino help us with the trip from our little Tuscan train station to Florence.  (But still there was confusion.  But mostly between the station attendant and Pino.  And we managed!)

Pino and our travel books had warned us about the pickpockets (gypsies, tramps, and thieves. . . ) in Florence near the train station, so we were on High Alert.  When we emerged from the station, we were supposed to look for a taxi to take us to our hotel.  But it was so crowded with people, and there was a long line for taxis, and . . . really . . . it didn't look that far on the map.  So we decided to walk to our hotel.*

And it wasn't that far.  

But.

It was hot.  (Really hot.)

It was crowded. (Like beyond Disney World crowded).

The streets were cobblestone.  (And we were pulling our bags.)

And we got a little bit lost.  (And possibly sidetracked by sights and art and leather vendors.)

So when we stumbled onto our hotel (just outside the doors of the Uffizi), it was with great relief!  Also, great joy.  Because THIS was the view from our hotel window!

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Yes, the Ponte Vecchio bridge -- and it was right there, outside our hotel!

Overwhelmed by the crowds (Really.  Overwhelmed!), we did what we often do for an escape -- we headed for a garden!  This time, to the Boboli Gardens on the grounds of the Pitti Palace.

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Now, these were not the most well-maintained gardens I've ever visited, but they were calm, peaceful, quiet -- and free of crowds!

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We got some much-needed exercise, spent time with some lovely landscape, and regained our stamina.  

(The panorama view from the top of the hill was pretty awesome, too!)

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We were much more relaxed after our time in the gardens, and we enjoyed wandering the streets of Florence, 

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taking in the art. . .

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(Not the real David.  But just like the real David.   This replica was placed here, at the entrance of the Palazzo Vecchio, in 1910 to protect the original David, now residing in the Accademia.)

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(Cellini's Perseus, my favorite sculpture in the Loggia dei Lanzi, an outdoor gallery in the corner of the Piazza della Signoria at the entrance to the Uffizi Gallery.)

people-watching (especially with a little glass of wine) . . .

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sampling gelato. . .

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doing a little shopping. . .

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and enjoying what might have been our favoite meal of the trip (especially given the complications it took to get it, which is a story for another day)!

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Florence . . . such a lovely city!

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More soon!

Ciao!

==========

This is where we saw the sight that will forever make us weep with laughter . . . the man with two-functioniong-legs who sat down on his chair at the side of the busiest road in Florence, take out a set of fake-amputee-legs (with bonus bloody stumps!) and proceed to strap them on.  I would've taken a photo, but I just . . . couldn't.

Comments

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claudia

Wow! What a day you had. Thanks for the great story and pictures.

Marilyn

What great adventures! Love the hot pink gloves. :D

margene

Treachery, larceny, beauty, and adventure at every turn! The food, the wine and the room with a view would make up for any (if any) downside! wow!

Patty

You two will have stories for-ever. Luggage and cobblestones...coupla swear words there ladies? What a wonderful day though!

Vicki

Good thing it's lunch time because that caprese salad just about put me over the edge.

Gorgeous... so many fun memories and stories!

Jo

These photos are stunning. It sounds like every moment was an adventure and a feast for the senses.

Cheryl S.

Wonderful!

Carole

It sounds like the day ended wonderfully and all the stress of travel (because, even when it's good it's stressful) was eased by the garden. And the wine. And also, perhaps, the gelato.

Chloe

Wonder where you go to buy amputee-leg stumps. I sympathize about the crowds. But obviously Florence is so worth it. Thank you for the wonderful pictures. The frosty wine glass told a story of its own. As did all your pictures.

Mary

that was quite a walk to your hotel! I can't believe it's been FIVE months since we were there (really, I just counted on my fingers and yes, it's FIVE!) and your photos bring back such wonderful memories. looking forward to part 2 ... and hoping there might even be more parts! ciao!

Pam

I love your walking to your hotel -- when we were there, Sophie had us walking TO the train station on those narrow side walks, pulling luggage. On the return journey we were on our own and decided that one of the joys of being self-supporting grown-ups could be a TAXI to our hotel. Your pictures bring back happy memories.

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