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Published: February 14th 2013
Views of Florence
I was up early this morning to get ready for our day in Florence. Our first stop was at a viewpoint overlooking the city. Here we got some great photos of Florence, and we also got our official group photo taken. Unfortunately, the sun was shining so bright that half of us are all squinty-eyed in the photo. Still looks pretty good though! There is a replica statue of David at this viewpoint too (there are a few replicas throughout Florence). Souvenir group photo (11,50 euro):
Join the group for a photo in one of Florence's famous piazzas or with one of the city's stunning panoramas as a backdrop.
Our next stop was a leather shop where we got a demonstration. This is another Contiki sponsor, so the main point was to try to get us to buy their products. It was pretty boring, and the leather was way too expensive.
We had an included walking tour with a local guide next. Florence really is amazing - it is basically an enormous, outdoor museum. There is art everywhere, along every road and alleyway. It was pretty hard to hear the guide and it was scorching hot today, almost
Rosi, Colleen, Emma, Debs, Verity, and me
unbearable. I think it was about 35 degrees Celsius. Some of the sights we saw were the Campanile bell tower, Santa Croce basilica, and the Piazza della Signoria.
After the tour, me, Debs, and Verity went to find lunch somewhere. We eventually stopped at a little cafe and got individual pizzas. I was quite disappointed in these pizzas, not nearly as good as the one I had in Venice. From here we walked around the city and did some shopping. I found a really nice dress store that was quite cheap - I bought a few summer dresses for the hot weather we were having.
We walked over to the Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge lined with jewellery shops. It is over 600 years old, and very beautiful. It was filled with tourists. I couldn't afford any of the expensive jewellery but it was fun window shopping.
The three of us made our way back to the center of town and the Duomo, which we were hoping to take a tour of. Also called Santa Maria del Fiore, this is one of the most well-known sights in Florence. It was designed by Brunelleschi, and inside there are
supposed to be breathtakingly beautiful stained glass windows. But because the Duomo is a church, you have to be modestly dressed to be allowed inside. The three of us, with our short shorts and tank tops, weren't going to be allowed inside, unfortunately. We kept shopping, and Verity found a long skirt that she liked, so she wore that and went back to the Duomo, since that was something she was really wanting to see while we were in Florence. Debs and I continued along, stopped for some ice cream, and people watched.
In the late afternoon we were driven back to the campsite where we had a few hours to get ready for our optional dinner tonight. Tuscan meal (27 euro):
Wind down with some fantastic Chianti wine in the heart of Florence. In true Italian fashion, our warm hosts will load your table with a feast of entrees, followed by a house specialty and something dolce for dessert.
We took the coach back into town at 7:45 pm and walked (a long way) to the restaurant. This dinner was very good, but there was SO much food, it would be impossible to eat it all.
We had chianti wine, lots of different types of pastas, potatoes, chicken, and dessert. The wine definitely wasn't my favourite, but I drank lots of it so I could save money at the bar later. I would recommend this optional as good value for your money (you will be full for days), and as a nice social outing as a whole group. By the end of dinner I was quite tipsy after all the wine.
When we were all finished eating we walked to the Space Electronic disco club. This is the third and final optional activity for Florence. Space electronic disco (13 euro):
Get into the Florentine nightlife at the city's largest club. Right in the heart of town, Space Electronic Disco draws a mix of both locals and travellers. With different zones spread over two levels, you can have some fun with karaoke and show off some moves on the dance floor.
This optional was fun, especially since I was nearly done my antibiotics and therefore was able to enjoy drinking again! The club was huge, and even though it wasn't crazy busy, we all had a good time. There was lots of dancing and
Bri and I at Space Electronic disco
karaoke. I didn't end up coming back to the campsite until around 3 am.
What did I learn today? Lots and lots and lots about art
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