Friday morning & afternoon in Florence

8:20 AM


Had a light breakfast at the hotel and I’m first in line to climb the dome at the Duomo.

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They open in 10 minutes and there are 6 other people here as well. In a couple hours there will probably be hundreds.

I had a hard time deciding what to do today… I think I am going to take a bus to Siena but I am not sure yet. I still have the scooter, which is (hopefully) still parked a few blocks from here.

10:30 AM

The duomo climb was exhausting! The steps just seem to go on and on and on.

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My guide book says there are 463 of them (but it felt like 3000!). When I got to the top, I was dripping wet and gasping for air. The view was incredible… Definitely worth the climb.

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By the end of the walk back down my legs were shaking.

I wanted to get moving so I could return my scooter and make the 10:30 bus to Siena. After a stop at my hotel up change into a dry shirt, I headed to my scooter. Fortunately, it was still there, and I made my way to return it.

After that I rushed to the train station, found the nearby bus station, and waited in line to get a ticket. Turns out there is more than one bus station, and this was the wrong one. Oy.

I started looking for the station, but no one seemed to know where it was (I was surrounded mostly be Americans). The train was leaving in 15 minutes and the next one wasn’t for 2 more hours. I gave up.

I headed back to the central market, where I am now. When I was here yesterday, it was late in the day and the two story food building was closed. It’s open now, and I’m going up to explore.

11:30 AM

I’m back at my hotel, cooling off. The food section of the market is in a big building, and it seems to be mostly butchers, with a few bread, cheese and wine shops.

Around the food building are at least a hundred stalls, mostly run by Asian or Middle Eastern people… they mostly sell the same touristy stuff: t-shirts, all kinds of leather goods, ashtrays, etc. I bought a couple Vespa shirts but couldn’t find anything else appealing. (Considered buying a purse or leather wallet for Rachel, but I’m sure I could find something nicer in Nordstrom in St. Louis!)

I was going to look for a place for lunch, but I turned a corner and found myself in front of the Duomo again, which meant I was about a block from my hotel. There were crowds and tour groups all around the Duomo now… glad I went early. I decided to come back to my hotel to rest and put on another dry shirt before going back out.

I’m going to rest and figure out what to do this afternoon, and where to eat lunch.

2:15 PM

After resting in my hotel, I toured Palazzo Vecchio, where the Medici family lived for 9 years. It was very interesting.

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Then I stopped in a few stores…

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…and went to lunch at Yellow Bar, which was a recommendation from someone at my hotel registration desk. It is a big, modern, inexpensive place with simple food. I had a couple beers, margherita pizza and Paglia e Fieno (hay and straw) pasta… half red, half green, made with ham, cream, tomato sauce and mushrooms (I ordered it without mushrooms). Everything was good, not amazing.

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I was very full after lunch – but that didn’t stop me from going to “Perche, No”, a gelato place recommended by my Metafilter advisor, Dario. I got a pistachio and crema combination – it’s very delicious (but not as good as the coconut from last night).

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I’m back in my hotel room now, to relax and take a nap. The nice part about the end of a week in Italy is that I feel no pressure to run around and be a tourist like I did earlier in the week. I’m OK with just relaxing and taking an afternoon nap in my tiny hotel room. At least it has air conditioning!!

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