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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence
October 6th 2006
Published: September 30th 2017
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Interesting candle holders that they had in the Duomo. After all these churches and cathedrals, I really have to make an effort to find something unique or interesting about them.
Geo: 43.7247, 11.4546

Lazy morning before the train. Used the internet, had breakfast, and talked with Andrew. It sounds like him and Kristine are OK now. The three of us ended up chatting outside of our dorm room late last night. Apparently, he had amazing fig, plum, and honey gelato last night. I missed out!!!!

Grabbed a porchetta sandwich for the train. Ate a ½ litre container of vanilla yogurt on the train. I can't get enough of this stuff here. Creamy and probably very fatty and unhealthy. But who cares? I'm on vacation, damn it!!!

Got to Florence. The hostel was only OK - Tiffani had been raving about the place, but I prefer Alessandro Palace in Rome. There are lots of sculptures and artwork inside the hostel, and there is also a nice garden. But it's not the same as Alessandro - thought the free internet is a nice touch.

Off for a walk. Mercato centrale - the food portion of the market was closed but the tourist goods portion was not. It was quite busy and probably crawling with pickpockets. Saw the duomo - pretty incredible exterior (from certain angles). Certain facades are not so nice while others are quite
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Florence's famous Duomo.
ornate. The interior was nothing special.

I looked at, but didn't go into, the Campanile or Battistero (Baptistry). I walked down the main pedestrian drag to Piazza Signoria. The walk was quite enjoyable and so was the piazza. The piazza is dominated by Palazzo Vecchio which is, quite frankly, very ugly. But there is a copy of David out front and numerous other sculptures. Very cool stuff.

Wandered over to Piazza Republica - very lively with music performers. Very atmospheric. The piazza was lined with high-end clothing shops - nothing that I could afford! This ended up being another long day of walking - I am getting pretty tired and run-down. But it's alright - I have lots of time to spend in Florence and will take some time to relax and catch up on some reading.

Had dinner at a restaurant recommended by the LG guide - in general, the LG restaurant recommendations have been pretty decent. What's that? Did I actually just compliment LG? The world must be coming to an end!

Anyway, the price was only 11 euros for a set menu - an unbeatable price. This included crappy red wine and 0.5 L of bottled water. The
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The Battistero.
wine was pretty acidic and left a bad aftertaste. At least it was a change from all the white wine that I had been having in Rome. But still, I hope that I have better stuff in Paris.

The first course was rice with zucchini and shrimp - similar to risotto, but not quite. Very flavourful - an excellent dish. The main dish was roasted rabbit - dry, but the flavour was good. Definitely not as good as the rabbit that I had in Nice. I was tired of salads so I went with spinach as the side dish - boiled with salt, garlic, and a little chili pepper. A nice change. I ended up eating it after the main course, as they had forgotten to bring it out earlier. I am noticing that a lot of bread in the region is very bland - I don't think the bakers here like to use salt.

I haven't found Florence to be as beautiful as people say it is. I have met quite a few people that say Florence is their favourite Italian city. Perhaps I will think differently after I watch a sunset from the top of Piazza Michelangelo. There
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The Campanile
are things that I like so far, but I can't say that it would be my favourite city in Italy. I do find that Florence is nicer at night than during the day.

Went to "Vivoli" for gelato - supposedly the best in town. I think I had prickly pear (average), strawberry (OK), and hazelnut. The hazelnut was the best I have ever had (and I have had it many, many times!). It tasted like the hazelnuts had been roasted, first - very nice. It was very expensive for a fairly small portion, however. I'll try a different place tomorrow.

Met a couple of guys in the dorm that were from Valencia, Spain. They wanted me to read the guy's Chinese tattoo. I had some difficulty with their accent, but probably not as much difficulty as they had with my crap Spanish.

There was this creepy French lady in the dorm - her bed was also the top bunk and directly next to me. She was definitely a fair bit older than the typical backpacker (at least I wasn't the oldest person in the hostel tonight!) ... she kept staring at me. I hope she was just looking past me,
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These intricate bronze doors were very impressive - they are only a few inches deep, but the depth that the artist generates seems to be much more than that.
because it was very unsettling. The expression on her face was like one a man would have that hadn't eaten in weeks, and had just seen a big roast beef. I was seriously afraid that she would rip off my leg, dip it in some gravy, and start chowing down on it. It may still happen ... the night is still young ... I will need to sleep with one eye open.

Though it was cold, I sat out in the garden writing in my journal. To be honest, I went outside to escape the stares of the creepy French lady. Of course, if the cute French (but Spanish-speaking) waitress from Arles looked at me that way ... I'd probably let her nibble on me as much as she liked!

The cold of the night was a big indication that I need to buy some new clothes!!! I think I'll need some sort of jacket or sweater before I head to Switzerland. There was a loud Canadian girl talking in the garden. Scary! Soon, there will be an "Ugly Canadian" stereotype to go along with the "Ugly American" one. Of course, I didn't help the cause much a few nights
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The artist actually sculpted himself into the door.
ago in Rome at the salad place. Apparently, I was loudly dropping quite a few F-bombs after all the cheap wine and limoncello.


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"I'm going to ask you one last time - do you STILL think that my balls stink?"
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Ever heard of the "Bonfire of The Vanities"? This was the spot where it took place. A year later, the man responsible for it (Savonarola) was burned to death on the same spot. Talk about coming full circle!
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Machiavelli - the artist captured his devious grin perfectly. Too bad you can't see it very well due to my shaky hand as I took the picture. I guess I was too busy practicing my devious grin to concentrate on taking the picture!
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The famous Ponte Vecchio - it's lined with jewellery shops. There is a secret passage built into it that the Medici family used to get around Florence.


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