We have internet! We are in Florence, Italy now, it's actually our second day here so we'll tell you about yesterday first.
We arrived by train on the Eurostar Italia (E.S.I) around 1:30 pm. The train ride was relatively short, roughly 2 hours 45 minutes, and very beautiful through the mountains of central Italy. We traveled through "Wine Country." We arrived at Santa Maria Novella train station and had to find our way to the Piazza della Republica. We went right out of the station, then left, then right again. The roads in Florence are as poorly marked as they are in Venice. We finally made our way to our hostel, or what we thought was our hostel, walked up four flights of stairs, paid our dues, then were walked back down the stairs and down the street to another hostel. Another 4 flights of stairs. It's not as bad as it sounds though, we are in a four bed room, eventhough we signed up for a 6-bed, there are 2 bathrooms a kitchen, and all together 5 rooms in this hostel part. We are very close to the Vecchio bridge, the Duomo, and some other piazzas (plazas).
The man in charge of watching over this part of the hostel is named Franco. He's a small Italian man, very funny and very nice. He cooks breakfast for everyone here in the mornings and pretty much just hangs out. We think that this is his house or apartment. The beds are cots with real mattresses, well we switched the mattresses to get the more comfortable ones because our roomies weren't here yet. Our roomies are another couple from Brazil doing the same thing that we are doing. They are nice too.
After we settled in we decided to go see the statue of David at the Galleria de Academia. Yes Uncle B, it was like looking at you :) The statue was amazing. Danny got yelled at for trying to take a picture of it, 2 more seconds and he would have had it. Bummer. It was incredible though, everything was perfectly proportional for someone that would have been 20 feet tall, hands, feet, muscles. The only thing that wasn't proportional was...well...you've all seen pictures :) We only had to wait in line for an hour to see it, we guess we were lucky because we heard people behind us saying that they had to wait for 4 hours and didn't even get in the day before. After David, we went to a local wine shop that our hostel guy told us about called Di Vini. This place was very cool. For 3 euros we were able to get a nice bottle of wine. There were barrels of wine everywhere and hoses running to a tap right next to the cash register. We just told the lady what we wanted and in 2 seconds she poured it and corked it and we had our wine. Also, if you bring your own bottle it costs only 1 Euro to fill up with wine. There were red and whites, strong, medium, and light. Chiantis and non-chiantis. All together we think there were 20 different kinds of wine we could get. After our wine adventure we were starving and had to find a place to eat. Unfortunately dinner isn't served until 7 o'clock and happy hour is from 5 to 7 so there was no place for us to eat. We came back to the hostel and decided to have some of our wine that we just bought. It was good! We drank half the bottle. Then 7 came around and we made our way back to the Piazza della Republica and sat down at one of the cafe restaurants in the Plaza, called Doninni. It was amazing. And there was no coperto, or cover charge for sitting down.
After dinner we decided to take a walk up to the Ponte Vecchio, bridge by our hostel. There was live music on the bridge and people just gathered around and took in the sights and listened to the music and had a nice evening. The view from the bridge of Florence at night was incredible. We took a lot of good pictures. After about 2 hours on the bridge we decided to call it a night and came back to the hostel, finished our bottle of wine, and went to bed. It was a great day in Florence.
Our next blog will be about today. It will come later.