Buon Giorno, from Firenze.
Now I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep on previous nights, the fact that I was in bed by 11pm or that yesterday was an alcohol free day; but I woke up this morning feeling incredibly refreshed and ready to start my day…
I arrived yesterday into Florence and promptly found my hostel. It was a very peculiar hostel as the common area and reception are in a different building than my dorm room. But then the dorm room feels more like it’s own apartment. It had a shower and toilet and even a small common area.I relaxed in here before going to bed.
I left the hostel this morning around half past 8 and took a brisk walk into the centre of Florence, and was immediately captivated by the beauty of the city. The high buildings, with intricate details all over the walls; the eccentric architecture where bridges connect houses but there’s no access to the bridge; the abundance of shutters on every window no matter how small; the mosaic and marble patterns on the basilicas. I could go on, but I won’t, for your sake…
So, I wanted to make the most of the early start, before all the tour groups amassed, and I set off for the big attractions. I got to see the Duomo Cathedral; a couple of monasteries; and a great deal of churches, all in a relatively short space of time before the crowds started swarming. As midday rolled in, I passed the Uffizi Gallery and could barely see the other side of the street for tourists. Turns out, this was the queue to get into the exhibition. Safe to say I didn’t join the queue, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to write this post; I’d still be in the line!!!
After this I felt a bit overwhelmed by groups of people so I thought I’d stroll down by the river. As the crowds dissolved, I found myself away from the river and heading back towards the centre but this time I took the back streets and ended up in a little park in the northern part of the city where I had my lunch.
The most peculiar sight I saw today, and probably of my whole trip, was the sight of firefighters trying to break into a house. At around 12ish, I was sat in a garden having a spot of lunch when I heard the most tremendous whine, I glanced behind me and saw a fire engine with 4 staff in and an ambulance following. They stopped at the end of the road and started to open an window. The first bit seemed easy, the fireman was able to pry the shutters apart but then came the challenge. He had to get through the glass pane I’m order to open the second set of shutters from the inside. Gotta say, he’d make the worse burglar, he could be heard from quite a distance just banging on the window with an axe and hammer. Eventually he was able to access the room but had to clear all the glass out of the way first and then climbed through the window closing the shutters behind him. I’m not sure what happened next as they started working in secret, what I do know is that a police car then arrived at the scene so clearly something was amiss.
Instead of hanging around to find out, and being a nuisance, I set off to explore more of the streets. The next few streets I wandered down didn’t captivate me in the same way the others had. I then walked past a sign which explained why I wasn’t as enticed as before. The sign stated that it was a University building. I was in the campus area for the University. As I tried to make my way back to the centre of town, I passed by more and more student buildings until I found myself back with the crowds. I tried to accommodate them into my day by walking slowly but I ended up dropping away from then and sneaking down side streets instead. Ultimately I ended up in a small park where people were sunbathing so I sat for a while and joined them before heading back to the hostel for the Italian equivalent of a siesta.
Not bad for a days work if I say so myself.