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Monday, October 10, 2011

A day to Remember

This weekend was one of those where you take the time to just be in a city and not just seeing its sites. I know Florence pretty darn well now after looking for a restaurant the first night and then a particular bank for hours { I am convinced the bank is only visible at night…sometimes}. I am so glad I got to visit this famous city!

Friday as you all know was my birthday, and I rang it in at midnight with friends, dancing and a countdown in Italian. After late night packing, I woke up and my California roommates sang “happy birthday” over skype. My roommate Robyn and I went ‘our’ cafĂ© for breakfast and then grabbed a treat and our friend Mitch before heading off to the train station.

Heading out!

We were on our way south and enjoying the ride when we found out that this train had assigned seats. We were in car 2 and our seats were in car 5…and there were a lot of people in the aisles. Some of the seats literally take up the aisles and there was someone sitting in every single one. Instead of climbing and tripping and falling over every.single.person. We stood. And waited. Oh, and we had that little treat we picked up that morning called a meringue… with chocolate chips {which are a novelty here…talk about expensive chocolate chips!} It looked kind of like it had snowed where we standing when we were done, but that’s ok, right?!

To solve the assigned seating problem we got off at the next stop and walked to the correct car and got back on again. I then sat in silence for the next 2 hours with 5 strangers. I didn’t mind, and there was an Italian wearing a Santa Cruz surf t-shirt which made me giggle. We got off in Pisa for a little detour. It took a little while to find it on the map {…ahem, public city map where the most famous landmark and the only thing your city is known for is scratched out!!!} but we figured out directions to the Tower of Pisa. I saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and it is a real building, and it leans way more than you would think is possible before falling over. {As my friend remarked, “someone messed up”}.A little sun in the eyes :) After our tourist indulgence we walked through the delightful little town {I also know the geography of this little city quite well, it’s that small} to the train station and hoped on a train headed for Florence!

We arrived in one of the most bustling train stations I have ever seen, and promptly crossed to the street and went looking for our hostel. After we found the hostel and checked in we naturally went looking for food. We walked past a beautiful lit Duomo, and down some lovely old cobblestone streets. We were looking for a little Trattoria [family owned restaurant] that Robyn had been to. Her memory was not helping her out and we ended up walking a good part of the city before finding out the name, street and directions to the lovely little place. It was a perfect birthday dinner.

I had my first risotto in Italy and a piece of pear chocolate torte for dessert {sorry, but after searching the city I was hungry and forgot to take pictures}. We sat and enjoyed the restaurant, and tried to keep warm. It has been ridiculously warm in Italy, and fall had miraculously decided to drop in on Florence and we were not prepared!

The Duomo

This picture is only trimed, not edited
That was my long, fun filled, marvelous birthday! More on Florence tomorrow!

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