17 August 2010
Shower up, cook up, pack up and see you Siena. Mum, Grace and I went back to San Gimgiano whilst Bazz and Si whipped back to Castellina to pick up some jewellery that Nev had left at the villa and were also given Debbie Telf's hat that 'Simon' lost, however it must be said that it was found in Deb-o-rah's room, hmmmm??! Telfer's a? They'd be lost without the Patton's! Us gals had a coffee and a bit of a shop up too! Back on the road, met the boys for lunch then carried onto a free parking space out of Florence as we were staying in the heart of it which is a no go for driving. We managed to find our way onto a bus and tram with our luggage but didn't have tickets. We head or breath and crossed our fingers that we wouldn't get caught as what would normally cost €6 for all of us could cost €200.00 if caught without a validated ticket eek! Luckily we were fine. We got to our area, Dad map in hand, Simon GPS in hand decided to have a race using each method to see who could find the apartment first, I agreed to go with Bazz and the other 3 stuck with Mrs GPS. Bazz had a tight grip on the map so I just towed the line and followed instruction, much like my Mum does. Well it wasn't long before Bazz was sweating, peering up at the street names, cursing a bit and saying we should have been there in 50 seconds. It was about this time he decided he would consult me, I was the only one who could read the street names on the map, I was also flipping it round in the correct direction and then leading Bazz back to where we were meant to be with him saying, are you sure, ht street are we on, me back tracking to him pointing it out on the map and him so o your right abbey you are ooh o darn oh we've (???we??? what??) really stuffed up here, they'll be hanging out the windows by the time we get there, oh stuff it!!! Well we finally rolled round the corner to our correct destination -no one but the apartment rep to let us in, oh hang on there they are waving at us from the other end of the street - MAP WINS MAP WINS MAP WINS!!!!!! When they trundled on down they explained they had been there for 6 minutes, outside no.13 (correct number, correct road), wrong no.13 haha thanks to some crazy Italian street numbering Me and Dad won!!! Boom! Our apartment was on the top floor, no lift so up we went with our bags, sweat sweat sweating! Wowzers, what an apartment (found on a site called www.waytogo.com) huge lounge, dining, kitchen open plan lovely furnishings huge tv etc, pull out massive couch for Si, Master bedroom with ensuite, twin bedroom, bathroom with a toilet and bidet that was like a throne room as you climbed 4 steps in the bathroom to get up to them, and we also had washing machine!! Perfecto! I was on washing duty and catch up with the internet while the others went shopping. We tried out a restaurant recommended by our apartment dude which was scrumptious and then home for some baileys and cointreau night caps.
18 August 2010
No alarms to wake us up and home made cooked breaky was on the cards again - thanks Ma Pats! Grace was our tour guide today and Dad was his own on his own tour. First stop was the markets, some purchases were made here by some, a lot of repeating goods and some productswere not as good as in the shops, but till paying similar prices. From here Grace led us to the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. We had planned to walk up to the top of the basilica but the cue was massive so we postponed that for the time being and went inside for a gander. Huge cathedral, massive roof with awesome paintings! Next stop was the old bridge (the Vasari corridor) which is a bridge that has shops on it - all too expensive for us, mostly beautiful jewellery shops. We were feeling a bit risqué in the late afternoon and feeling like a purve so that's exactly what we did - we went to check out Michelangelo's David - the real deal. After lining up for 30 minutes we sent Bazz down to a ticket office around the road to pay €4 more so we could skip thecue and get to see David sooner, rather than waiting for 1 - 2hours, s in total our entry fee was €14 each to visit the museum. Wow, it was so cool walking in to see the statue, right at the end of a corridor with a raised dome roof above him, he was stunning! Mickey moo moo did a beaut job on that, what a bloke! Definitely worth seeing the real deal not fake David (which there are a few of these around town). On the way back to the apartment Mum and I did a bit of geezing in the shops but no purchases yet - Mum as found a nice leather jacket that she may go back to get if she cannot find anything better - looks beaut though! Our feet we knackered (needed an aunty Sav foot rub) from the heat and uneven cobbly roads so as soon as we got in the door we filled the mop bucket with hot soapy water and relieved them whilst sucking back on a chilled white vino then putting them up on the foot rest oh my goodness that hit the spot!!! We got shazoomed up and went to Piazza della signoria for a meal and watch the people in the square, buskers playing and lap up a bit more vino and Italian cuisine.
19 August 2010
Grace's last day with us today so some morning power shopping was on the cards today as she departed at 1pm. The boys went to get in the cue (massive and no way of skipping) for the tower at the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. They od text s hen they were athe friont of the cue but I missed the boat. Approximately 400 steps to the top - viewing area - and you go up through the church too so they got great close up views of the painted ceiling! Cuing plus the walk up and down took them 1hour 45min, and they lined up at about 10am. Racey gracey made some swift purchases then we met with the boys to farewell her on a train to Rome then flight to NZ via Dubai, Melbourne and Auckland finally arriving in Wellington 35hours after leaving Rome!! We waved her off and then went to get a slug feed to cope with the sadness - McDonalds. Bazz wasn't having a bar of it and went to the markets alone to get stuffedcourgettes which he rated. We were aching for some beef so burgers were on the agenda, take away styles and ate them in a piazza so it was semi Italian hehe. The shops were calling so back out we went - Simon taking on the Tour Guide status now Grace had departed - he did a pretty good job considering we were mapless for a while. The streets in Florence don't run like a grid like ol Invercargill so easy to get lost here! Mum ended up getting her leather jacket we all picked up some bits and pieces so successful trip. Home again home again gigiddy gig, few cold one's then we headed off to dinner with some fellow Southlander's - Otatarians in fact - Emma and Sharron Ryan. They had been over in Lake Garda watching Peter Bulling in the cycling junior world champs! Had a good catch up, compared a few Italian tales, disasters and triumphs so had a good laugh. Home to the apartment - was meant to be an early night as tomorrow we drive approx 450km to Lake Como but as we came in the door, there was a wee bottle of white, chilled, winking at us and well we had enough luggage to carry tomorrow so demolishing the vino was high on the priority list. So Si, Ma and me sat up chatting (Mum giving us the lesson's of life), drinking and listening to Mum's new Italian CD's that she purchased tonight n the way home. We rolled into bed about 1am and I was up at 7am the next day (as I take the longest to get ready, but he wait is worth it!!)