Well today was a hard day on the feet. We started the day by walking around to a couple difference churches in Florence to see what times mass was. Once we realized that we’d probably have to wait an hour before the next mass time, we decided to go back to the hotel and pack up our things and take them to the train station to leave in a locked up area. I have a bunch of stories about the goings on from that last sentence.
First, after seeing the mass time for one of the churches, we grabbed a bite to eat (some fruit) and stopped in a coffee bar where I got a double espresso. Bam! I was wired for the whole day and drank the double in about 4 mouthfuls.
Second, a story about the hotel: we took about an hour and a half looking for a place to stay last night, but had lots of trouble. The youth hostel (which was more like a 2 star hotel) was full, and there were 5 other one star hotels near it that were full also. We managed to find a 2 star hotel for 70 eu for Pete and I. The hotel was awesome and exceptionally clean and new (considering what it looked like on the outside – old and fading). I was glad that we got to stay there…a room with air conditioning as a treat. Although, I actually like the hot nights because there is no real need for sheets. Anyways, the hotel was really nice and we took a bunk load of mints each time we left and came back to the hotel (at least 30 eu worth, so we actually only paid 40 eu for the room).
Third, the train station baggage locker: when we got to the station we realized that Pete had two small bags to leave and I had one large bag. I still had quite a bit of room in the top of my bag (my giant hiking backpack), so we decided to strap my sleeping bag to the outside and try to put on of Pete’s bags into the top of mine. When all was said and done, the lid on my pack covered almost all of Pete’s bag and only the “McKinley” logo was showing. Now, I must tell you that my pack looked huge…gigantic…enormous, not to mention the fact that it now weighed about 80 pounds. They still took it and only counted it as one bag though. Saved us about 4.50 eu which was enough to buy us a couple of beers later that afternoon. Anyways, the funniest thing was when we came back to pick it up and the guy trying to carry it to us was having a lot of trouble…after about a minute he decided to bring it to the closest counter and just make us come to him.
Later, we ran off to mass and then to find the Statue of David. There was a map that we had that showed the statue on the other side of the river in Florence, so we decided to walk there. It was a couple of km away, so we walked a bit fast through the area’s we’d already seen and then took our time through the rest. By the time we got to the location on the map, we were about 150m above the city in “Piaza di Michelangelo” and got some good pictures of the city. But, by then we realized that the map was misleading and the real statue of David was not anywhere near our location. By chance, we caught up with the Aussie from the day before and found out his name was Scott. Scott was on his way to look for the statue, so he decided to come with us. We re-checked the map and found a legend that mentioned that the Statue of David was in the “Alla casa di Accadamia”, so I fired up the GPS and set the location. Two minutes later we had a detailed map of how to get there and a list of sites to see on the way. In particular, there was a giant cathedral that was really cool to see. So back a couple of km to the statue. There was a small lineup so I decided to wait and pay the 8 eu to get in. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to take pictures inside, so I didn’t get any good shots. Suffice it to say that the statue was pretty amazing…more amazing than you would think…and then some. I thought it was pretty cool anyways. There was also a hundred paintings and a whole lot of sculptures of women posing and the faces of nobles. It was definitely worth the 8 eu.
After that, we walked back to the train station (another couple km), got our bags, and only had to wait 15 minutes to board a train to Milan. Which is where I am typing this right now.
I’ve written a lot, so hopefully this makes up for the few days where I was missing. For now, I’m off to read a book while speeding down the railway on a high speed train.
I should have some pictures to post soon.