Day 23 - Sunday 20 September 2015
We woke up at 7.30am (which is really early for us on this holiday) because we wanted to get going and hit the road early-ish to avoid traffic and give ourselves plenty of time for the drive to Florence.
I called my mum as we hadn't spoken in at least a week I think so wanted to check in.
After the call we finished packing and set off. We looked up the car hire place on the map and it didn't look too far, maybe 1.5kms away, so we decided to walk there. We agreed about 2/3 of the way there when it was too late that it was too far to walk with all of our suitcases and we were pretty tired by the time we actually found the office.
On the way we stopped to get some baked goods and water.
There were a few other people hiring cars that morning (all Aussies strangely) so we had to wait a little bit before it was our turn. When we got to speak to the girl behind the counter we were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to an Audi! We had booked a VW Golf.
We had agreed the day before that I would drive as I was such an annoying passenger when Jazz was driving because I got so nervous. When Jazz saw it was an Audi she kind of wanted to drive but let me continue, it was better for our relationship.
We got in the car and figured out the GPS. We were a bit later setting off than originally planned but had time for a couple of stops so the first one was the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco. We actually just wanted to drive to Monaco and didn't really know what was there but when we saw the signs for the casino it was too cool to go past.
It didn't take long to get there, maybe only 40 minutes of windy highways up and then down the hill. Our tour guide the day before had pointed out the road Grace Kelly had a car crash and died on so I was pretty cautious when I drove along that one.
We got to the casino and parked underneath (which was free because we were there for under an hour). There were all these cool cars out the front - some we saw were a Maserati, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin & a Porsche.
We had to pay to get in as the casino was actually closed because it was still morning which meant me couldn't put a bet on, damn! We walked around for a little bit having a look through the rooms. There were lots of older people there, we assumed a tour bus must have just stopped there.
On the way out and back to the car we walked past and the designers shops and bought the thing we could afford, some chocolate croissants.
We got back in the car and set off again using our GPS to guide us. Next stop was Pisa! It was a very beautiful drive, the first part was very windy but eventually the roads straightened out and I got my comfortable driving. It probably took about 3.5 hours to get there so we were pretty hungry by then.
When we got to the leaning tower of Pisa this African guy helped us get a parking spot and then stood by the car waiting for us to either pay him or buy something. We saw another guy doing it later with someone else too.
There were lots of people there taking photos so we tried to find a good spot. The grass was roped off but Jazz being the rebel that she is walked on it anyway and the security people used a whistle to get her attention and told her off.
We spent a little while trying to get some good photos and then once we were satisfied went down the street to find somewhere for lunch.
Everywhere was very touristy so we didn't have high hopes for the restaurants and we were right. We just ordered simple bruschetta, prosciutto & bread and it was all gross.
We set off again shortly after as we needed to meet our host for our new apartment between 6-6.30pm and still had a bit over an hour to drive to Florence.
The traffic was starting to get worse now and once we got to Florence the GPS tried to lead us down a one way street. We knew we were close because it said we were a minute away from arrival so when we turned the corner and saw a car park we organised to leave the car there until the next day and walked the rest of the way dragging our cases behind us.
It wasn't too far and we found the square it was supposed to be in but couldn't find our apartment. Jazz asked an Italian lady and she headed us in the right direction and then we found Christiano out the front waiting for us.
He showed us the apartment and gave us a very friendly greeting, a little too friendly in fact. He wouldn't stop talking for ages and trying to show us things on the map and tell us where to go. We were both so tired and hungry we wanted him to shut up and leave but couldn't be rude of course. Eventually he did leave and we got to settle in a bit. The apartment is actually pretty amazing. It's this really old building which kind of looks like a castle from the outside and it's split across three levels. It's very tiny and has low ceilings but works great for us. There is even a bidet in the bathroom!
We were both starving so walked around the corner to Piazza del Carmine and there was this pop up bar/restaurant in the middle of the square. As part of the restaurant there was a stage with some "performers". I say it like that as it was really weird and contemporary. There were ladies alternating between playing the recorder or the piano and then a guy reading Italian poetry in s really slow monotone voice.
We ordered some bruschetta, pizza and pasta's to share which were all really delicious.
After dinner we toyed with the idea of going for a walk to explore as it was only about 9pm but were both so tired so we came home, showered and went to bed to have an early night.