Monday, 4 March 2013

Exploring Florence


All in all I had almost 4 days of exploring Florence out of the 8 days that I stayed there. The first and last day is being major traveling day and the other two days, day tripping to Pisa and Siena.

Day 1 – Travel from Rome to Florence …. Chill out
Day 2 – Changed Hostel to 7 Santi and my first really exploration of Florence city
Day 3 – Day trip to Pisa
Day 4 – Scruffy and I went for long long walks which let to further exploration of the outskirt city which less tourist ventures.
Day 5 – Day Trip to Siena
Day 6 – Scruffy and I became tour guide for Puppy Eyes for a while plus more wandering
Day 7 – Me and my museum day at Gallery Del Uffizi
Day 8 – Travel from Florence to Milan

Wandering, Wandering, Wandering ….

Pitti Palace
You never knew how much time you could spend just wandering about doing nothing till you feel that pinch in your pocket telling you its time to tighten the belt. Worst if you are on a trip / holiday cause you would curse yourself for not going out after taking so much trouble to reach there.

I was noting my expensive future after Florence which would lead me to Milan, Swiss, and the more expensive west Europe compared to the initial Greece. I must be the dumbest backpacker to go from one place to another getting more and more expensive along the way. Then again it was near impossible not to since I was traveling from South East Asia. Scruffy on the other hand was near the end game and was feeling the pinch of how much money he had spent and how much more he need to make it through.  
Ponte Vecchio
Day two: as per any other places I normally visit, the first thing I would do is walk around getting lost with the map firmly tucked in my pocket only to be used to get home. So I navigated a section of Florence seeing buildings and streets and some church and somehow reach the Duomo. You always reach the Duomo I realized after a while. More walking along the river and it was time to head back to the hostel.

Scruffy and Me Wandering …

Day 4: I had company. Scruffy was in the same wavelength as me when it come to expensive entrance fees and would just looked from the outside instead of going in. We ended up walking past the Duomo, visited the Golden Bridge - Ponte Vecchio, pass the Pitty Palace and head out off the tourist path. We realized after a while all the busy tourist was no longer with us. Checking the map put us very far south.

Weird Planking Sculpture

“I guess we could go on a big circle where the map don’t show anything”, Scruffy said
I had no objection. The last unplanned adventure I had was the boat ride from Corfu-Iguomenitsa-Bari. It was fun to get lost once a while. We walk into residential area that was expensively maintain and guessed it had to be of the rich folks. Those houses sure looked nice with nice gardens and plenty of décor.

“Uphill or Flat”, Scruffy asked.
San Miniato al Monte
Uphill I said for a good view had to be from above. The slow point walk uphill through curvy streets with plenty of bench along the way for smokes was enjoyable. An hour uphill walk paid off and we were staring at Florence city from the best view ever. We later found out it was recommended to go to that spot for a view of Florence in the guide just that we took the non-touristy path from the back side.
Slightly higher than Piazzale Michelangelo was a church with mini necropolis and that was best view in Florence. Most tourists reduced to a trickle and only stop at michangelo plaza and never bother to climb that few more curve. Famous Grave if you can find it in the necropolis include Carlo Lorenzi (Collodi) - author of the famous Pinocchio

 I was just chilling and enjoying the day with Scruffy happy with the views and photos taken. Scruffy then shared with me his treasure in Florence a takeaway pizza place that cost only 4 euro for a whole 12 inch pizza. I however suggested eating the pizza at the steps of the Duomo observing the gawking passerby. Best combination ever.

Florrence View from Piazzale Michelangelo
Puppy Eyes Join the Wandering Band …

Day 6: with Puppy Eyes joining our group we became her tour guide as she was afraid of getting lost. (Hostel not in the map) Apparently she got lost many times looking for the hostel on the first night. Wandering this time we found the “English Cemetery” which was located in the middle of a roundabout island. The tombs and carving was most unique and weirdly named so drawing our attention. We made our way zig zagging the eastern side of Florence looking for hidden gems while aiming for the Duomo all the while.

Duomo - Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower
The Duomo or Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower was the main attraction in Florence. Despite passing the Duomo nearly everyday and probably more that three times a day, I had never been into the Duomo. Surprisingly Scruffy as well because he thought tickets was required. I however always thought I could do it tomorrow because of the long crazy queue but it was day 6 so all of us were now standing in the queue to enter the Duomo. Company made passing time easier while waiting.

The Duomo was lovely. They had a crypt which needed a ticket and you could go up the tower if you bought a ticket too. Our cheepthrill budget was still quite strong at that time. Entering and admiring the Duomo stain glasses from the inside however require only time in a queue. We did our own thing inside each seeking out items of interest. I love painting and best if it tells a story. Scruffy just being scruffy look at everything. Puppy Eyes however …. was sleeping …. or meditating …. *grin*

“Did you received any divine messages”, I asked when we finally gathered
“Huh??”, her blur face was the answer …
I explain I saw her with her eyes closed sitting on the bench all serene and calm. She blushed and confessed she was very tired and was cat napping. How I laugh so hard when she told me she did it a lot in museums. Puppy eyes explained that she did it a lot. She would get excited to see all the beautiful paintings and art and building but get tired and fall asleep sitting on a bench in the museum.

Puppy eyes left us for the Uffizi Gallery after Duomo agreeing to meet up later in the evening. Probably more nap time I smiled to myself. Scruffy and me headed east this time and found the rougher side of Florence with graffiti and street art instead of the fine arts. It was right up Scruffy alley and he happily snapped photos.

Street Art On Plywood Covering a Construction Site
More pizza and Scruffy waved goodbye as he headed back early to the hostel. I continue the wandering alone and finally met up with Puppy Eyes at the appointed time and place and head back to the hostel.

Along the way I asked Puppy Eyes

“Did you fell asleep inside the Uffizi Gallery”, I asked with a grin
Laughing before I even know the answer.

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