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Published: November 10th 2017
So after a lousy nights sleep I was up reasonably early. Which was a shame because my train didn't leave until 10.30. I had heaps of time to finish packing, have breakfast and check out. I had a leisurely breakfast, having a good ol' chat to my new found Californian friends. A couple (don't ask me their names) who were sitting at the table next to mine my first morning in Rome, and we seemed to catch up there every day. Like me they were checking out today so were really just cooling their heals until they had to go to the airport.
I checked out just after nine giving myself plenty of time for the cab to be late and/or road blocks, of course there were none and I got to termini station with plenty of time to spare. Fun fact about Italian train stations, they don't tell you which platform to go to until 15 minutes before the train leaves. Good thing the station is well,laid out and easy to get around. The train was very comfortable, only downside was I was seated across from a little Indian man who was devouring a souvlaki as I got on
Piazza del Duomo
To big to fit in one shot
board, so I had the sweet smell of his garlic breath all the way to Florence.
From the Florence train station I caught a cab to my hotel. Once again I had the nicest cabbie, he figured out straight away that I was a tourist (although he did mistake me for an American) and gave me a tourist map and proceeded to point out the sights of Florence on the way to the hotel. On reaching my hotel he gave me his card, not his personal card, just the taxi company card & explained how to call if I got lost and needed a cab. I would have preferred his personal card as he was a bit of a grey fox. Melbourne cabbies really need to lift their game!
My hotel is quite unlike anything I've seen before. I walked in the door to be faced with a long hallway, making me wonder if I was in the right place. Plaques on the far wall indicated that the hotel is on the second floor. Up the stairs and there was reception. The receptionist was lovely and very helpful. On collecting my keys I walked down a maze of
Piazza del Duomo
The Last Judgement
corridors to find my room. The room is cute, with windows which open onto the street, but my word it is small, good thing I don't have a cat to swing.
After settling in, I made my way out to see my first site, the Duomo, is just down the road from my hotel. It is this massive church that takes up most of the piazza. The exterior is a myriad of white and green marble. With statues and frescoes everywhere. There is a massive bell tower adjoining the church, apparently for €10 I can climb the bell tower and up into the cupola of the church. Could be awesome but sounds like a lot of stairs to me. On entering the Duomo, I immediately noticed the stained glass windows. Amazing detail and rich colours. I tried to take photos but I don't think they've turned out. I wandered around the church until I made it to the alter which is under the cupola. There is a beautiful painting of the last judgement on the ceiling of the cupola painted by Brunelleschi. I'm gonna call it...I think it was more impressive than Michelangelo's last judgement in the Sistine chapel.
After the Duomo I caught a bus up to Piazza Michelangelo. The Piazza itself is not that impressive, just a car park with a bronze statue of David, But the view of Florence is amazing. From here I could see the Duomo, clearly the largest building in Florence's skyline. Seconded by the Biblioteca Nationale. Just under the piazza is a little cafe, where I stopped to have a wine and enjoy the view. I had heard that the sunset from this point is to die for. However the sky had clouded over and after spilling my wine (twice!) I figured it was time to go home, freshen up and get some rest before I hit the galleries (early) tomorrow.
Oh and I got lost AGAIN getting back to the hotel. Its amazing how quickly the streets change. One minute I'm walking down a busy street filled with restaurants and cafes, the next minute I'm in an alley way hoping that Florence is a safe city and no-one gets mugged here. hehe
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