Day 133, 134, 135 & 136
Florence, the city where we did nothing yet so much happened. Due to lousy weather and our overall laziness, we ended up doing few noteworthy activities in Florence. We saw some sights, went out to some restaurants and met some people but nothing really special came up. Nevertheless we have so many stories and experiences from the town. We didnt go out and find things to do as we usually would, instead all these stories managed to come to us.
Our hostel in itself was a bit of a story especially due to the fact we couldnt find it. Assuming we were staying right in town we walked straight from the station into the centre expecting to find directions along the way. However after quite some unsuccessful searching we finally asked someone who told us the street we were looking for was about 2km out of town. So we headed back to the station, on to a bus and waited to arrive. We were not too happy. When we finally got there and found only blocks of flats we got a bit worried, however we saw the name of our hostel on the doorbell and headed in. This was probably one of the homiest places we have stayed so far. As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted by the owner and offered some wine and snacks. He then spoke to us for a good 20 minutes explaining where is good to go see, what's near us and everything else we needed to know. We were also introduced to clifford, his assistant that seemed to be there 24 hours a day. Never was there a moment when we were home and Clifford was not but a couple of meters away.
The place itself was also something special being the owners mothers apartment that he had turned into a small 20 person hostel. It was awesome to stay there as everyone spoke to everyone and if people went out, they went out together. To top it all off they even had an xbox. The only complaint we really had about the place was location.
Now sightseeing was done in town with us going to everything we were told. We saw Michelangelo's David in three different places around the city and walked around the massive Duomo (Huge Church). Whilst we wanted to climb the Duomo the line was always long and no one wanted to hang around in the rain. We went to the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge lined with stores selling gold, and took a look at a whole bunch of things we could never afford. We explored the long leather markets almost every day always finding something new that they could make out of leather. Many times we were lured into leather jacket shops to "just try them on". But as much as we wanted to buy them we couldn't justify spending that much whilst traveling. By the last day we were sick of just walking around the city and decided it was time for an upgrade. We hired Segways for 2 hours and man was it worth it. After a little getting used to we were flying around the city going all the way to the highest point in town, Michelangelo's piazza. From there we saw the entire city, timing it perfectly so we were there as the sun went down.
The rain didn't just ruin our plans in Rome, but managed to ruin them here as well. Many times we had great adventures set for the day yet as we walked out the door it began to bucket. We tried to ignore the rain, and just do what we had intended, however soon after we had left home, setting out for the day, we were absolutely soaked, unhappy and wanting to go back home. But that's not all.... For months we had been planning to do the Cinque Terre walk along the west coast of Italy and we had decided we would do it after Florence. Everything was booked, trains, accommodation and we were all psyched up to go. However Italy wouldn't let us have this one either as the day before we were about to leave a guy checking in to our place tells us that there had been torrential downpour along the west coast of Italy (if you want to check it out http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/8850032/Villages-all-but-wiped-out-as-storms-batter-Italys-Cinque-Terre.html) and many of the cities had been completely wiped out. .... I know right. So with hours to spare we cancelled all trains and accommodation and looked into where else we could go. We googled for ages, trying to organize anything we could eventually deciding on Bologna. Everyone was really disappointed we couldn't go to the walk after planning on doing it for so long. Let's hope that Bologna can compensate for not being able to get there.
With rain such a problem we fell back to our standard activities when we have nothing to do, eat and watch movies. We found many great restaurants around town embracing Italian pizza, pasta and panini. One place in particular that was great was a Panini shop right around the corner. We must of eaten there about 4-5 times because the food there was just so excellent. We got to know the owners quite well so much so that when we asked them the one day where would could get a movie from they told us they could give us a lift. They seemed nice enough people and we were more than happy to accept their offer after hearing the place was far away. However we never really knew who these people were until we got into the car with them.
As we drove we chatted to the guy talking about random stuff like music and sport. Eventually we got onto soccer and then more specifically Italian soccer. It was at that point we found out we traveling with quite a celebrity in town. Our driver was Francesco Flachi, the striker for the Italian team Sampdoria who scored his fair few goals in his career and was on his way up. It was funny how we had absolutely no idea the entire time that he had been serving us at the restaurant. What was even funnier was when we found out that he had been banned from playing soccer due a bit too much nose candy and was now forcibly retired. Nevertheless we had met a hero in this town and even got a lift in his car.
Nightlife in Florence for us was just about non existent. When we went out looking for something to do in the so called Party Area of town we found very few people and not a single club. The highlight of our going out experiences was heading to a friend from Melbourne's place that is now living there and playing kings cup for a good few hours. That night we also ran into people we had met at Oktoberfest that told us they lived there but we had completely forgotten. We did have a bit of fun that night but compared to other cities it was pretty average.
That's about all we really did in Florence. We had loads of fun yet didn't really do much. We are all a bit bummed out about the cinque terre so let's hope that Bologna wows us.
That's all for now.