Today started off with a 9 o'clock wake up call followed by some much needed showers. Luckily for us the water is hot in this hostel! As we were getting ready to walk out the door Franco approached us as to why we missed breakfast (he apparently cooks for all the residence of the hostel every morning), this is something that we're not going to miss tomorrow.
The first thing on our agenda for the day was to head to the Santa Maria Cathedral and climb on top of the dome. We first waited in line outside the cathedral for about 20 minutes, then took some nice photos once we got inside (this thing was huge, and very cool). Unfortunately though, in order to get up the dome we had to go back outside and wait in another line, which we did. The climb to the top was 463 stairs, and it was exactly that...a climb. The stairs practically went straight up in a spiraling manner, also it seemed that the higher we went the tighter the space became. It was definitely a little too close for comfort. It freaked Leigh out. The cool part about the climb was that we were able to walk along the inside of the dome on about a 1 foot wide ledge, don't worry though there was a railing and protective glass preventing anyone from falling to the cathedral floor. Once we finally made it to the top of the dome, or duomo, the view was amazing. We could see all of Florence and the surrounding countryside, we definitely have some good shots from all the way up there. The climb down wasn't as bad as the climb up, naturally, but once we got down we were happy to be there.
After our duomo experience we decided to grab some food. We thought it would be a good idea to go to the pizza place that the guy at the hostel suggested, but once we got there we got the feeling that it wasn't going to be very good, so we left. It just so happens that we were right around the corner from the wine shop di vino, which was great, because we were able to fill up our bottle of wine from last night and get a few more while we were there. After our wine stop we went back to our little cafe Doninni in the Piazza della Republica. We both had pizza, it was very good. After lunch we decided to look for a place to ship our items that we didn't want to carry for the next 3 weeks home. The first place we went to was the post office, but they said we couldn't do it. Then we went to a local wine shop that said they ship wine home, but since the wine we had wasn't from them, they wouldn't ship it for us. However, the guy in the wine shop told us of a place that would and gave us the worst directions to find the place. After asking a small shop owner and the tourist information center lady, we finally found the mailbox etc store and we were able to lighten our load. (Don't open the package when it gets there please!)
After our adventure in finding the shipping store, we wanted to go to what we thought was a park on the map and have a bottle of wine. Little did we know that in order to get to this "park"we had to climb the side of a mountain. After a tiring climb (it was really just more stairs and inclines) we sat down, took a few pictures of the incredible view, and drank our bottle. This was an even better view than from on top of the Duomo, plus we weren't worried about falling off with 50 people on a small platform. Once we thought it was time to go, we walked down the mountain and back to the heart of town. Again, we were hungry, so we sat down at the Doninni and had some great spaghetti and meat sauce!! After dinner we went back to the hostel to try to connect to the internet, but that was unsuccessful, so we walked down to an internet cafe where we are updating our blog for the second time today.
Tomorrow morning we will head to Rome. A train leaves Florence twice every hour for Rome, so we should have no problem getting there. It is only an hour and 30 minutes to Rome from here, so hopefully we will be there by late morning or early afternoon to start our five day exploration of Rome. We will upload the photos from Florence tomorrow when we can get the laptop online again. Arriverderci!!