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Published: June 18th 2012
Happy birthday Stephanie.
We send a Viber message at midnight our time so it gets there early on her birthday. Wake up and go upstairs to the WiFi to Skype home for birthday wishes, etc.
Connection good and Stephanie, Charlie and Jessica are on screen. Greeted by Charlie saying in surprise that he could see poppy and nanny. Good to talk and see all of them. We speak for about 20 mins finding out what has been happening at home. Not missing the cold and wet.....
Get organized and leave for the day in Florence which is about an hour away. Get good advice from the receptionist at the farm (they are all too happy to help which is great) and get to the Piazelle Michelangelo where we park the car for free. This plaza overlooks Florence and is a good way to start this tour. Look down into the town which is very pretty from high.
Notice another hop on off bus so jump that. Do the first part around the streets and into the centre of town. Get off and walk to the Duomo (cathedral that is the main part of town). Join a short queue and go inside. The outside of this place is really pretty, green and white marble with very ornate carvings at the front entrance. Inside is very different. Seems really plain and is also very empty. Nothing like the French cathedrals we have seen before. There is a mural on the roof of the dome but that is about it for the roof decorations but the floor is really different. All sorts of different visual effects on the floor that are in stark contrast to the walls and roof.
We then head off the the David statue which is housed in a museum. Get close and there is another queue that doesn't look too bad. Wait about 20 mins then in we go. Enter the maihah all and greeted by this huge statue of David in all his glory. The definition of the body is amazingly clean. Veins in his legs, fingernails, knuckles and yes, the boy bits were very definitive.........
We walk around this and sit watching all and sundry as they gaze at this statue. There are lots of people sketching him as well. Do the rest of the museum which houses all sorts of other statues and plaster casts of statues and paintings.
Wander around the city a bit more - getting really hot noabout vie to be gone by about 1630 so we can get to our next accommodation before they shut. Catch the bus to the plaza and the car. Do some photos and get some more bearing as we are coming back tomorrow to look at other bits of the city.
Off to our next accommodation which is south of San Gimignano. Give Stella the GPS Lat and Lon reference details and go. No problems until we get to where Stella says we should be and nothing like what the name of the place is. Recalled a sign about 1 km back that was the same as the place we want. Go back and no joy. Oh oh. Go back to the directions and they say we should have turned off the road about 4 or 5 km backtowards San Gimignano. Back we go (with Stella telling us to turn around). Find the turn off and then the place we are staying.
Another house on top of a hill with 360 degree views (why doesn't apple have a degrees sign)? Meet the host (Stefano) who greets us and we sit in his office doing the paper work. Something gets my eye - a Sherrin sitting on his bookcase. Turns out some other Aussies left it for him as a souvenir.
This place is an old 1800's farm house from his mothers family. He has restored it and turned it into accommodation as well as a working farm with grapes and olives. Very rustic place with a great outdoor area and an endless pool looking back to the town of San Gimignano.
Our room is a ground floor room that looks really nice. Chris then says that I should check the bathroom. Tiny was my first thought. Yes, not overly big, but the shower was the catcher. This has been set under the concrete stairway that leads to the first floor. Very interesting, but in the end quite a large area for a shower.....
Given advice for tea and eat and then come back and sit around the pool looking back to the lights of town. An impromptu fire works display and what looks like fire type balloons set into the sky end a good day.
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