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Published: July 12th 2013
Woke up in Firenze which is the Italian word for Florence. Gillon and Ken were still very much asleep so I slipped out of the room quietly and went downstairs to reception. I needed to find an arts and crafts store so after a game of charades with the person at reception I gave up and just brought up a picture of what I wanted on a computer. After that he directed me down the street to a store. Reminding myself to go later in the day I headed back to the Plus Florence. Today's plan was we eat breakfast, load the bus early that morning, take a walking tour of Florence, a leather demonstration, and than a bit of free time before heading to Rome later that day.
I went downstairs to the dining area for breakfast. Debbie and Amanda were there handing out breakfast cards that Kate had gotten the night before. Debbie and Amanda were nice enough to hand them out to our busmates as they entered the dining area. Full breakfast that morning one of the few times I have gotten scrambled eggs at a complementary breakfast. I got there just in time as several tour
groups came to the dining hall after I sat down to eat. I ate quickly and relieved Amanda at the door and started handing out cards to our busmates. It was getting close to the time to load the bus and I was actually watching Angie and Andrea luggage at the door while they were in line. Did a good deed by telling them I would put there luggage on the bus and I dragged it with some difficulty to the bus and loaded it for them. Left wrist at this point was hurting so much that I was opening doors only with my right hand. Debated whether to go to a doctor that day but wondered how I would do with the language barrier.
Went back to room and quickly packed as it was almost time to leave. Our window was above the bus so I shouted down to Mike that we were coming so he didn't lock up the bus on us. We coalesced in the reception area and Kate walked us to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore which is the main cathedral in Florence and one of the largest in Europe. The tour guide
Love Lock Bridges
Basically a tourist thing now
showed up shortly afterwards and I thought he was intoxicated because he looked pretty sketchy.
I will say Florence turned out to be my favourite city in continental Europe to wander about. It has all the statues, buildings and interesting things to look at of Rome but none of the traffic. The guide actually turned out to be good and gave all sorts of interesting facts about the statues and building. One of bridges over the river Arno has one of those love locks locations. I have actually seen these in most major cities of Europe and basically you write you and your love's initials/names on a lock and lock it near the bridge and than throw the key into the river. Florence is also full of statues both originals and copies including a copy of Michaelangel's David.
After that tour we had a leather demonstration which I found interesting but apparently not a people liked. He did show us how to spot a fake by smell. I ended buying a leather keychain at the cost of 12 Euros. We had free time until the time of the bus loading so my group Gillon, Haylee (Australia), Megan Campbell
Ken, Haylee, Gillon, Patrina, Hilori, Kelly, Christine
(Australia), Hilori, Ken, Kelly, Christine and myself went for food. I had heard a lot about the Florentine steak so I ordered it and I asked for well done but the chefs in Florence won't do well done so mine was still fairly bloody. I will admit it was very tasty and the salad with nuts was a nice touch. We stuck to the gelato rule and had some after leaving the restaurant followed by a wander around Florence where we shopped and look around.
We headed back to the Plus Florence where the bus was waiting. I broke off at this point and bought some Bristol board and pencil crayons for the card. We would decorate the card with messages and pictures during the bus ride before sending it off to Emma. We boarded the bus and were off to the Eternal city.
The bus ride was uneventful and soon enough we made it to the Camping Roma which is a massive campsite on the edge of Rome. We stayed at 2 bed cabins but there were also spots for tents, RVs and chalets. It was enormous location and had a supermarket on site as well. Many,
Many, Many tour groups were here so it was full of young people running around. Roommate for this part was Ken and we didn't have a great deal of space in our cabin but since it had both a single bed and bunk bed we used the spare bed as extra space. We bought dinner in the restaurant while some other people went into Rome for food. Had Italian pizza with mushrooms and bacon and it was delicious. Took awhile to get our orders done as there were only 2 servers for our 2 large tables and I had to go to the bar to get drinks. It was to be expected with not only Topdeck but Busabout and Contiki tours there as well.
Paying for the dinner took a little while as well not because of the crowd but because the bartenders took the opportunity to hit on the many pretty women in our group. The funniest part was when Kelly was recognized and hit on by the same bartender in Florence and Rome. I told her if he was in Venice than she probably had stalker on her hands.
I went down to the reception area
Pizza in Rome
As delicious as it sounds
to get the wi fi password. Kate the tour leader was there as well and I got one of the answers for the question what makes her special for this job. The receptionist was not that helpful towards her and tried to stonewall her. Kate was having none of it and got her 200 some odd transit tickets. She was nice enough to give me mine ahead of time so that I could head to Rome. I had planned to go with a few people to Rome that night but by the time we got everyone ready it was already closed to 10PM and we would have been caught in Rome without the Metro running. Instead we headed to the pool which was beautiful and just dipped our toes in for a little while before calling it a night. Tried to sleep but my cabin was the closest to the bar and wow were they loud and I could actually hear the singing of all the people. Tomorrow the Eternal city awaits us.
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