Between the tourists lying squished in the street and the purse-snatchers, we’ve had a bad first impression of Florence. Will our second day be any better?
Day 6: Friday, September 21, 2007
I woke up long before Esteban, so I went out in search of 1) breakfast, 2) an iPod charger, and 3) cash. I came back with all three.
E was still dozing when I returned. I headed back out to climb the Duomo’s tower. Ahead of me was a pair of Spaniards with very dirty mouths. I didn’t let on until we reached the top that I’d understood every word. They grinned. “Sorry, miss,” said one of the guys. I grinned back. “No me importa. Hé oído mucho peor.” (No worries. I’ve heard much worse.)
We’d reached the top. Wow, what a view! The tower had a very open-to-the-elements feel, so the height was getting to me a bit. It didn’t help when I stood on a flimsy wire grate and looked 15 stories down, through the center of the tower. I tried to distract myself by taking pictures.
During the hour that followed, I encountered people from all over the planet. The Spaniards were the loudest and most prone to cussing, while the French were the most reserved. The Japanese were the most likely to emit frequent, nervous giggles. And the Finns were the least likely to show any emotion at all.
I headed back to the hotel, where I rejoined Esteban. After a quick lunch, we walked toward the Galleria dell’Accademia in hopes of seeing David. The line was so long that even the people in line had no hopes of getting in.
We headed to the Ufizzi Gallery instead. Again, no go. So we satisfied our longing for art in the outdoor pavilion, which at least had some excellent sculptural reproductions.
Hungry, and in need of a bathroom, we descended on a small seafood restaurant off the main plaza. We gorged ourselves on an incredible “frutti di mare” [seafood salad] and a bottle of prosecco. Heaven.
We took an evening stroll along the Arno river on our way back to the hotel, and that was it for Friday. We were exhausted.
Here are some photos from our only full day in Florence. Mouse over the photos for captions:
Tomorrow we’ll wake up refreshed, if a bit weary of Florence. So we’ll get up early for an impromptu trip into the Tuscan “hill town” of San Gimignano.