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Published: March 14th 2018
Florence today - the hotel screwed us over because we're a school group and moved our breakfast from 7am to 7h50... but it worked out in terms of even though they lost some free time in the morning, they still had 6hrs in the afternoon so like... that works. Omg the "eggs" at breakfast were the most questionable thing I've ever seen. And they messed up all our rooms so we had kids literally all over the hotel. Major fails compared to all the other hotels we've stayed at on this trip.
ANYWAY. We drove into town and went up to Piazzale Michaelangelo for a beautiful viewpoint of the city. Two of the teachers are in a band and have a gig the night after we get back - so they did a promo video and it was fantastic lol. There was a bus of tourists from somewhere in Asia and they were trying to film our teachers so the other teachers were like blocking their cameras hahaha.
We did a walking tour and it was by far the best one we did - an excellent guide, good mix of history and quirky facts, and she was nice on
top of that. We basically walked all around the main tourist area so that the kids had ideas of things to go back and see since they then had 6 hours(!!) free-time. Like I said though, she gave us good history and facts though - and a bunch of the Gr 11 girls enjoyed the fact we kept going to areas with military because they tended to be quite hot lol. We walked along the Arno River, the famous bridges, up into some of the markets and finally to the Duomo - the Cathedral of Florence. Maaaaaan is it big. The outside decor is just unreal - green, red and white marble. It's incredibly ornate on the outside, particularly the front which is basically a dedication to Mary. There was a really long line to go in, and our guide told us the inside is kind of meh, so I didn't bother with the wait.
Once we were 'let loose' for free-time I started wandering away from where we'd been. Time to explore! I never use Google Maps while travelling, but have to say I was glad to have it today lol. There are so many little alleys and
roads, that it's good to have access to the GPS just in case. I literally roamed for for the first 3 hours, enjoying little side roads, finding random graffiti and signs everywhere I went. I ended up at the train station, grabbed a gelato and people watched for a bit before continuing on to find one of the massive indoor markets - I did the half that didn't have the fish stalls - once I was hit by that smell I was good and wanted out lol. I checked out some of the outdoor markets - basically all bags and scarves. I didn't need either, but I did grab two scarves just because they were super soft and one is warm. (Apparently I'll need that when I get back home?? I'm hearing about a lot of snow.) In one of the markets there's a "lucky boar" statue where you rub his nose and feed him a coin for good luck lol. I like random things like that.
Otherwise it was just wandering, finding statues, finding graffiti and having a second gelato lol. A lot of the "no entry" signs here have black tape/stickers on them to make them into
art (ex. a little man carrying the white rectangle away, a cat and mouse on one, the white line turned into a cloud with the sun peaking out, etc.) I also went back to the bridges for a few more shots down the Arno and walked around the other side of the river which is much less touristy and maintains more of the old-Italian vibe.
For supper we had a MASSIVE dinner... like... they started with a pasta dish that most kids didn't finish and then we got pork, potatoes and salad and then dessert. It was so good but oh so much. We also spent the time just comparing our purchases and talking about all our experiences during the day. It was fun seeing all the kids - they actually (for the most part) did explore a bit rather than only shop - I guess with 6hrs you kind of had to. It was also fun hearing all their thoughts about Italy and the lifestyle in Europe vs back home. And hearing them talk about all the new friends they made since pretty much everyone is so chill on this trip. It's been good to expand their bubble
a bit 😊
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