Unfortunately on the way in to Florence we had a problem with our brakes. Dave put his foot on the brake, there was a weird noise, then lots of grinding noises. Since we had already paid for breakdown cover (and we were determined to get our moneys worth) we rang at around 11am; after a couple of breakdowns in communication an Italian tow truck appeared to take us to the Mazda garage. The Italian driver spoke no English and continued to talk to us in Italian along the hour journey to the garage (smile and nod!). We finally arrived at a Ford garage quite away out of town, he unloaded us and realised that it was closed for lunch so was just about to leave us there, when someone arrived and told him they don't fix Mazdas! He couldn't be bothered to reload us and suggested we follow him, so with our broken brakes we did. We arrived at another Ford garage also closed for lunch, our driver waved us goodbye and took off. Around 2:30 the workers return and quickly tell us what we had already worked out for ourselves; we were at the wrong garage again! Finally at 4pm after many expensive phone calls to the breakdown company our lively Italian driver returns, shruggs then reloads us. He drives us back in to town to 10 mins from where we started to the Mazda Garage! Due to the traffic we don't arrive untill 5:40; this gives us plenty of time to try and decipher what the driver is actually talking about. Finally we catch a bit of the conversation we can understand. It transpires that our driver is not Italian after all, he's Romanian!!!!!
On the bright side there are worse places to be stuck; prehaps Brasov?Florence is one of the most beautiful cities, perhaps more beautiful even than Rome. Around every corner seems to be a new suprise, amazing buildings and statues are everywhere. We had lots of time to explore the city and managed to find plenty to keep us occupied.
It has become the standing joke that in Italy you will, whether you like it or not, get ripped off at least three times each day! Never has this sentence been more true than in Florence. If it's not a €4 coffee in a cup suitable only for a doll's house it's a €10 museum ticket for the most boring exhibition on earth. But the biggest rip-off of all time has to be the Damien Hirst Exhibition. I already knew that he was the most incredibly arrogant, pretentious sculpter of our time but I still thought I might not get another chance to see in person his works so we both forked out (sorry Dave!!!) €10 each. We got in to the gallery and found a seperate queueing area for Hirst with waiting signs saying 1hr from this point etc. We felt lucky as we could just walk in; no queues today! A bloke opened a black curtain for us and we were led in to a pitch black tiny room in the middle of which was displayed the skull embedded with thousands of diamonds; a bit wierd, incredibly pretentious, but admittedly strangely beautiful. We walked around it a couple of times, I asked to take a photo and got laughed at for being so impertinent as to want to take a picture of the great masters work (b******s, it's not like I was going to copy it!). Now looking forward to the rest of the collection we ducked out through the curtain into the other room only to discover ourselves at the finish.....that was it!!! What!!!! And they wouldn't even let you go round twice!!!!! b******s!!!! 10 bloody euros could have had 3 miniature coffees for that price!
So one last rip off before we leave Florence; €198 to get front brake pad fixed....ouch!
Scores in the 'spot a car without a dent in it game'